There are people who, in their gentle and caring ways, touch our hearts, and when they leave this world they leave behind beautiful memories.
My uncle Herbert Gunaratna, who passed away three months ago, and my aunt Miriam, who predeceased him, were gracious hosts who made any person who visited their home “Ratnasri”, at Seeduwa, feel very welcome. Whether you arrived announced or announced, or visited early in the morning, in the middle of the afternoon or late at night, you were given a warm welcome.
My family’s association with the Gunaratnas goes back to the early 1970s, when my father, the late W. P. R. B. Wickremasinghe, had the good fortune to find a lifelong and loyal friend in Uncle Herbert.
The two worked together at the National Museum, in Colombo, and later moved to different government institutions. My father joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Uncle Herbert moved to the State Gem Corporation. By then, they had laid a solid foundation for a friendship that grew into an extended family, combining the Gunaratna and Wickremasinghe families, including Aunty Miriam, their two daughters Roshi and Dayani, and the five of us.
My father’s job as a diplomat meant that the family would go overseas for extended stays. A stop at the Gunaratna residence on the way to the airport was a must. And their home was our first stop when we returned to the country.
Sumptuous meals awaited us whenever we visited. The warmth and friendliness shown us by the Gunaratnas was unlike any we have ever experienced.
The inevitable reality of life is that those we love will leave us some day. But the memories they leave behind stay with us forever.
Herbert and Miriam Gunaratna were warm, loving and caring people who touched many hearts.
Now reunited in their heavenly abode, they must surely be resting in peace, happy in the knowledge that they lived their best life while on this Earth.