I met Umanga for the first time, when she suddenly turned up on our doorstep, more than 14 years ago, saying she was Kingsley Wanduragala’s daughter. The Wanduragalas are old family friends. From that moment she was a part of our family, her friendly and easy-going manner winning us over instantly.
Over the years, she became more than just a friend; she was like a sister, sharing my room whenever she was in Colombo (which was quite often), and crying at my wedding.
We would go to Church together. She loved to sing, and her powerful hymn-singing voice would fill the church. She loved to praise God.
It was a very sad time for us when Umanga suffered renal failure. But she showed great courage and faith. Being afflicted with a serious illness at a young age did not stop her from experiencing the joy of living.
She loved to go on trips. She was a constant companion whenever we went on holidays. hristmas was a time of fun, and Umanga added her brand of fun to the season’s cheer.
Umanga’s illness did not stop her from experiencing life. She somehow did what she wanted to do – getting married (to a wonderful husband, Wijey), and having a beautiful and intelligent daughter (Chanuri), in whom Umanga’s qualities and wonderful loving ways will live on, for sure.
Despite the hardships, Umanga always managed a smile and a laugh. She saw the fun side of things, even when straight after dialysis. She never failed to encourage others, even when her own situation seemed hopeless. She never failed to help others, even though she did not get a lot of help in return.
Although she suffered greatly, physically and mentally, Umanga never blamed God for her troubles, nor was she ever angry or resentful to others. She would help anyone at any time, whether friend or foe. Her forgiving nature reflected God’s nature.
Umanga’s passing away has left us without a mother, a wife, a sister and a loyal friend, but her work and the love she showed will live on in our hearts.
Let us hope she is in a happy place, where no illness or sadness can touch her. I hope that some day I will get to meet my friend again, in the presence of the Lord.
We miss and love you, Umanga.
We will never forget you.