She was a friend of the family and the needy
Geethi Ranaweera Jayasooriya
I was anxiously awaiting your arrival home on Monday after surgery. But the most unexpected and unbelievable shocking news of your death on Sunday morning shattered my heart to pieces. The grief and the loss will last through my life. Three months have passed since your demise but the memories are so fresh in my mind as if it happened the other day.

Geethi my darling, you were a special daughter in every way to us, much loved wife to your beloved husband Anura, the most loving and caring mother to your angelic daughter Saisha, a true and admired person among all your friends.

You led a simple life, setting an example to the ones who think of nothing but a luxurious way of living. You poured your heart out to every one, especially to the needy. In Los Angeles you fed the homeless people on a regular basis, and continued to do the same in San Francisco until your death. You gained happiness and satisfaction by helping the needy. The few years you lived in Sri Lanka made you contribute more towards the needy.

You knew how to face any situation in life and were a genius in advising and guiding a person on the correct path. You were always admired and loved by your relatives and friends for the simple reason that you set a living example in their eyes.

I have very pleasant memories of you, Geethi. Your wedding in Los Angeles was the best and happiest occasion as every one enjoyed a real Sri Lankan wedding including the poruwa, food, and all the rituals, though thousands of miles away from home. You gave us tremendous joy as we could fulfill your wishes.

Everytime I visited you, your main concern was to feed me well and shower me with gifts. You were such a caring person and the happiness of your relatives and friends was your happiness. The surprise party you organised for me on my birthday in December 2003 in your house, combining yours and mine was yet another very happy family reunion. I heard that you wanted to do the same in December 2005 too if not for this unfortunate incident.

In August you asked me to take care of Saisha during your stay in hospital for surgery. I was thrilled. Now I consider that I was fortunate enough to spend time with you the last few days of your life.

Why did this happen to an angelic soul like Geethi? Why did I have to go through the pain of seeing you go before me? Why could not the doctors replace your failing heart with mine and let you live some more. With these unanswered questions and a grieving heart, I have to live my life, Geethi.
It's so painful to recollect your sweet smile, the humour and goodwill you had towards every one, family or otherwise.

The only solace to my broken heart is Lord Buddha's teachings. I have to console myself thinking that the lifespan destined for you was only that and the impermanency of all natural beings. May you attain the bliss of Nirvana, my darling Greethi.

Your grieving Amma

A man of good cheer and strong faith
Harold Perera (H.O.P.E.)
Our Seeya, Harold Perera (H.O.P.E.) was a wonderful man. He was a person who enjoyed every bit of his life.
He was once a playful child, brother of three, loving husband, beloved father and grandfather of seven.

He was a friend to everybody, both rich and poor. Seeya never looked at race or religion when he wanted to help someone. His house was open to any stranger. Seeya spoke gently and listened calmly to what a troubled soul had to say.

He never advertised himself nor did he lecture people on what they should do. He had a quiet way of showing all this by deed, and people learned from his deeds, not words.

All these good deeds showed that he was a fine Christian. His qualities are a good example for us. Seeya never believed in burying a person within 24 hours. He always said: "I have walked long distances and met many different people. They have treated me well and I appreciate their excellent company. So don't close my coffin till they come to see me and bid goodbye to my earthly life."

It was when he died that we realised that what he said was correct. We never thought that so many people would come and mourn for a man of 88 years.

It was when all sorts of people came and told us what Seeya had done to them, and how he had come and talked to them and enjoyed a cup of tea with them, we got to know what a blessed man he was, a man of good cheer and strong faith.

People who came for Seeya's funeral did not come for what he had done for them in financial ways, but for Seeya's smile, good heart and listening ear.
When someone wanted to know his age, Seeya always said 88 not out, but now he is out. We loved him so much and we miss him too, but we have hope that we will meet him again, "in heaven". "Safe in the arms of Jesus." Looking down at earth and waiting for us to be called one day and come to him. Good bye but not forever.

Navindra Ruvanmali Gamalathge

A fascinating person
Sylvie de Silva - Ma Belle-Mere
My mother-in-law was a fascinating mix of personality traits. She embodied the qualities of kindness, open-mindedness (even the most unfortunate, found acceptance at her door), thrift (her constant adage was, ‘when the berry tree is full, it will have many birds, but when the berries disappear, so will the birds), caring, though in an inconspicuous manner and most of all, an unfailing sense of humour, which saw the funny side of any situation.

These are some of the traits she imbued in her seven children, 19 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren and which I encountered when I entered her family 33 years ago. At the outset (having only one sibling of my own) this experience of constant togetherness, proved overwhelming. But with time and teasing and bullying from my in-laws, which permeated the atmosphere at all family-gatherings, I was duly initiated!

Her grandchildren adored her, which speaks volumes for one brought up in the mores of strict tradition. She was party to their wildest schemes but never betrayed them. Now we know how our children used to steal away for teenage parties, under the guise of “paying Achchie a visit!”

Her mainstay was her abiding faith in God and humankind. She always affirmed that it was ‘each man for himself and God for us all’. Thus whilst encouraging self-dependence, she reminded us where our true strength lay. The perfect epitaph seems to be in the words of Oliver Goldsmith, from the ‘Village Preacher’,

“His ready smile a parent’s warmth expressed,
Their welfare pleased him and their cares distressed,
To them his heart, his love, his grief was given,
But all his serious thoughts had rest in heaven.”

As we celebrate her life on earth, we say may she “requescant in pace!”
Priyanthie de Silva

He was Doctor Aiya to the plantation people
A. Seevaratnam
A. Seevaratnam passed away peacefully at the age of 82 on December 2 after a brief illness.
Seevaratnam, a self-made man, began his career as a pharmacist in Colombo in the 1960s, in one of the popular pharmacies of his time in Bambalapitiya (Sittams) and later passed the Estate Medical Assistant's Course (EMA) and served as EMA on Desford Estate and Maha Eliya Estate in Nanu Oya and on Warwick Estate in Ambewela from where he retired and took up residence in Colombo.

Seevaratnam, fondly known as Siva by his friends and as "Goya Uncle", by his numerous nephews and nieces (a sobriquet he earned after the popular perfumery for reasons best known to his relatives), was an unassuming, sober, mild-mannered, gentle and noble person, with a charming smile, and a great sense of humour and wit.

During his days as an EMA in the plantations, he endeared himself to the staff and workers, and he not only cured their ailments, but was also a friend and counsellor to them. So much so, he was always respectfully addressed as "Doctor Aiya" and not by his name. Many sorrowing people in the plantations took the trouble to come all the way from the various plantations, to Colombo to pay him their last respects.

Siva bore no malice or ill-will towards anyone, and his heart was of gold, always willing to lend a helping hand to anyone in need. The large crowd present at his funeral was ample testimony of his popularity. Siva lived a full life, having seen his three children happily married, and becoming a grandfather.

Brother Siva was a devoted and affectionate husband and loving and dutiful father. He leaves behind his wife, two sons, a daughter and four grandchildren.
May his good soul rest in eternal peace.

S. Nadarajah

He is the force that keeps me going
Noordeen Passela
Noordeen Passela, my father was 83 when he passed away in 2000. The family was just getting over the shock of my sister Jameela’s sudden demise in February 2000 when my father passed away on December 19.

He married my mother, Noor Faleel at the age of 28 and was blessed with six girls and five boys always fondly called his cricket team! He was employed at the Royal Air Force and was offered citizenship in Malaysia after Sri Lanka gained independence but declined the offer and decided to remain and serve his motherland. He worked thereafter in the Import and Export Control Department and finally retired from the Government Press.

The love he had for his children knew no bounds. At any festival time or happy occasion, he would enjoy the company of all. He was a pious Muslim and he even fasted before his demise in the holy month of Ramazan. He did his obligations towards his family and friends who held him in high esteem. He is survived by his wife, children, 21 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren, Alhamdulillah.

Personally, I miss him very much as between the two of us we had an understanding of the mundane affairs of life, the comfort and warmth I received when things didn’t go the right way. The strength, the pillar I leaned on is no more but I feel his presence, his will in me and the force to keep me going that extra mile. I miss you, my “Sugar Daddy”- that was his favourite horse in the 60s as my dad was an ardent punter and I used to call him so in fun.
May Allah grant him Jennathul Firdouse.

Noor Kumala

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