Your fragrant memories will always linger on
My beloved wife Olga Agnes Ekanayake, passed away on March 5, this year after suffering several heart attacks even though she was given the best of care by the coronary care teams at Oasis Hospital and the Coronary Care Unit of the National Hospital, Colombo.
At the time of her death, we had been married for over 53 years and 9 months, having married in May, 1953 against the wishes of our parents, at that time. Olga was a teacher in a primary school in Athurugiriya and I was a public servant attached to the Divisional Irrigation Engineer’s Office in Kurunegala. After our marriage, we lived in Kurunegala during which time we had one son.
Following my transfer to the Irrigation Department Head Office in Colombo in 1955, Olga commenced working as a stenographer cum secretary in the Whittal Boustead tea firm. She was dedicated and highly conscientious and was held in high trust and esteem by the management. In 1957, on my being posted to serve in the Sri Lanka High Commission in Canberra, Australia, Olga together with our son accompanied me and in Australia too she was able to get employment as a confidential secretary in the Australian National University, Canberra. Her hard work and skilfulness were appreciated very much by her superiors and in fact in 1961 at the time we were to return to Sri Lanka, she was constantly advised by her superiors and colleagues to stay back and continue working at the University. Her popularity was not only confined to the University, but extended to the host of friends from Australia and from other overseas missions in Canberra.
On our return to Sri Lanka she was immediately taken back to Whittal Boustead and continued working there upto 1969 when she and our son accompanied me to Bombay, India on my being posted to attend to consular and administrative duties at the Ceylon Trade Commission. In India too, she gained a vast number of friends, including several officials and their families from Sri Lanka who transited Bombay on their way to other destinations. She never hesitated to prepare a meal for the officials, countrymen and others whom I hosted at home, and provided immense support for performing my representational duties.
Back in Sri Lanka in 1975 she worked as the Secretary to the Chairman of the National Livestock Development Board (NLDB) where she continued to serve until reaching the age of 60. After leaving the NLDB she served in two private sector institutions and last served in the Employers’ Federation office until 1997. Throughout her working life she always maintained very cordial relationships with all her colleagues, several of whom remain as close friends. She never hesitated to give advice to young staff members who requested assistance and also helped the staff in the lower grades sometimes financially and with clothing and food.
In our neighbourhood in Nawala too, she maintained good relationships with the neighbours and her kind and friendly ways were very much appreciated, by all who knew her.
She was also devoted to religion and while she went to pray at the temple on Poya days, she recited ‘gathas’ every morning on waking up and also at night before retiring for the night. She was courageous,dedicated and devoted and a loving mother who cared for her only son, his wife and our two grand children very much.
Olga, though you are no more in this world, your fragrant memories linger and I hope fervently that we would meet again in Sansara. I also pray that you would gain the supreme blissful state of Nirvana, soon.