My mother-in-law Maggie Vitarana who died on Tuesday, May 25, was a woman of substance. Even at the age of 102 she greeted everyone who came to see her with an “ayubowan” and passed on her blessings.
Maggie was a remarkable woman. We were all proud of her achievements. She raised her three sons to make a mark in society. Her eldest son, Nihal has contributed in his field of accountancy. With his wife Doreen and their three children (Shamini, Prassana and Dayanthie) and five grandchildren, he always ensured that his mum was well looked after.
Maggie’s second son, Professor Tissa, who is married to Kamini with their son, Ranil and two grandchildren was always there to look after her needs even though Tissa who is the Minister of Technology and Science has a busy schedule.
My husband and I with our two children (Nivanka and Sonali) have lived in England for the past 38 years. Nalin was a civil engineer who followed the footsteps of his father, Albert. Both Nalin and I visited Sri Lanka regularly and have now returned for good. Sonali was fortunate to be able to participate in the celebrations of her grandmother’s 100th birthday.
Maggie was one of the first pupils to receive her education at Visakha Vidyalaya.
Maggie was a great companion to her husband, Albert. Both followed their philosophy in Buddhism to the fullest. Alas my father-in-law, Albert, who was an outstanding civil engineer, left us at the age of 83.
Being a perfect human being may not be possible for all of us, though looking back I can confidently say that my mother-in-law was almost perfect. Their home was immaculate. She was always well groomed and entertained her guests with her culinary skills. In her spare time she crocheted and we have been given some heirlooms which we will treasure and pass on to the next generation.
Maggie has spread joy and love and shared pain and sacrifice. She never knowingly hurt anyone. Her husband Albert experienced a severe set back in life at a young age of 45. She was his strength and guided him until his death.
Maggie came from a family of five brothers and a sister. Uncle N.J. worked for the Colombo Municipal Council as a public health officer, Uncle N.S was a surveyor general, Uncle Peter a businessman, and uncle N.M. a former leader of the opposition, finance minister and leader of the LSSP. Aunty Annie was her only sister. Maggie survived them all.
I am sure Maggie’s sons, their children and grand children, family and friends would like to join me in saying a big thank you to Maggie for being such a grand lady and an example to all of us. She has left a vacuum in our lives and we will miss her dearly
May she attain Nirvana.