Today we remember the life of Monica Phyllis De Alwis, wife of late Lucian Aaron Percival De Alwis, of Dehiwela. A Mother to 6 girls and 5 boys, a grandmother to 25 grandchildren and a great grandmother to 12 great grandchildren, she was born in Kurunegala. Her parents were Esther Perera and Chevalier C.L.W.Perera. They had 12 children.
I first came to her loving arms on the day I was born. Since then she had been caring for me. I was told by my mother that she bathed me all by herself until I was one year old. My grandmother was a strength for my mother. When malli and I fell sick she would come and spend all night until our temperatures returned to normalcy.
I remember how I spent my childhood days at my grand parent’s house which is not far away from our home. Most often my brother and I spent time with our grandparent’s. We played with cousins, watched TV and climbed trees and rooftops fell into all mischief which my grandmamma thought was natural given we were growing up. She used to treat all of us with cakes that was sold by a man who came in a bicycle. She also bought us Waltz Ice Cream and we given the opportunity to select which ever flavour we liked.
She would tell us about our uncles and aunts and funny stories about their younger days and about the neighbors who lived in the early years of her life. Christmas time was very happy and an exciting time for her. I still remember how she would wrap all the gifts secretly so that Santa Claus could give them away on Christmas day. But Malli and I were shrewd enough to find that out but we pretend not to know. When my mother made something special it was my job to take them to my grandmother’s home and every time I was rewarded with sweets (Seeni bola). When ever I helped grandmother, Malli used to tease me ‘Star points’ from grandmother.
The sad day came when grandfather had the call from Heaven. It was an extremely sad period for grandmother. She survived with her prayers and the utmost faith she had in God. Then she came to live with us in our home. Malli and I were lucky to get the love of two mothers. Grandmother spent most of her time resitting the rosary. She never missed the Holy hour. When we had exams we always asked grandmother to pray for us.
When I was leaving to Melbourne for the first time she was very sad. I have in my room the picture ‘Foot Steps’ which she gifted me. For me the fondest memory of her dates back to January 2016. After my vacation I left home to return to Melbourne. she did not want to go to bed at her usual time, but waited to bid me Farewell. I can still picture her face at that moment.
Sixth of April 2017 was a sad day. She left all of us. I guess we were not ready to let her go just yet as she was our family matriarch and the bond that kept the extended family together and stronger. We all loved her immensely.
I think I should mention how our family dog, who always sat by her chair, continued to stay for 3 days beneath her mortal remains at our home.
I would like to thank you grandmother for the love you gave me, for the lessons taught to me that I must keep faith in Jesus and giving my mother. Grandmother, I know you are in a better place along with Grandfather. Goodbye until we meet again!
“ YOU NEVER DIE AGAIN,
WE’LL NEVER CRY AGAIN ,
WE’LL MEET SOME DAY
IN PARADISE (ALL ) TOGETHER.