It is with deep regret and deep pain of mind that I am writing a few lines on the passing away of my beloved wife on May 25, 2013. I have no words to express my sorrow. One can lose one’s father, mother, brother or sister, or anyone for that matter. But not one’s life partner, especially one’s wife. Once you lose your wife, you live for the sake of living, and not to enjoy life thereafter. My wife passed away at the age of 69 - but she looked much younger than her age - leaving me, our children and grandchildren and dear ones immersed in tears and unfathomable and everlasting grief.
She was born in Malaysia in Kluang as the first child in a family of four aunts and two uncles who were younger to her mother, and unmarried. Her mother’s father held the post of Traffic Assistant in the Malaysian Railways, the first time a non-white was occupying that seat.
This little girl resembled her grandfather, who was a handsome man, and she was the pet of the family. The parents came to Ceylon in 1951 and lived with her father’s brothers. She was schooled at Ramanathan College, Chunnakam. In those days it was the practice of Hindus to send girls to Ramanathan College, so that they could imbibe themselves in a Hindu atmosphere, which would help them in their future family life. After schooling up to GCE (AL) she did a diploma in home science at Jaffna Convent.
We got married in 1972 and lived a congenial and harmonious married life for an uninterrupted 41 years. She was a God-fearing, devoted and obliging wife. I struggle to find the right words to express the deep and heart-rending sorrow that gripped us after her demise. Her passing caused a void that can never be filled.
I am a hot-tempered person, but my patients never experienced that. During the early stages of our marriage she found it difficult to adjust with me. Within a short period, she had adjusted herself to my anger as it was short lived. Later, when anyone found fault with me, she always defended me. These qualities are rare in the present generation. At her funeral oration it was mentioned that she did not belong to the 21st century, but to the 19th century, which is 100 percent correct. It was her tolerant and obliging character that facilitated us to lead a congenial and harmonious married life for such a long time.
Besides my medical practice, I was involved in the administration and medical education of the Private Medical College and also at the Moolai Teaching Hospital. When I was busy with these and other social activities, she took up the responsibility of managing our home and the daunting task of bringing up our children in an exemplary manner. She was a tower of strength to me in my ups and downs. Our children were very much attached to their mother because of her caring and
In November 2012 she contracted pneumonia. Though we had a domestic worker, I never allowed her to look after my wife. I took on the role of servant, nurse, doctor and finally husband. Under my care she returned to good health and vigour. Later she developed mild swelling of the legs which lead to cellulitis. We consulted the top consultants, and she was admitted to Sri Jayewardenepura Hospital. After treatment she became better, and wanted us to take her home. But two days later her condition worsened and she passed away.
We cannot forget her in our life time. Though physically she is no more, yet she lives on in our hearts. We are unable to believe that she is no more, but we feel that she is among us in an invisible form to guide us.
The last time we went to Jaffna was to participate in the nuptial ceremonies of the symbolic handing over of the bride to the bridegroom - my brother’s son Arooran. During that time we visited all the temples in Jaffna and our relatives and friends as well. Though our stay in Jaffna was short, she enjoyed visiting the temples, relatives and friends. I believe it was God’s gift to her to visit Jaffna before she died.
We Hindus believe in rebirth. In such an eventuality, I would like to live with her in my next birth too. May her soul rest in peace till I meet her.
Dr. S. Sivanandarajah