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Professor Chandra L. Jayasuriya The Heart and Soul of our Family

26 May 2018 12:10 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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“The ones that love us never really leave us. They can always be found in our hearts”


A fact of life we often tend to forget when growing up, is that people we love are also growing older.   


The sad reality of this dawned on me on the 2nd of May 2018, when at the age of 79, my grandmother - Professor Chandra Jayasuriya, passed away.   
My grandmother was a constant presence in my life from my formative years, and try as I may, this is but a vain attempt to do justice in a few words for what she meant to me. 

 
A product of Southlands College, Galle and Visakha Vidyalaya, Colombo, Aachchi was both hardworking and smart, an ideal recipe for success.   


She obtained a Bachelor of Arts Degree from the University of Peradeniya and went on to do her Post Graduate Studies in Statistics at the University of South Carolina, USA. After returning to the island, she initially lectured at the University of Peradeniya, before moving to the Faculty of Education, University of Colombo.   
She lectured there for over 30 years, rising to the level of a Professor and later being appointed the Dean of the Faculty. She was a knowledgeable teacher and an inspiration to her students. Aachchi had a keenness for acquiring knowledge, a quality she inculcated in her two daughters whom she brought up to be educated women.    Apart from her career, Aachchi’s interests were varied. She was a voracious reader, even going on to pen a few books of her own.   


She also loved to sew, and I have many fond memories of her painstakingly adjusting my clothes so they would fit the way I wanted. Being the versatile person she was, she also prepared delicious meals for us on a regular basis.   

 

Her immense love for me was evident, in what she did for me. Be it buying me gifts for no apparent reason, never forgetting to send me a birthday card or once keeping vigil by my hospital bed when I was sick.


Aachchi, as the eldest in a large family was the respected matriarch, a role she thrived in, offering words of advice or support in any way she could, when needed. She was a compassionate person, and her magnanimity often extended to the less-fortunate. The door of Aachchi’s home was literally open to her many friends and relations to walk in and have a quiet chat whilst enjoying her hospitality. She was forthright in what she said and did, yet never caused offense.   She was a doting grandmother to both me and my cousin brother, forever looking out for us, understanding, supportive of our dreams and encouraging us to work hard. She would not only celebrate our achievements but also spur us on when we fell short.   


Her immense love for me was evident, in what she did for me. Be it buying me gifts for no apparent reason, never forgetting to send me a birthday card or once keeping vigil by my hospital bed when I was sick.


She was in many ways, the heart and soul of our family, and we’re all a great deal poorer without her. I feel blessed to have had so many opportunities to talk to Aachchi in the last few months, but there are still things I wish I’d had the chance to say. She was one of my biggest role models and I hope that I grow up to be a woman half as successful and kind as she was.   


We love you Aachchi. You will forever be missed.   

 

 


Marlene de Silva   


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