The stage was dismantled and the final curtain was drawn on the life of dear aunty Philomine De Rose. Yes, she took her final bow on June 24, 2021 at the age of 98.
It was a Thursday and around 9 a.m I heard my phone ringing and noted it was Maureen. When I answered she said ‘I have some sad news for you’ and then she broke the news about the demise of her dear mother. I was so shaken up to hear this shocking news as it was only on June 19 that I wished aunty on her 98th birthday and told her just in two years you will be celebrating 100 years. She thanked me for wishing and told me that I should visit her and I agreed to do so after the pandemic situation improves. Sadly, I couldn’t make it.
I got to know aunty Philomine through Maureen who was not only my classmate, but was also my travel partner. I used to admire aunty from my young days coming to Nirmala Church at Clifford
Place. She was a fair beautiful lady, always well dressed, smart, very elegant, graceful and always with a smile. She was a soft spoken generous, kind-hearted lady.
Born to Hearty and Manual Xavier Miranda, she was educated at Holy Cross Convent India. She got married to Charles De Rose at the age of 19 and moved to Sri Lanka. Of course, adjusting to a new environment at that tender age, playing the role of wife and mother was indeed a great challenge for her. All this she did with much ease. She was a multi talented lady with ability to multitask.
After her four children Gerard, Maureen, Eugene and Jerome started schooling, she felt she had ample time to venture into some new field. She excelled in sewing, embroidery, crocheting, cooking, painting; you name it and she was into it. I used to tell Maureens that she has got all her mother’s talents. With all these multi talents, aunty thought she will try her luck with sewing first. Her fist project was to supply bed linen to ‘ J L Carwallio’ which was owned by her husband. As you may know ‘J L Carwallio’ was a very popular shop in Main street, Pettah dealing with furnishing – mainly curtaining and Bed linen and the bed sheets and pillow cases stitched by her became a super hit. This humble beginning, later reached greater heights.
Even during her latter stages when she couldn’t visit the church, she made it a point to watch the mass daily on TV.
Aunty Philomine was a lady with a heart of gold. Her day never ended without attending the Holy Mass. Even during her latter stages when she couldn’t visit the church, she made it a point to watch the mass daily on TV. The Rosary and prayers were on her daily agenda. When she was young she was actively engaged in the activities of St. Vincent De Paul at St. Lawrence church. She never failed in her duties towards the churches. Where financial assistance to churches were concerned, she always came forward to help specially the three parishes she belonged to – Nirmala (Clifford) chapel, St. Lawrence church and her last parish St. Mary’s church Dehiwala.
After she lost her husband she moved over with Maureen and I must say Maureen looked after her with much love and affection until she breathed her last. One of her friends said that Maureen looked after her like a queen. Aunty was devastated when she lost her son Eugene and it took a while for her to recover. She had a good, happy life and had the privilege of being with three generations.
Finally, I like to share the feelings of Maureen regarding the sad news. She said, ‘When I took the coffee that morning to the room, she gave me the most beautiful smile that I had ever seen. Two hours later when I went to the room she said I am not feeling good, I think I am going…….’ with those touching words, God took her into His fold. She had a very peaceful, happy death which proves her closeness to God and with all the good deeds she did during her life, there is no doubt she is now in a special place with God.
Good bye and farewell aunty and may your soul rest in peace.
Those we love don’t go away
They walk beside us every day
Unseen, Unheard but always near
So loved, So missed, So very dear
Years may pass and fade away
But memories of loved ones
Will ever stay