My mother and I could not be more different. We were absolute opposites. She was always so elegantly and well dressed with matching accessories whereas I would opt for the casual jeans and tshirt. She absolutely hated it! However, despite our many differences and our many disagreements, she was my pillar of strength! She always encouraged me to be independent. If it wasn’t for her, I would not have had the courage to face the difficulties and challenges life had in store for me. She was my voice of reason. Although that voice would sometimes be a constant nag, but end of the day, she was right. Today I would do anything to hear that nagging just one last time.
Shirani Wijayatilake, was the eldest daughter of late K. P. C. & Wimala Abeyratne of Hasthigiri Hotel & Bakery. She was a good wife to my father, late Kosala Wijayatilake (President’s Council), taking good care of him during his many illnesses throughout the years. She had a weakness for fast food and carbonated drinks. McDonalds was her favoured choice, especially the ice cream sundaes! But her favorite past time was spending time with her three sisters. The four of them were inseparable. Every Saturday of every week they would plan and go out for dinner with their spouses and sometimes even the kids would join in. The conversations were always so lively and entertaining. They never ran short of a topic of conversation, even if they met up on a daily basis, they always had something to talk about. There was never a dull moment when they were together. It was an incredible bond. And because of their bond, all of us cousins too have a close relationship with each other. As a result, the concept of extended family became important to us. It is their bond and their sense of responsibility to each other that instilled life long family values in us. Even for my brother and myself, she often emphasized the importance of having a good sibling relationship.
She was my pillar of strength! She always encouraged me to be independent. If it wasn’t for her, I would not have had the courage to face the difficulties and challenges life had in store for me. She was my voice of reason. Although that voice would sometimes be a constant nag, but end of the day, she was right. Today I would do anything to hear that nagging just one last time
This week would be three months since my mother lost her battle with Covid. Never did any of us imagine that she would succumb to this dreadful virus especially since she had taken her first dose of the vaccine in late February. A total of six weeks she was hospitalized. The first six days we thought that like most others once her 14 days of quarantine ended, she would be going home. But sadly, it was not to be. As I sat with her in hospital, I watched her going from bad to worse. Some days were good, giving us a little bit of hope. But with each day I watched her struggling to breath on her own and needed constant oxygen. Her oxygen saturation levels never became stable.
Even if it did it was only for a day or two. It was heartbreaking and the feeling of helplessness is just unimaginable. The last couple of days were the hardest. By then she was on the ventilator for almost 2 weeks. I use to watch her monitors like a hawk as I knew the days were outnumbered. The doctors and nurses did their best to prepare me for the inevitable. On that fateful day I sat by her bedside watching her journey in this life come to an end, the sense of loss I felt is just unexplainable. I will never forget that day and the six weeks we spent together at hospital. I am ever so grateful that I was able to be there with her, trying to encourage her and most of all trying to be strong for the both of us. Those six weeks will always be etched in my mind and my heart forever. Losing one parent was hard, but losing both within a short span of 3 years, there are no words to describe the emotions.
Even after three months, it is still hard to believe what happened. In the mornings I expect to hear the sound of her room door opening, or hear her footsteps coming down the stairs, or expect to see her sitting on the verandah chair when I come home from work. Not a day goes by that I don’t think of her. Every little thing is a reminder of her and our life together. Being in this house without her is not the same and extremely hard and painful. Nothing is ever going to be the same again. We all miss you so very much Ammi…May you attain the supreme bliss of Nirvana!
Your life was a blessing, Your memory a treasure, You are loved beyond words and missed beyond measure. – Unknown