Chithrani Damayanthie Fernando: She was a living saint | Sunday Observer

Chithrani Damayanthie Fernando: She was a living saint

Those we love go away
They walk beside us everyday
Years may pass and fade away
But memories of loved ones are here to stay

On May 1, 2018, it will be 12 months since she departed to be with the Lord. Our family was made to look poorer by the untimely demise of one of its most humble and helpful persons.The ever smiling and lovable character, Damayanthie, came into my life 37 years ago when I got married to Damayanthie’s husband Warren’s cousin. Her affection was contagious.

Her care and concern, irrespective of considerations of class, caste or creed, and no recipient could ever resist responding to that disarming love which knew no bounds. Immense were the acts of her love, sharing and feeling for people, both rich and poor.

A product of Methodist College, she never lost her common touch as she was able to move with the highs and lows of society and was a prominent participant in all family activities in which she saw her stewardship prosper.

Damayanthie was a hands-on individual who would do her utmost to alleviate the hardships faced by the underprivileged with her persuasive tactics and she would walk the extra mile to help anyone in need.

Aggression was never in her vocabulary. She was a beautiful lady, with a beautiful heart. She had compassion, understanding, love, joy, happiness and readiness to forgive and forget, always with a beautiful smile. She was courageous and never hesitated to stand up for justice.

I will never forget her hospitality when we were going through crisis in our lives in 1988. Her home was our home during that crisis period. Early morning she would bring the cup of tea and at night, a glass of milk without fail.

We as a family feel the void left by our loving cousin’s absence. We miss Damayanthie dearly. She was more of a sister than a cousin to Roshani and me. We were blessed to have her in our lives. We will remember all the times she helped us, those calls to check after a court hearing about my cases.

Many would speak of her and share their thoughts of her remarkable and unshakable faith in God. How can anyone forget her smile, which always meant so much to those who met her and that smile will never be lost, beaming in the marvelous splendour of Heaven? We here on earth, will always love and miss our loving cousin.

I would like to extend our heartfelt condolences to her dearly beloved husband, Warren who stood by her at all times and to her children, Gayathrie, Gayan and Ramesh.

Death is not the greatest loss in life; the greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live.

She was indeed a living Saint.

Damayanthie, may you rest in peace.

Premakumar Fernando


Chandrakala Ratnayake (nee Senanayake): The vacuum continues to grow!

Time shall heal they say; but to me, time has only been intensifying the aching wound of my beloved mother’s absence in this world. She was the very special person who brought light into my life, from the day I was born, not only in times of joy, but in times of deep sorrow and struggle. Even though she has been gone throughout one whole year, which I felt like a lifetime, I still feel her ray of light falling on me from heaven above. But, I admit with pain that the challenging moments have been appalling without Ammi’s presence. And, the dainty moments of joy have been dull in her absenteeism, throughout the year that passed-by.

My beloved mother departed this world, on May 12th2017, after courageously fighting ailment that was discovered, treated for, and persisted for three short-lived months, leaving my father and I only the consolation that her duration of anguish was minimal. The robust, courageous, good-looking and strong-willed lady in my mother did bear, void of complaint; the complications involved with an ailment of the nature. She set an example by not giving-up until her very last breath, in the Kurunegala hospital’s coronary care unit, to which she was transferred from the oncology unit. Out of the three months we all drained due to the varying magnitudes of her illness, my memory holds on tight with desolation, to the last nine hours that my mother fought for dear life, gasping. “Life breaks everyone, but some people heal stronger in the breaks,” they say, and my mother was one of those who healed stronger in the breaks.

My mother lived a complete and dynamic life. Amongst seven siblings of the Senanayake family from Kurunegala, she was the fourth. Having obtained her education from Maliyadeva Girls’ College in Kurunegala, she joined the Hayleys Group back in the 1960’s, where she served for nine years. While in school and in later years she played basketball under the guidance of All-India Basketball Coach P. Chelladurai, and also represented St. Anne’s College, Kurunegala in a trainee camp held in St. Anthony’s College Courts in Katugastota back in the 1960s. After tying the knot with my father Ananda Ratnayake in 1973, she pursued a career at Marhaba Travels in Sharjah, U.A.E. where she served for several years before returning to Sri Lanka. Being the family-oriented woman, later in her life, she, along with my father lived with me, in California U.S.A. and in Sri Lanka until her passing.

The grief of my mother’s demise has been continuously suffocating my soul throughout the past year, and choking me from time to time, letting the tears fall silently down my cheeks, every single day, not for the world to perceive. This agony of demise wraps my heart like an anaconda crushing bones of its prey. Death has left heartache in me that no one can heal. People say that time shall heal, but in reality, time apparently does not heal anything. Time, just has taught me how to live with the pain, and face this riddle called life, in the absence of my mother’s warmth and care, and of course without hearing her voice. Yet, I am aware that Ammi; you are watching over me and Appachchi, from somewhere over the rainbow. You are my Mona Liza and you will always be beautiful, in my eyes!

Sunalie Ratnayake