TRIBUTEs | Sunday Observer


Dinusha Fernando - A gift from God

Three years have gone by without one out of the three children God gave us.

Losing a child is unbearable. Only parents who have gone through this pain will understand this grief.

As parents of three children, we often look at them with wonder, realising that they are the one love in our life that we did not choose.

We choose to love our spouse. We choose to love our friends. We even choose to love God.

But, when it comes to our children, we never had a choice. From the moment they were born, they were ours! Before they could walk or speak or reciprocate love in any way, we were madly and passionately in love with them. It was not something we turned on and not something we could ever turn off

Our youngest daughter Dinusha was a gift from God on January 13, 1987 to both of us and to her elder sister Hirusha and brother Hirushke. Dinu’s earthly journey was only 10,606 days as she was called back to her eternal home two years back on January 15, 2016 just one night after her 29th birthday.

Even after 36 months, the spirit of my precious daughter, a brave soldier of God, will live on through every act of kindness she ever performed and her thoughtfulness. Dinu’s bright loving smile will never dim in the memories of those lives she touched.

Her life is a story of amazing faith, endurance and love. She had incurable Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) to begin with, and later on her kidneys failed, and then her main heart valve was damaged. She felt the worst was behind her.

It seems she was wrong. Following the heart surgery, Dinu had a stroke. As if everything Dinu was bearing wasn’t enough, she contacted swine flu, and then pneumonia. The last thing she needed was to find a lump in her breast, but that’s exactly what happened. Throughout Dinu’s earthly journey, she knew that God was her rock and only He could heal her of pain. This young and beautiful soldier of God was in so much pain.

The days were very dark for my little Dinu. Every movement she made caused agonising pain. She couldn’t lie, sit, or stand without pain. It’s enough to make some people curse God. It’s enough to make some take their pain out on those they love through harsh words or actions. Dinu, however, never uttered a cross word to any of us. She only let her love for her family show.

It was as if she knew she would only be here a short time longer and she wanted her family to have no doubt that she loved them. Her love for God was always evident and shone through like a bright light on dark days.

Little Dinusha continued to grow and thrive under our watchful care. We were guided along our spiritual pathway by the ever-loving hand of God. Though we appeared to have lost everything, the one thing we could never lose was our undying faith in Jesus.

I was determined, and worked every job could find to make sure youngest girl, who was as bright as a button, was able to join her sister at Colombo Ladies College. Dinu did begin to take a greater interest in her studies as she grew up.

She became a studious, beautiful girl, but she still never lost that fun-loving spirit she was born with. She also never lost her kind soul or her faith. These qualities only grew as she did. Dinusha’s hard studies were rewarded in 2006. She passed the Advanced Level exam with an A pass for Business Statistics. These results got her a good job at a leading company. Her face lit up with happiness when she got the job.

She loved her work and her colleagues. On March 31, 2009, Dinu’s trial period at the job was supposed to be completed. She thought she would receive a confirmation letter. Instead, at the end of the business day, she got a much different letter. She received a letter stating that, “Services are no longer required.”

Four months after Dinu survived the blow of losing the job, in July, 2009, Dinu started complaining of pain throughout her joints. In August 2009, Dinusha was diagnosed with incurable SLE. She began praying and was able to find her another job which would help support the family and help pay for her medical expenses. Dinusha caught Chamara’s eye while working in this place. Many young girls who really wanted to follow their friends and get married may have been less than honest by omitting the facts of her condition.

Things were looking good for the young couple until May 9, 2014. Dinu returned from work that day complaining of pain in her abdomen and spine. Tragedy struck the family when we learned that both her kidneys had failed. In March, 2015, we were told she needed to have a kidney transplant.

Watching her undergoing dialysis every other day with unwavering faith filled my heart with pain. She was my baby girl. When she hurt, I hurt! You’re never supposed to question God. I couldn’t help but wonder, however, why a young girl with her whole life ahead of her who trusted God unconditionally and lived her life to glorify Him to the fullest would have to suffer so. I still don’t know, but it’s part of God’s plan.

By January 9, 2016, Dinu felt the Lord had sent her a message calling her home. When Methodist Church Bishop Asiri Perera visited Dinu that day, she told him that she wanted to go to God’s house, she had been called home.

The following morning, whole family, Roshani and I, her husband Chamara, her brother and sister, and her brother/sister-in-law gathered around her bedside. On January 14 night, Dinu was surprised by being able to listen to her favorite artist, Keerthi Pasquel singing live to her by her bedside.

Dinu thanked all her doctors, especially Dr. Surjit Somiah who had looked after her so well.

That night Dinu uttered these words to her family gathered around her bedside, “Jesus is coming tomorrow morning. I am waiting for a message. I am watching. It is beautiful.”

Just as she said, the Lord came in the early hours of January 15. He reached down to earth and picked the most beautiful rose to take home with Him that morning. My little angel is now a Heavenly angel at the Lord’s side.

Premakumar and Roshani Fernando

Jayampathi Abeysuriya: An exemplary social worker

Jayampathi Abeysuriya was one of my good friends and a neighbour during our childhood in Galle. He passed away peacefully on October 10, 2018. He is the youngest son of one of the famous Physicians in Galle, the late Dr.Fred and Beatrice Abeysuriya and was the youngest brother of the late Dr.Punna (Eye Surgeon), the late Deshamanya Ranjith (PC), Dr. Sarath (Neurosurgeon), late Nalendra (Planter), the late Lakshan (Bank Manager-UK), and sister Surangani Abeygoonewardena. His beloved life partner was Ramya (nee Daluwatte), who looked after Jayampathi with so much care and affection until his demise.

Jayampathi had his Primary and Secondary education at Mahinda College, Galle. He was a Member of the College Athletics team in 1959. He was the first student to be appointed as a Prefect while in the lower Sixth Form, as others were appointed from the upper Sixth. Also, he was one of the Editors of the College magazines in 1964, when it was published after five years. Jayampathi also took part in one of the plays,“ The Twelfth Night”, staged at College to commemorate the 400th birth anniversary of William Shakespeare.

After the demise of his father in 1965, the family moved to Colombo and Jayampathi joined the Aquinas College in Colombo to follow a “Secretarial Course”.

After acquiring his Managerial and Secretarial experience, Jayampathi worked as a Purchasing and Stores Manager at the Asian Electrical and Mineral Company at Mattakkuliya. When I too moved to Colombo, we met frequently again. I was boarded in Borella and was a frequent visitor at his residence at Veluwana Terrace, Dematagoda.

Jayampathi joined the Colombo Branch of the Mahinda College OBA in the 60s along with me, and was elected as a Member of the Executive Committee, in which capacity he served until 2010.

He was the pioneer in organising the annual trip with the Branch Members and some of the Members came all the way from Galle to join such trips.

Jayampathi managed to organise a bus from the Mattakkuliya Depot of the CTB. He made sure that all the members are safe and comfortable during such trips.

He was a devout Buddhist and always took part in the annual “Woodward Pinkama” held to bestow merit on the late F.L.Woodward and the other past Principals and Teachers of Mahinda College.

In 2013, Mahinda College OBA Colombo Branch felicitated Jayampathi for his long and dedicated services rendered to his Alma Mater.

While being resident of “Jayawadanagama”, Battaramulla, Jayampathi was a Member of the Death Donation Society. He was involved in constructing a Buddhist Temple “Maithree Dharmayathanaya”.

May Jayampathi attain the supreme bliss of Nirvana!

Ranjith Gurugamage

M.Y.M. Faleel - A beacon of light for my social and religious activities

It is 33 years since the demise of my beloved father who crossed the Great Divine on January 3, 1986. Although three decades have passed, golden memories are lingering in my mind amid my busy work-a-day-life.

I came to limelight in the arena of social work because of my late father who was the chief instrument to guide me along the path of social life. Having received his education at Zahira College, Colombo, he ventured out into the career of teaching. He found his foot initially at the Maligawatta Denham English School where he taught about seven years from 1929 to 1935. At the same time

When the late Dr. T.B. Jayah was the Principal of Zahira College. He invited my father to join Zahira College.

My father taught here from 1936 up to 1948. It was during this period that Dr. Jayah and my father has a close rapport.

My father was the joint secretary of the Zahira College Miniature Rifle Club where he was a fine Marksman. He was awarded trophies, certificates and prizes for his shooting excellence.

My father was instrumental in starting a Printing Press at Zahira. He functioned as an honorary Manager at Printing Press and Weaving Centre for 10 years. These were Vocational Training Centres helping students to find employment after leaving school.

My father played a leading role in the All Ceylon Muslim League – as a Member of working Committee. His portrait was unveiled at the League Chambers by late Dr. M.C.M. Kaleel, the then President of the All Ceylon Muslim league.

He was a Vice President of the Ceylon Muslim Missionary Society, a Founder member of the All Ceylon Muslim Educational Conference and Zahira College Welfare Society, a Vice President Zahira College, Parent Teachers Association and Old Boys Association, a Member of Zahira College Arabic and Tamil Advisory Board, the Secretary of Maligawatte Grand Jumma Mosque and a member of the Board of Trustees Maradana Grand Jumma Mosque.

My father was a Joint Secretary of Ad-Diayathush Shazuliyathul fassiya of Sri Lanka inaugurated in 1961. The Head of the World Thareeqathush Shazuliya Order Sheikus Sajjada, Dr. Sheikh Muhammad Al-Fassy appointed my father as the Muquaddamush Shazuli.

My father was not only a teacher and social worker but also a businessman. He jointly owned two businesses “Central Drapery Stores” with late Khaleefathush Shazuli Alhaj Moulavi Fassi Ismail and other “Everest” owned by my.

He had a passion to serve as a volunteer in the “Ceylon Light Infantry”.

His honesty and integrity served him well with dignity and decorum. Because of these attributes, he was appointed as a Justice of the Peace. He was also appointed as a Board member of the Hajj Committee.

I cherish the memory of my dear father. Life is mortal in the impermanent world. One day we have to depart. We have no choice for our death. Almighty Allah should offer my father with heavenly bliss, Inna Lillahi Wa Inna Ilaihi Raaji-oon.

M. Faisal Faleel J.P.