Royal People

A dedication to those wonderful people who served Royal Primary School & Royal College, in Sri Lanka, since 1835, and, who will be remembered for their committment, sincerety and unselfishness.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Eulogy - by E Lorensz Pereira (Lollo)

Rosanna Helena Huntingford

Born to Eternal Life 20th October 2006

St. Leonard’s Church
349 Springvale Road
Glen Waverley 3150
Victoria Australia

I am finding it almost impossible to comprehend as to why I am standing here to deliver this Eulogy at Rosanna’s funeral. That certainly was never intended to be the script.

]She had all the credentials for a long, healthy and contented life. She had the right genes. Her Mother, Madeleine is a well preserved 80 something and Rosanna’s elegant, stately Italian Grandmother, Gungi, lived actively on a remote coconut plantation in Sri Lanka to a ripe old age. But so very, very sadly that has turned out to be not the case.

She had a very short illness suffering from that horrendous disease, lung cancer. Not once during this brief illness and certainly not during her last 48 hours did she ever greet anyone without that sweet charming smile which she maintained right throughout the conversation. This in spite of enormous difficulties in her breathing.

I understand that she passed away with that sweet smile still on her face. One could not wish for or pray for a more beautiful and peaceful departure. We thank the Lord for that very special blessing.

Rosanna had a fettishness about paying bills. She was a Creditors delight. Here she was lying in her bed, fully aware that she was dying, yet the first thing she always asked me was wether there had been any more bills that day. She drove our Daughter Anneliese crazy about paying these bills immediately. In fact Anneliese was severely admonished, just the day before Rosanna passed away, for failing to do so, on one occasion. Rosanna, will you please find some time from having fun up there, to step into my home one day and sort out the mess of my many unopened bills scattered all over the place.

Those who came in contact with Rosanna will ever remember her lovingly, as a beautiful person in every sense of the word. She was vivacious, possessing that fantastic and infectious smile that instantly disarmed anyone. She was extremely youthful looking and attractive, as you would have gleaned from the presentation on the screen. She was the Belle of Colombo. Soon after leaving school she worked as a Dental Assistant. The clinic attracted a flood of young guys, feigning unimaginable dental problems, just to be able to see her at close quarters.

I vividly remember attending a function with her in Colombo in our early thirties. This lovely little girl came up to Rosanna, pointed her finger at me and asked her “Aunty is that man your father?” It took me a long time to live that down.

As most of you would know, Rosanna and I have been divorced for about 20 years. But let me tell you that period of her brief illness and more particularly her passing away has effected me badly. I have never experienced such emotional distress before. Possibly, unconsciously, helping to share the grieving with our three children.

At moments like this one’s past is so spontaneously thrust before you. I would like to briefly allude to a few snippets from that past to give you a far better idea of the woman that Rosanna was. Importantly, it will provide our children Robin, Anneliese and Marc of some unique insights about their Mother that they never knew.

But, before I do so I would like to sincerely thank all those who have so very kindly helped me through this very trying period.

My three children Robin, Anneliese and Marc and their spouses, Robert, Katarina and Lilly. My partner, the amazing Grace, my brother Alan and wife Margot, Rosanna’s sister Meropi and husband Ratna, my work colleagues, particularly Watto who rang me a number of times on the day of Rosanna’s death and all my other dear pals. Thank you so much for propping me up. I never knew that sincere, warm, caring words and tender, loving hugs can provide so much relief and comfort.

As some of you would know, Rosanna built her home immediately abutting my home, to the rear, and lived there for the past 15 years. We became even greater pals with a focus on the children and grandchildren. This rare phenomenon of family unity involving the 2 ex spouses, Grace and our children and grandchildren was a blessing that we all valued, nurtured and thoroughly enjoyed.

I well recall the day she moved in. Late that evening I was in the shower when there was this aggressive, somewhat hostile, banging on my front door. Hastily, I wrapped myself in a towel and cautiously opened the door to find Rosanna. Before I could mutter a word, she said “I saw you from my bedroom. You were stark naked. You ought to do something about this”. I most certainly did! I built a trellis over my back fence the very next day. I cared for my front door.

osanna loved her grandchildren. With the pet being Lachlan, as he was the eldest. Lachlan spent most of his school holidays at his Grandma’s. Lachlan used to prepare an extensive and exhausting agenda for each holiday stay. It usually consisted of movies, visiting the video parlour, lunch somewhere and playtime at the park, all this all in the one day.

The program was so intensive that Rosanna obtained well needed respite by sleeping through each movie, to be woken by Lachlan to begin the next agenda item. Spencer was the other beneficiary being taken for regular play with Grandma at Lollipops. They will both miss her dearly. I had the gut wrenching task on Sunday, with Anneliese, of picking up 3 trolley loads of Christmas gifts for Rosanna’s grandchildren that she had put on lay-by. It was so very sad indeed.

Rosanna and I met when we were both 15 years old. So we have known each other in various capacities for over 50 years. Now I will be severely reprimanded by her for disclosing her age. She remained 50 for the last 15 years or so. She certainly looked it.

I was cycling one afternoon in Colombo for tennis, when I heard this distant clapping. I turned and saw this most beautiful, young, tall and slim girl with long hair and a fair complexion. I didn’t take any particular notice as girls were an alien race to us boys at this time.

On my return home, I again heard this clapping. This time, much louder and closer, it was her again. I looked into her eyes and knew at once, that she was beckoning me. I panicked and hastened to cycle faster, but to no avail. She had literally jumped in front of my bike.

Therein, began a magnificent life’s journey for both of us, that subsequently spawned two distinct families, ours and Rosanna’s sister’s who married my best mate and my rugby captain at school, Ratna. So, Robin, Anneliese, Marc and Dinesh, that was your beginning – all Rosanna’s doing. It was a classic case of the woman choosing the man who then chose her. Hereafter, every time I hear the sound of clapping, I will be thinking of her and how she hijacked me and put me on the road, that mattered, to a great and satisfying life. Many thanks, Rosanna.

Our marriage and wedding was out of a John Cleese movie. Rosanna had to make a choice of migrating to Australia with her family or staying back and marrying me. I was just out of school, no proper qualifications, no job and no prospects for the future. Yet, she decided to marry me. At the church wedding, here she was walking down the aisle, when my best man Rupert, he is here today, turned to me and asked for the ring. A desperate search occurred. I had left the ring at home. We looked around and someone produced something that looked like a ring. I will never forget the look on the priest’s face, when Rupert handed him that strange contraption.

Finally, a very personal and painful confession. I need to say this for Rosanna and for the sake of her children. I have lived with this guilt, this pain, this enormous hurt that I had caused her some 40 years ago. It has tormented me from time to time.

It arose when I left to further my education in the UK. Rosanna and Robin were left behind. We didn’t see each other for almost 3 years. Whilst I was living an indulgent lifestyle, Rosanna and Robin struggled through life, more or less on their own, on a very limited budget. Last Wednesday, 2 days before Rosanna passed away; we had a quiet moment to ourselves. I began to apologise for the enormous hurt I had caused her and Robin. She cut me short, kept smiling, shrugged her shoulders and ever so gently whispered, “its ok”.

That was typical of Rosanna, - no grudges, no malice, no hatred. I then asked her, why she had waited so long for me. There was no hesitation in her reply. She said “Because I loved you very much and because I wanted Robin to grow up with his dad”. Such magnificent touching words that will echo in me for a lifetime.

Rosanna, my eternal gratitude to you for your unmeasurable contribution in every possible way to our lives, and for the legacy that you have left me in Robin, Anneliese and Marc –my dearest and best pals.

By the way, just a quick reminder about sorting out my bills.

With Much Love - Your Ex

26th October 2006

"May she rest in Peace"


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