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Saturday, February 24, 2018

When a friend dies.....

Life’s over suddenly. Slap! Bang! Finish! We had no idea it was coming. We have no choice. It has happened! We’ve just got to accept. The heart is breaking, the mind is refusing to accept. But that’s it! We’ll never see him/her walk again, call you by your name again, ask your advice, give you help, yes, that’s all in the past. This is how I felt when I heard that our friend Michael Stringer died. I knew he had a brain clot which was treated and didn’t leave him with much damage. I saw him in hospital where he was joking and helping other patients- his normal self. He is a qualified theatre nurse, or I should say, was. (That comes with difficulty) I remember him working with me when he would make sure everything was ready and session would go well. So, what happened at the age of 76? He had not been ill for over 20 years.

  This is what I want to talk about. He would look up drugs he was prescribed, on the internet and been horrified by the side effects. Who in their right mind would prescribe these! He had his own mind on many matters. Perhaps that was what went wrong. Yes, the drugs we use have good and bad effects. There is no perfect drug. We use them on balance for their benefit. We accept the ‘lesser evil’ of the good effects against the ‘greater evil’ of their bad effects and we put patients on them. But he decided what to take and not to take.

  So now his form lies motionless in a hospital mortuary. Impossible now to do fantastic photography with a high-class camera which he saved for a while to buy, impossible to do beautiful paintings, to study diatoms with portable microscope on the Sea front and impossible to look for new planets in the sky with a telescope. He will never do them again. And Joe and I will never have a chat with him in our sitting room enjoying a cup of coffee. These mundane things or the memory of them is what is what is left.
 So, let’s appreciate our friends now and show them we care for death is final. Let’s meet more often while we can. That goes for family members too. This life, as we know it, is short.

Rest in peace, Michael! We’ll never forget you!

From: Zita Perera Subasinghe


  1. Thank you Zita for speaking out your heart and sharing your profound sadness at the loss of a close and much loved friend. It is a timely reminder of the uncertainty of life and how we must value the time available to us and how we must appreciate our family and friends.

    It makes me appreciate what we as a group share even more.That we must live for the moment, and in the present, is a much hackneyed phrase, but is nevertheless true.

  2. Zita
    Thank you for that fine heart felt tribute to a friend. The demise of friends remind us of our own mortality. It is also a reminder to enjoy life and the company of family and friends.
    In our batch we speak of our unity and brotherhood. But once a batch-mate dies his name goes in our appreciations page in our blog and lie forgotten. Their names merely languish in a far corner of our blog. We must keep a day in the year to remember them. Perhaps on the day we entered the Faculty, every year, we can publish there names. Just to remind us of those who walked with us and are now no more. Anyone who wishes to pay a special tribute will get the opportunity to do so. After all friendships are for life.

  3. Great idea ND. We can either do it on May 30th (Registration Day) or June 4th (commencement of first term of lectures). Just to remind you - these unforgettable events took place in the year 1962. Which date do you prefer? I am addressing particularly ND (whose original idea it is) and our core blog group of regular contributors.

    On my part, I will undertake to do a part of it. Initial planning will have to start about two weeks before the due date. I will send out a reminder by about May 15th to set the ball rolling. The initial planning can be done by private e-mail. I shall also furnish an updated list of departed colleagues.

    Now for the major part of the job. That is to write a common Appreciation for them all. In my opinion, the best person to do it would be ND, whose original idea it is.

    I would appreciate if all interested friends would express their opinions.

  4. Great idea that will need some fine tuning. We need to put our thinking caps on. Mahen, I like your idea about the the dates, but either I feel is fine.

  5. Lucky. I agree with you that ND is the guy for the job! My own preference would be to choose 30 the of May as "Memorial Day-62".Any help you need will always be forthcoming from me. The only other suggestion I can make is to post the idea under the "latest news" tab so that the post can be instantly accessed without being submerged by continuing posts as the Blog is arranged chronologically.

  6. Hi!Zeta,
    I am extremely sorry to hear about Michael's death.I,am also rather disappointed that my wish for a Speedy recovery never materialised.
    According to Christian belief,Michael will enjoying the eve lasting happiness in the company of All Mighty God.


  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

  8. Lucky, Mahen and Indra,
    Thank you so much for supporting my wish. I am certain this is an idea that has been lurking in the minds of many of my batch as we were all so close. We should indeed take on board The 30th of May and "Latest News" as Mahen has suggested. It would be an honour and a privilege to write an appreciation to our dear departed. I will happily take it on for this year.

    Let us keep it simple. The time for weeping is over. This would be a celebration of their lives and work and the remembrance of their many achievements. These Annual Remembrances can take the form of a write-up, poems or even a piece of music as there are many in our batch who have the talent to do it. In this way it will spread the task to the many who would be willing to honour our friends in many different ways. I am certain Lucky will cajole and persuade someone to take it on every year.

    I take this opportunity to give thanks to Lucky for managing this Blog with equity and in such a friendly manner. We couldn't have found a better person to do this onerous task.

  9. Firstly, Zita thank you for your post and it was really heartfelt as we all have seen our batch mates, schoolmates family & playmates pass on. it was really sad indeed . I can empathise with you!!.
    I Fully endorse ND's idea and of course Lucky's & Mahen's full co-operation and Indra's support for this idea. I wonder if there is anything that I could chip-in with??
    After all we are all in our own "Kali Uga KalaY" in our own existence which at most could only last for a couple of decades
    As for humanity it will take longer -- just only bit longer-- a few hundred thousands years.
    Our batch, humanity and Universe are all in our own 'Kali-uga-kalay'-- just on the last stretch of our existence when after that its the END..... before next BIG BANG!!! and life begin again---> if lucky re-evolved ---> even luckier if reborn??
    So while it lasts we shall keep in touch and the memory of our Golden Batch Celebrated by an agreed date. If I am unable to be present at any Celebration, shall toast my great batch with a few drams saying --- 'SLANJIWAH'

    1. My Friend,Razaque,

      May I correct the word Uga as Yuga.
      Raghupathi Raghava Raja Ram,
      Pathitha pavana Sit Ram,
      Ishwara Allah tera nam,
      Sabko sanmathi de Bhagawan.Quote from -Satanic verses by Salman Rushdie.


    2. Raghupati Raghav Raja Ram is a devotional Hindu song commonly called Bhajans It was popularised by Mahatma Ghandi. These lyrics were taken from original Hindu text "Nama Ramayanam" written by Shri Lakshmanacharya.
      I recall singing this song at the house officers quarters where we had several jolly Jaffna lads who introduced us to its catchy lyrics and its ancient melody.

    3. Dear Matey,
      You are right.
      I stand corrected.
      This is what happens in transliterations.
      I hope you guys are not snowed under.
      We have snow for the first tine in many years contrary popular stereotyping.
      Keep well and all the best to your family.


    4. Hi,Nihal,
      How about the Bhajan,Hare Krishna,Hare Krishna,Hare Krishna,Hare Hare/Hare Rama, Hare Hare,Rama Rama Hare Hare.It says in Vedas,chanting this Veda Mantra will be sufficient to attend Krsna Loka.No need to perform alms giving etc as in Buddhist rituals.I,do not think,Hare Krsna movement was that popular in Srilanka,during our time.Most of the Hindusin SRILANKA are Sivaites.
      They consider Lord Krsna as a demigod.According to Vedic literature,Krsna is the Supreme Godhead(Ishwara-paramah)others are demigods and should not be worshipped.
      Are there any Vedic Pundits among our group?.

      I welcome coments.


    5. Sumathi and Razark
      I am just another ignorant itinerant traveller on my long and tortuous journey through life ever prepared to be corrected by the wisdom of my astute friends.

    6. It was great to talk to you Raz. I am glad the weather is not as bad as I thought "up there" in the North.

  10. Zita, I am sorry that you’ve lost a dear friend - I understand how difficult it can be- please accept my sincere sympathy though Iam rather late.
    Thanks for sharing his beautiful photography with us in an earlier post.
    He left something behind we could all enjoy- love- Rohini

  11. Rohini, Nihal, Razaaque, Mahendra, Sumathi and Lucky, This is 'late Zita' and even for me, this is Very Late. I apologise to you all and I am about to read in detail the kind words you have said. I can assure you, I have been walking about like a Zombie after this news and the suddenness with which it happened so that we find life suddenly changes and takes new shades as you have certain things planned and now a cloud has come over it all. Thanks a lot to all of you! You are such lovely 'comrades' in this trek we are doing. May you all have sunshine, amidst showers, may life be kind to you and your kith and kin. May good health and feeling of well being follow you, and may be have all Blessings! with my love and thanks to you all from Zita

  12. Thank you ,Zeta,Reading and contributing to the blog keep my brain cell active,there by delay the onset of Dementia.
    May the blessings of Holy Trinity be with you.I am made to believe in the Triple Gem as a born Buddhist.


    1. This is Zita again. Honestly Sumathi, you've said it and said it right! Contributing to this Blog and reading it and taking in some of the 'pearls' that come out of it, really keep our minds alert in this 'dementia' age. Often it makes you wake up, when you just lazily look at it and you sit up and take notice of something, whether it is a photo, a painting or just reading a comment. I know some of my non medical friends read our Blog. So I hope as many as possible read your comment and always remember to read and contribute to our Blog. I am touched by your wishes and Blessings. Whatever our religious persuasion, even if we have none, I believe that we human beings can ask for Blessings on others. It does work, and they do help. Thanks again to everyone! from Zita

  13. Hi,Srianee,
    I,am yet to hear about your final part of your itinerary
    Have you ever had experience with an Astrologer?.
    I,am serious about opinions about their experiences with Astrology.Beliefs and truths are two different entities.