Vinitha Green has passed away recently in north London, leaving her two sons and many friends numb and distraught; but able to proclaim and affirm the warmth and joys she brought to the people in her reach.
Vinitha was a daughter of a Baptist minister in Kandy and received her schooling at the Girls High School on Peradeniya Road. She entered the Arts stream at Peradeniya University in the late 1950s during my years there. She was particularly close to several others from her school batch: Lilani Tambimuttu, Shiro Pullenayagam, Sujatha Dissanayake, Sita Ekanayake and Nolani Fonseka. I got to know her through the activities of the Student Christian Movement on the campus and the gatherings centred at the campus church where Revd. Lakshman Wickremasinghe served as an inspiring father-figure.
We lost touch for a while when she migrated to England at some point. My fallible memory cannot pinpoint when we renewed contact; but I am aware that she had to bear the travails that intruded into her life when her husband developed multiple sclerosis at an early age. The testimonies at her funeral service bore profound witness to the courage and service she displayed during this period.
It was my good fortune that I was able to link up with her and her sons at some point in the 1990s when my research endeavours at Adelaide University and the presence of two sisters in UK sent me to that land for short spells. Her home became my home for short interludes every now and then.
Our latest …. and, alas, final …. association in this manner was in 2018 when I flew to England to participate in the funeral ceremonies for my sister Audrey in Oxford. There was a considerable gap between the pastoral service and the burial ceremony for Audrey’s bodily remains. I went to London for academic endeavours in the interim; and Vinitha’s home and that of Maithrie Samaradivakara served as ‘hearths’ during this freezing period.
Vinitha’s warmth and depth of friendship remain in my memory. Yes, deeply …. profoundly.
I cried ….. Nay more: I wailed at moments during the funeral service on Zoom. It was a response worthy of a REMARKABLE LADY & FRIEND.