“Gone is the face we loved so dear, Silent is the voice we loved to hear; Too far away for thoughts to reach, sweet to remember her who was here, who, gone away is just as dear. Sadly missed. WILMA : W-Willing, I-Intelligent, L-Loving, M-Motherly, A- Always Ready”
Mangaluru : That is how I would describe the passing away of Wilma Delores D’Souza, aged 53, whom I loved and adored very dearly. Although I knew her only for couple of years, it seemed like we knew each other longer than that. I became closely associated with her when I got involved during her 50th Birthday bash which was planned by her children, and I was at the helm as compere for the occasion- I tried my best to keep her happy during her birthday celebration through my witty and jovial comments- and she loved, enjoyed, and laughed her guts out. She did appreciate my participation in her celebration, and she gave me a big hug for making her happy during her terrible time battling with cancer.
The blow was hard, the shock was severe when I got the sad news of her death on 2 June 2015. I did not know her death was near, but God knew she was suffering and the hills were hard to climb, so he closed her weary eyes and whispered “Peace be thine”. I miss Wilma so dearly because she was warm and quick to make everyone feel comfortable. She had a special way that warmed the hearts of everyone who knew her and the qualities that made her the wonderful person she was have left us all with many beautiful memories. She did touch hearts of many through her politeness, graciousness and friendliness. The large crowd comprising of relatives and friends that showed up for her funeral proves that she was loved by many.
As I was browsing through our website my eyes suddenly landed on the article :”This Thing Called Cancer” written by Shivani P Naik, which brought memories of my dear friend Wilma Delora D’Souza, who lost her life with cancer at the age of 53 few days ago. Yes, we all know that Cancer is a brutal disease. Many of our young and old dear ones/friends have lost their lives battling with the cancer disease. Cancer may have cut some people’s lives shorter than they would have been without having cancer. It may have prevented them from doing certain things while still living. Cancer may take away the joy we have from having these people with us on this earth longer than if they didn’t have cancer.
Some people fight cancer with everything they have, every day that they take a breath. While you have done reading this tribute article, please take a moment to pray for Wilma D’souza and her family. She was a great woman and I keep thinking of her and her family often. I think of the eulogy every time I hear someone saying the “lost” phrase and I think this sums it up perfectly. I’ve watched her for couple of years, laughing and having fun with her family/relatives/friends, hanging out with her family. I know what she’s made of. Cancer never stood a chance against her.
I know Cancer wore down her body since the day it affected her. I know it exhausted her strength. And I know it took her life. But cancer couldn’t dim her smile. And what a smile it was! Everything good, everything wholesome, everything pure about womanhood was found in her smile. But there was more—a hint of joyfulness and fun, a sense of self-confidence, an unmistakable kindness. It was the kind of smile that drew people to her. That smile was there the first time I met her when I was introduced to her by Ryan D’Souza, son of renowned Konkani singer Late Jerome D’souza, when he had come down to Mangaluru to release his “Anjea Sarke Chedu” DVD. And that smile was still there the last time I saw her. The ravages of cancer, chemo and radiation could not wipe it from her face. If anything, her smile was brighter and more joyous the last time I saw her. Cancer was helpless against it.
Wilma Delora was doubly blessed with beauty—inside and out. Cancer could do nothing to diminish either. When chemo robbed her of her hair, she sported some of the coolest head wear you’ve ever seen—looking good all the while. It was a beauty that shone through her eyes and smile every day of her life. Cancer tried to take it from her, but failed miserably. Cancer couldn’t steal Wilma’s popularity. To know her was to love her and to root for her. We should all be so lucky to have as many friends as Wilma did. She touched more people in her 53 years of life on earth than most of us could in 100 years. From her doctors and nurses to her relatives and friends, no one entered Wilma’s orbit without being inspired by her. Cancer was utterly helpless to interfere.
Cancer was unable to break Wilma’s spirit. Her zest for life and competitive fire burned brightly to the end. Her confidence and adventurousness were undimmed. She took everything cancer could throw at her and kept going. She endured pain that would have hobbled the toughest adult. She found energy in the face of draining treatments. She maintained a positive outlook in the bleakest of situations. Where was cancer’s victory in that? Cancer ripped a hole in the lives of everyone who loved Delora Wilma. Cancer left us devastated and heartsick. Cancer robbed the world of someone who would have done great things—someone who would have made a difference. But cancer did not beat Wilma Delora D’souza. It never stood a chance.
Wilma’s death has been an example to us all as she went through her cancer experience with courage, grace and dignity. I am one of those family friends who was blessed with the opportunity to share with Wilma some highs and certainly some lows during the initial phase of her battle with cancer while she was bedridden in hospital and home. As for her children, I know they are well aware that they mean the world to their mother and will always carry that in their hearts. The unity of D’Souza family is inspiring- this family is an example of what family, motherhood, love, support, caring and appreciation really means.
The best feeling in this world is family. From it, we draw love, friendship, moral support and fulfillment of every special need within our hearts. Wherever we are, whatever we’re doing, whenever we really need to feel especially loved and cared for, we can turn to family. Wilma had always provided stability within her family-it was understanding, patience and believing in each other that tied this family together. To her children, Niran, Kevin, Collin, Edna and Emma, Wilma has been the source of warmth and comfort, their confidante, their support and encouragement, their help and adviser-her unconditional love and care towards her children has proven that she was everything a mother should be- and I know it because I have seen it many times when I visited their house. Wilma was also a very devoted and loving wife to her husband Edward, who was right beside her hospital bed when Wilma breathed her last at Fr Muller’s Hospital.
Born on 31 January 1962, to Charles and Iris Bangera, she was one among the four kids ( Norma, Roland and Late Raymond, who died in a accident at age 19) in their family. She married Edward D’souza on 22 December 1982, and since then has been a very caring housewife. I called her the “Mother Teresa of D’Souza Family” just for her unconditional love and caring towards her children and off course, her husband too. With her death we must not mourn her passing away with tears of sadness but remember her with tears of joy- for she was a fun-loving, jovial and happy person one would ever come across.
I truly believe Wilma is at peace and is united with her dear ones and friends in heavenly bliss. In conclusion, all I have to say to my friend Wilma is, ” We will all think of you in silence. We often speak your name, now all we have are memories and your picture in a frame. Your memory is our keepsake with which we’ll never part. God bless you in his keeping, but we’ll always have you in our hearts and in our memories. You are sadly missed by me, by your husband, your 5 kids, relatives and friends. Every time we look at your picture, you seem to smile and say, ‘Don’t be sad but take courage, and love each other for my sake’. We will do that, we promise.”
I end this tribute column with a quote, “Those who have lived a good life do not fear death, but meet it calmly, and even long for it in the face of great suffering. But those who do not have a peaceful conscience, dread death as though life means nothing but physical torment. The challenge is to live our life so that we will be prepared for death when it comes”.
Eternal rest grant unto her, O Lord, and let perpetual light show upon her-May her Soul Rest in Peace. Amen
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