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Therese Douglas

Therese has passed into the realms of stars and  rays serene. But she herself was not always so serene.

Therese Douglas , our friend, was not herself for about five years. I thought she would go at any time, actually. There was a time when she couldn’t even drink three sips of a favourite aerated water. I would  myself go down to the canteen at Lake House and bring up a chilled soft drink, then take it to her and have to finish the whole bottle myself, because she used to be sick over it.. I knew  then that this was it. The end was near. She could hardly eat a spoon of rice at lunchtime.  How she came to work  was a wonder, but she would walk the  miles and miles of corridor at Lake House,from the Features Room of the ‘Daily News’ to the Production Room to do pages (newspapers do not come out on their own;someone has to bring them out,despite all the computers on earth).

I first met Therese Douglas during a stint on another newspaper. It was not a very happy meeting because she and a friend of hers—now also at Lake House—took me on anything but a short cut to the bus halt for home, in the burning sun. I was not  amused. They felt bad about it—I made them feel so. Not my idea of a joke. Later,Therese and I became friends. You cant stay peeved with a colleague all the time. That was a bad patch. Then Therese  got into Lake House and I was delighted.

She worked  as Features Editor at the ‘Weekend Express’ where she was latterly not at all happy, no thanks to the boorishness of others. She was also at the ‘Independent’ and then the ‘Island.’ But she was basically a happy person despite personal  problems.

Her great delight and strength was her only child, her son Arushan Kirk, a young Thomian whose grit and love for his mother saw Therese through her long illness.  Therese would dress with flair and creativity, sometimes looking like a Spanish Infanta in gauzy clothes and nipped in waist. She had a delicate beauty that was unique and had I been a photographer, she would have been a perfect model because of her flair and ability to look good even when she was so ill.

Laughter was the gift that kept her—and lots of us—going. Ever ready for a giggle, often at the expense of the Editor, she would double up in laughter. She had a sharp tongue and this was one of the things that saw her through some situations. A God-fearing and deeply religious woman, Therese had unending faith in her religion and this was one of the things that saw her through.  Latterly on dialysis, she had stayed calm and people who saw her in hospital told me that she was amazingly brave.

Therese passed away peacefully last Monday at dawn, just as the sun was rising and the night was on the run.  She had  what  many described as a sweet singing voice and loved suddenly  going into song, both English and Sinhala as well as  Hindi. She graced many Lake House  Bakthi Gee  recitals, enjoying every moment.

Therese for all her delicacy, loved to play cricket at office picnics,running well between the wickets. She was an asset at any gathering and took sunshine wherever she went. She was well-read and was a good actress and mimic, although she never put these talents to public use. Above all, she was a kind and understanding friend, always ready with comforting words to friends in trouble.

There is no doubt that the turf will lie very gently over her.

Weekend Standard - Mar 18 2006 - Karel Roberts