Sylvia Eunice Ramdhari, 56Y9M - 31st December 2010

by David Ramdhari
(Auckland, New Zealand)

It is exactly a year since my beloved wife and friend of 36 years passed away. She left such an incredible legacy of goodness in people's lives that speak volumes for the Christian she was. 2010 has been very difficult but through the Lord's help I've coped. The tears still flow freely and wonder if they'll ever stop.

Sylvia's eulogy, written by my cousin, Pauline Singh, is reproduced below because it tells us exactly who Sylvia was. Honey, I hope to see you one day.

17 March 1953 – with the Lord on 31 December 2009
“Be kind and merciful. Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier for the experience. Be the living expression of God’s kindness: kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile, kindness in your warm greeting. To children, to the poor, to all who suffer and are lonely, give always a happy smile.” These few words were quoted from one of the greatest women that walked this earth and I dedicate this introduction to Sylvia Ramdhari, who was the epitome of the words spoken by Mother Teresa. . Sylvia was special to me in three distinct areas of my life.

Firstly, she was married to my cousin David, which naturally makes her a close family member. Secondly, she was my sister in the Lord which she always emphasised in her greeting, whether in person or on the phone. I can still hear her voice over the phone with her usual greeting: “Hey Sister…. how are you? Thirdly, she was a very dear friend to me.

This is the story about a mother who had the biggest heart in the entire world. A mother who loved without condition and never gave up hope. A mother who offered all she could give and expected nothing in return. This is a story about a mother who worked so hard and did so much. A mother who never gave up no matter how big the struggle. A mother whose laughter could cheer up the world and whose smile could brighten a room. A mother who could mend a broken heart and chase the clouds away. A mother who was appreciated each and every day by the people blessed enough to have known her. A mother who was a role model, an adviser, and a friend. This is a story about you mum… the woman that did it all from the people who think the world of you.

One of the happiest days of Syl’s life was the 24th of May because that is the day, some 35 years ago, that she married her best friend David. That just happens to be my birthday. One remarkable characteristic about Sylvia was that she never forgot to send birthday cards. She knew that it was human nature for people to feel important and the faster the pace of our lives, the greater the impact of the simple gestures.

She truly believed that … A way to a man’s heart is through his stomach and she honoured that right until the very end, by preparing wonderful meals for her family and presenting it with a cheerful heart.

What people remember most about Sylvia was her captivating smile. Those who knew her will never forget her pearly white beautiful teeth which is quite striking as you have seen in all her photographs. I was blessed to have spent 2 months with her in her new home in Tauranga in 2002. We shared so many amazing memories.

Sylvia loved working with children. She worked as a teacher aid at New Lynn Primary School in 2001, when she lived in West Auckland. She was hardworking, articulate, caring and compassionate so it was only a short while later that she was blessed with a job as language assistant at Bethlehem College in Tauranga. At the time of her passing, she was employed by Kelston Deaf Education Centre and was based in the Language Unit at Takapuna Primary School, working with children who experienced difficulties learning language.

When she moved from Tauranga to Albany, she had a job with Respite Care and was a blessing to the elderly that she worked with. They loved her gentleness and were grateful for her companionship.

One of Syl’s greatest passions in life was to help the less fortunate than herself. She always wanted to embody Christ in all that she said and did. I had the opportunity of reading through her Bible and she made quite a few notes relating to this. She marked Proverbs 14vs29-31, which reads: ”It’s smart to be patient, but it’s stupid to lose your temper. It’s healthy to be content but envy can eat you up. If you mistreat the poor, you insult your Creator; if you are kind to them you show Him respect” Next to these verses she wrote one word – “WOW!” She also marked Romans13v9:”Love others as much as you love yourself.” In Proverbs 4vs 18, she underlined that “The lifestyle of good people is like sunlight at dawn that keeps getting brighter and brighter until broad daylight.” We have no doubt in our minds that Syl was one of the very best people we had the privilege of knowing.

In all this seriousness, I don’t want to miss the opportunity to tell you all how lively and funny she was. She always celebrated life to the full and laughed so hard at times that she brought on coughing fits. She was such a strong wife and mother all the time but there were times when we were together that she just made me laugh. When we were in the kitchen together and I noticed something that I was curious about, she called me Agatha Christie or Jessica Fletcher and she’d laugh. She would share jokes with her children and make them laugh. She even made up fanciful words that did not exist and would teach this to everyone.

There were many values that were of utmost importance to Syl. She wrote in her bible: “Thank you Lord Jesus. I know I am yours and you are mine.” Her spiritual hunger was always uppermost on her list. She never left her bedroom in the mornings until she read her bible and committed her day to the Lord. She would dedicate her day to God and ask Him to bless her and her family and to touch the lives of all those people near and dear to her. She interceded and stood in the gap for family members that were unwell. I know this because I was on that prayer list as well. She lived her life for Jesus.

Before settling in NZ, she and Dave had just celebrated their 10th anniversary as pastors at Carmel Assembly in Durban. During their leadership there, she blessed many lives.

Her first ever travel abroad from S.A. was to Israel for 10 days. It was her greatest desire to go to the Holy Land and she fulfilled this. She also went on mission work to the Haggai Institute in Singapore where a band of believers were helping to translate the gospel into the local language so that it would be presented to them and it would become an enriching personal experience for them. Her most recent spiritual trip was her trip to India in January 2006, when she went for 10 days. Sylvia loved Church and fellowshipping. In her Bible, she wrote down the date 9th September 2005 and committed Dave’s new job to God and prayed for Albany City Church, which was her spiritual home in Auckland.

When Sylvia must have seen Christine in heaven, she would have said ”Hey Christine, you didn’t think you’d be seeing me 6 weeks after you left me on earth!” Syl had mentioned Christine so many times in her Bible and prayed for healing for throat cancer, but Christine went to be with the Lord on 15th November 2009. Christine was Syl’s closest Kiwi friend and they met when she went to live in Tauranga in 2002.

Sylvia was a seasoned traveller. She visited Canada, England and the United States of America. Since settling in New Zealand in 2001, she has made numerous trips to South Africa and back to spend quality time with family and friends, albeit some of these trips were sad ones as she was going back to spend time with her grieving family.

I have come to one of the key parts of this eulogy and I have deliberately left it for last. To David, Sylvia was the part of him that was missing and vice versa. She brought to the marriage what was lacking in Dave’s character and he will agree with me when I say she was the gentler, more fun-loving side of the marriage that complemented his more practical, serious nature. She committed Psalm 103vs 1-12 to Dave and in her Bible she wrote: 22/04/2005 – for my husband.

On 28th Jan 2004, she marked Proverbs 3 vs13-18 on wisdom and wrote this prayer: “Lord, grant my three boys wisdom”.

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