The Saturday before yesterday, a friend of ours, Sheela Abraham, died peacefully after a long illness. Yesterday we attended her memorial service. Tomorrow, her remains will be repatriated for burial in India, the country from where she came. We have been friends with her since she arrived in Southend 12 years ago. Her loss will be felt by many, including the 150 persons who attended her memorial service in order to pay their respects.
Sheela came to Southend 12 years ago and was part of the first batch of Indian nurses to come and work at Southend Hospital. Many of the nurses who came were Malayalees, and while not a Malayalee herself (she was born and brought up in Bangalore), she was friends with the Malayalee nurses, some she already knew while in India. She was a conscientious, competent, and hard working nurse, who was much loved and well thought of by her hospital colleagues. She was cheerful and kind and helped many in all sorts of practical ways.
She was hospitable and welcoming to all who she met even when unwell. She had an endearing smile and an optimistic outlook on life, brought about through her deep faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, who she tried to bear witness to. In recent years she was not well but still tried to live life to the full and live out her faith. She understood that her time here was limited but she fought the good fight and tried to do good, knowing she had a home in heaven. She will be much missed by the many friends she made and those she knew before coming to the UK.
I should add that our thoughts are with her husband, Lenin, and her family and friends, especially those in India. I was moved by the way they rallied round her in her final days and helping to ensure arrangements went smoothly. I appreciated the way her church conducted her funeral and put this sad occasion into some sort of context, recognizing the eternal hope we shared with Sheela.
“And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us: and establish thou the work of our hands upon us; yea, the work of our hands establish thou it“. Psalm 90:17