Aileen joins the angels
Our family’s dear Aileen (Lachmansingh) Narsing passed away peacefully about mid-day on Sunday, December 23, 2018 at Trillium Hospital, Mississauga. She was 87 years old. Aileen was the beloved wife of the late Joseph Narsing, and mother of Dennis (married to Oma), and Caroline (partner of Dan Gosbee).
Aileen’s immediate family consisted of her sisters: Olive Seepersaud, Ione Brijbassi, Irma Ramroop, Stanley Lachmansingh. Sister Joyce Sewnauth and brother David Lachmansingh predeceased Aileen.
Aileen’s life is celebrated and commemorated by her many nieces, nephews, extended family and close friends both here in Canada, the USA, Guyana and overseas.
We encourage our family members to use the comment section on this article, send us some of your favourite photos of Aileen, and help us add to our family web tribute to Aileen. If you have lost or forgotten your login information, please contact Andrea Seepersaud.
Many family members and friends joined together for Aileen’s visitation and memorial service at the Glen Oaks Funeral Home in Oakville on the weekend of December 29 and 30, 2018. Aileen’s children, Dennis and Carol, asked Andrea Seepersaud and Cynthia Ramroop to deliver the eulogies on behalf of the family.
We are the children of our parents and by extension, our grandparents. And from them we derive a sense of who we are and what we ought to be. As we meander through life’s many twists and turns, we encounter people, places and things, all of which bear either meaning at those very moments, or later, as we reflect on them.
And so, on the morning of Sunday December 23, as we stood at her bedside and gazed upon the still, peaceful face of our beloved mother, sister and aunt we felt a surge of pain. I touched her forehead and attempted valiantly to have one last conversation-one-sided as it were. It was surreal. My Auntie Aileen had departed this life. Then suddenly I realized how very lucky I was to have been her niece. In fact how very lucky I am to be a part of the Lachmansingh family of which she was a beloved daughter.
Aileen Valerie Rohini Devi Lachmansingh was born on May 11, 1931 at Number 71 Village on the Corentyne, in British Guyana. AVRDL as she lightheartedly referred to herself, was the third child of Joshua Ramjit Lachmansingh (JR as he is affectionately referred to) and Marjorie Lachmansingh, (the former Marjorie Armoogan). She shared humble beginnings with her siblings, the late Joyce Sewnath, my mother, Olive Seepersaud, Ione Brijbassi, Irma Ramroop, the late Dr. David Lachmansingh and Stanley lachmansingh. She then pursued an occupation in dressmaking by studying for and obtaining a diploma in dressmaking and garment design from the United Kingdom.
In 1954, Aileen immigrated to England, where she met, fell in love, and married Joseph Narsing. Together they welcomed Dennis, their first born, and then daughter Caroline. They lived in various boroughs of London until the mid 70’s.
I first met my Auntie Aileen in the summer of 1970, when she and Uncle Joe made their first trip from England back to the homeland. I was an eager and enthusiastic teenager at the time; I thoroughly enjoyed the novelty of observing a refined, beautiful woman with impeccable manners and perfectly tailored clothes. I recall being fascinated with the fact that she had personally made many of her garments. I was already dabbling in dressmaking as a hobby, and I wanted to be just like her. And lucky me, she probably saw possibilities in her niece, because when she made a second visit to Guyana in 1974, she brought beautiful trimmings and notions for me to embellish my sewing projects. On this second visit, I was a student at the University of Guyana, and Auntie Aileen seemed very pleased that I was still keen on my hobby. My campus clothes stood out from the rest of the students, and I frequently received inquiries as to their origin.
On that visit my parents were going to host a small party for Uncle Joe and Auntie Aileen. Auntie Aileen showed us how to dress the chickens for roasting- by tucking the wings in and under the bird; and together we made several platters of beautifully arranged cheeses, fruit, pickles and such. Then she introduced us to the shandy. A drink that takes half a glass of ordinary beer and makes a refined “concoction” as she referred to it. To this day, whenever I have a shandy, I think of Auntie Aileen. In fact over the Christmas holidays I thought of her a lot..if you catch my drift.
By 1976 when I went to Leeds, England, Auntie Aileen had already left England and migrated to Montreal, Canada. By the time I immigrated to Canada in 1988, she had moved to Pittsburg, USA. So as fate would have it, we did not live in the same country until 1996 after Uncle Joe had passed away and she returned to Canada to live. Auntie Aileen was one of very few people I personally know who was a national of four countries in three continents- Guyana, England, Canada and the USA.
Over the years that followed I came to know Auntie Aileen pretty well. She was a bubbling cauldron of great ideas for sewing, gardening, cooking, baking, and just about everything else. She made the best rugalah and yum yums I have ever eaten. Her garden was beautiful, and I daresay perhaps the envy of her neighbours. Several perennials in my garden originated from her garden. In our family, Auntie Aileen was referred to as the “Martha Stewart” of the family. For me she was the Julia Child of the kitchen, the Gabrielle Chanel of sewing, the John Abercrombie of gardening.
In 1997, I remember wanting to do something special for Auntie Aileen and my mom. Mom suggested going to see the movie Titanic. I took them to Cineplex Odeon bought popcorn and drinks, and we settled back to watch the movie. I kept looking out of the corner of my eye to see their reaction to the dramatic scenes. They were spellbound. At the end, they were both wiping away tears for Jack and Rose.
Auntie Aileen was a sweet, gentle, soft-spoken, generous and kind person. I loved doing little things for her. Mostly because she was such an inspiration to me in my formative years that if I could reciprocate in whatever small way I could, I made an effort to do so.
As her health began to slide, she continued to demonstrate strength of character, resilience and determination that would have made my grand parents proud. She endured her illness with great fortitude and dignity. Her children, her siblings, nieces, nephews watched and agonized as our beloved mother, sister and aunt drifted into a dark world where no one could reach her anymore.
A world where she could no longer experience the joys of simple little things. A world where no one could lend her a hand – it was heartbreaking – for someone who had always given so much of herself to the happiness and well-being of others. Such is Alzheimer’s Disease.
My dearest Auntie Aileen as a sister, mother, aunt and friend, you loved us unconditionally, and we all loved you in return.
You impacted my life in so many ways. You were a huge part of my personal growth and my life’s experiences. Nothing will ever change that.
It is Sunday, December 30, 2018. You are in a safe and beautiful place now. It is time for you to close your eyes and go to sleep, our beloved mother, sister, aunt, great aunt, cousin and friend. May you dream of lilacs, roses and lilies, rugalach, yum yum and shandy and that greatly anticipated day when we will all be together again. Until then, I will always keep the memory of you deep within me.