Dear Editor,
I cannot refrain from writing a short note on behalf of the Humanitarian Mission of New Jersey Arya Samaj and the members of its Guyana Chapter after I heard of the sudden demise of a dear friend of the organization, Mrs Ismay Spooner, Guyana’s oldest living person. The news of her passing came to me and the organisation with deep shock and a void is now being felt with profound sadness.

Ismay was born in Barbados on December 27, 1900 to Bajan parents. Her father, Livingston, died before she was born, but her mother Louise, lived to the ripe old age of 102. Her two brothers and two sisters are all deceased, leaving her as the only surviving member of her family. She married Harold Spooner, a cane-harvester in British Guiana. He is also deceased. The centenarian recounted that she left Barbados at age 10, with her mother and uncles, for British Guiana.

Ms Spooner was a friend to me personally and to all of us at the New Jersey Arya Samaj Humanitarian Mission/Guyana Chapter. She was well known for singing her spiritual gospel songs and sharing her wonderful life experiences.

She has touched many and left many wonderful memories of advice, and words of inspiration with all who have crossed her path. She loved singing to the core of her heart. It is indeed a terrible grieving which has come upon us. She will be greatly missed.

The life of Ismay Spooner – 1900-2013 was indeed an unselfish one. She was always willing to give advice and to share her words of love to anyone and was contented with what she had. She would never forget to pronounce blessings upon the person who would give her a gift. She counted each day that she lived as a blessing from God. I remember her singing songs like “Precious Lord take my hands and lead me home. This world is not my home,” etc.

She said that she was “trying by the grace of God… not of the best, you know old age. Some days are good and some are not.” She said, too, that she was “living by the mercy of the almighty. Without God I am nothing.” She said she was enjoying a “long life” because “God is the foundation of the world. Every day is a day closer to home.”

I ask her the secret of longevity and she said that “obedience to God brings many blessings, but when you are disobedient, you allow a curse to come your way.” I was blessed to celebrate her 111th birthday with her reminiscing on her long life and her relationship with Jesus Christ.

To the family who was there beside our dear mother ‘kudos’ must be given. They have contributed to the longevity of this noble soul. She will be greatly missed by the members of this organization, her church members, her caregivers and her many friends.

In urging persons to take care of the country’s senior citizens I said following the news of her death:
“I extend my deepest sympathies and am very sad… with the years of visiting her and maintaining her, it’s unfortunate – whatever she wanted, I always tried to meet her expectations… may her soul rest in peace.”

Do not neglect the seniors in our communities. I refer to them as our building blocks. They have made us what we are here today. They’re not looking for much. Take care of them, share a meal with them, sit and talk with them, have a cup of tea with them. Take their hands and take them for a walk in the evening, and you will be truly, truly blessed.
I remain the humble servant for the poor
Yours faithfully,
Pandit Suresh Sugrim

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