Naseem Jivanjee: An altruistic humanitarian

A eulogy read at Naseem Jivanjee's funeral at the APDBO Centre in Hamilton on 27 December 2013.


Naseeem Jivanjee

Naseem Noorani Jivanjee passed away far too soon but peacefully on December 24, with her beloved husband of 47 years, Shamoun at her side. You may not have known that 20 years ago she was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis; a progressive disease which typically carries a five-year life expectancy.

With positive energy and a sense of purpose, she defied those odds and gave us all fifteen extra years to love her and be loved by her.

We all miss her so very much, especially her four grandchildren Sabrina, Sofia, Olivia and Saira, who she adored and who made her so proud.

I’m sure she would not want us to mourn, but to carry on with purpose and determination in our own lives, as she did in her life.

When we think of Naseem, two things immediately come to mind: her eternally positive energy and her selflessness.

She was a truly altruistic humanitarian.

Throughout her entire life, she was attentive to the needs and cares of those she knew and loved, even towards otherwise complete strangers, including fellow patients in the hospital in her final weeks.

We have received volumes of condolences and remembrances in the past few days.

One consistent theme is how deeply she touched the lives of those who have had the privilege of knowing her.

Many of us will remember how Naseem provided invaluable assistance or guidance to anyone she crossed paths with.

She always gave completely of herself to others and not with an expectation of compensation or reciprocity, but because it was the right and natural thing to do.

She refused to take no for an answer and we should be glad for that because she knew what we needed before we did, and offered it freely.

I’m sure you will all have your own reflections of her generosity of spirit. Please keep those memories close to your heart.

Naseem never moved quickly but always deliberately and typically got more done in a day than we could in a week.

She possessed a sharp wit, was clever and considerate; quick to laugh, slow to anger.

She truly never spoke ill of others; never felt envy or scorn.

But always had respect, concern and empathy towards others.

She stood for everything honest, beautiful and pure.

She was a fantastic soul and an amazing humanitarian.

Her memories will remain; her goodness speaks volumes and her life must be celebrated.

Life throws us difficult moments and we are so little, so powerless and so lost.

But none of us are here forever.

For all she has taught and given us, may the lessons live for always.

There is such an ache now that our family, our community and humanity as a whole has lost such a beautiful person, but we have benefited from an amazing woman for many years and that is the most important message of this story: Not the losing but the way in which she lived, gave and loved.

If even one person can try to emulate Naseem in all the goodness that she spread, then humanity has won.

She has left behind a strong legacy and it is her story that must live on and stay strong.

If there is anything you can do in your own lives to honour Naseem’s memory and spirit, please take some time to help others; not because they need it, but because it is the right and natural thing to do.