Dr. Irena Krystyna (Kiryluk) Michalska, MD

We are saddened to announce the sudden
passing of Dr. Irena Michalska of a heart attack
while contemplating the beauty of the Madawaska
River. Physician, anaesthesiologist, avid reader,
sun worshipper, world traveller, mushroom forager,
lover of all things Polish, she was also a beloved wife,
mother, and Babi (grandmother). While her passing was
unexpected, she had delighted in her last days, surrounded
by family and friends at her treasured cottage in Kaszuby, enjoying
swimming (“without pleasure” as the water was getting too cold), singing,
and the annual lemon vodka competition on the eve of her death.
When in form, Irena was a socialite with sparkling eyes who could charm
anyone to bend to her will. She was a force to be reckoned with, not
because of her stature but rather because of her spirit. You could find
yourself doing something, without exactly realizing how she had managed
to get you to do it. She could tease your life story from you in a blink of
an eye (including on a chairlift ride, where she preferred to ride as single,
simply to meet someone new!).
Irena had opinions on everything and didn’t hesitate to share them,
whether they were wanted or not. She firmly believed, and acted, as if the
world revolved around her. She was opinionated and stubborn, and could
be tough to deal with, but her enormous generosity and kind heart more
than made up for that. She helped so many people and would gladly give
her shirt off her back (no doubt to expose a bikini underneath!). When you
were loved by Irena, you certainly knew it.
Irena lived her life in a kind of perpetual wonder and could be far too
trusting. She was a dreamer, making plans to do things even though they
may not have been realistic. Time was a concept that she never mastered,
she arrived when she arrived and there was no way to change that;
perhaps it is fitting that she left us so unexpectedly. She left a mark on so
many of us and will be sorely missed. We hope that her enthusiasm for
life and for people remind us to dream, to live life fully, and to love those
around us.
Pre-deceased by her much-loved husband Dr. Andrzej Michalski, she
leaves behind her children: Jaś (Chantal), Monika (Christophe) and Ali, as
well as her five grandchildren, of whom she was so proud: Lena, Adam,
Mila, Stefan, and Tiana. According to her wishes, Irena will be cremated
and laid to rest beside Andrzej at St. Mary’s Church in Wilno, Ontario. Irena
did not enjoy games, but she left us a riddle to solve, as she had made it
abundantly clear that her heart is be buried in Poland.
The family thanks the responders in the community. A funeral mass will
be held at St. Mary’s Church in Wilno, Ontario on Saturday, October 12,
followed by a reception (celebration of life) in Combermere at the family
cottage. In lieu of flowers, the family would appreciate donations to the
Polish Heritage Foundation of Canada in memory of Irena. Condolences
and especially any Irenka stories: www.heubnerfuneralhome.ca