Dr. Irena Krystyna (Kiryluk) Michalska, MD
September 26, 1940 in Lwów, Poland - September 2, 2019 in Combermere, Ontario.
It is with heavy hearts that we announce the sudden passing of Dr. Irena Michalska: physician, anaesthesiologist, avid reader, sun worshipper, world traveller, mushroom forager, lover of all things Polish, 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 to be buried in Poland.
A funeral mass will be held at St. Mary's Church in Wilno, Ontario at 11am 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 are greatly appreciated.