In Memoriam: Ilene Kaminsky


“It’s been said that one of the hardest parts of growing old is watching your friends die. The same could be said for cancer patients because we lose so many. ” – Eileen Rosenbloom

The sad truth is that every week we lose someone to cancer, but for each of us, there is that someone special which breaks our hearts in a particular way.  I know I am not alone in having been touched in a very special way by the beautiful soul that was Ilene Kaminsky.

Ilene was one of the most generous supporters of the blogging community and could always be relied on to comment on posts and reshare our writings online. She truly loved our community of writers and had great compassion for what we were collectively and individually going through.

I was communicating with Ilene on Sunday and so the shock of hearing of her death just one day later hit me like a juggernaut. Each Sunday she messaged me via WhatsApp to tell me what she had written during the week, so I would be sure to include it in the Weekly Round-Up. Then we would chat about our week and share stories of our feline companions.  She adored her gorgeous cat Simon – called after Simon Templar (very Ilene!) and when I got my little rescue kitten, Mittens, she was so excited, wanted me to send lots of pics to “Auntie Ilene” and gave me so much advice as a new cat owner.

We shared a love of vintage clothing and jewelry, literature, and poetry. I gifted her a copy of John O’Donohue’s beautiful book, Anam Cara, knowing that the concept of anam cara (soul friend) would resonate with her.  She truly was a soul friend to me – and I know she treasured her friendship with her friends above all else. 

For the past year, we had been discussing a trip to Ireland. She longed to come here and I shared many pictures with her of the places I would show her when she came to visit. She wanted above all else to visit the Burren region, beloved of John O’Donohue and I told her I would take her to see his final resting place.

My heart really is too heavy to write much, but I would so appreciate if you left your memories of Ilene in the comments below.  Ilene grieved deeply each time we lost a member of our community and she would have loved to have known that we as a community shared our love for her after she had left us.

There’s an Irish saying when someone dies, ar dheis de go raibh a anam, which translates to may their soul be at the right hand of God. I’m not a religious person and Ilene and I never spoke about religious beliefs, but I know she would love to hear the Irish phrase. 

May your gentle, beautiful, shining soul be free and at peace now my anam cara.