When I first started helping Ivaan with jewellery, I had a steep learning curve ahead of me. He'd send me to Toronto's jewellery district on various errands, and whereas he knew everyone and everyone knew him, he didn't necessarily want everyone to know he was ill. As with any industry, bad news about an insider tends to spread like wildfire, and with each retelling the story often gets embellished.
Almost immediately, when I was doing errands for Ivaan, I met Diane.
Diane was the "front man" for a wholesale supply company in one of the buildings I frequented. I learned early on that Diane was discreet.
She knew Ivaan, she knew his work, she knew I was his wife and she never asked why he wasn't there himself, buying the supplies he needed. It was Diane who introduced me to Esmaeil, who used to sublet a tiny workshop inside the wholesaler's where Diane worked. Esmaeil and his wife Nazi were new immigrants and their English was limited. Both their families were in the jewellery industry back in Iran. Esi helped me so often with jewellery repairs and I came to rely on him and trust him. Through Diane, Esi and Nazi became good friends.
Whenever I needed help with other things, Diane knew a good person for me to see. "Diane sent me" was all the introduction I ever needed. It was just accepted that I was trustworthy, that I would pick up and pay for my things promptly and that I would be professional in all my dealings. If I needed a special order, Diane would get it for me. And, like Ivaan, she had a tender heart for wildlife. Whenever the window was open, even in winter, I knew Diane had been feeding the pigeons again.
A splitting headache last year sent Diane reluctantly to her physician. A tiny, newly formed brain tumour was diagnosed, and since then Diane has been in and out of hospital undergoing treatment. It seemed she'd caught it in time and Diane was soon back at work. Sadly, it returned with a vengeance almost immediately. Today, I went in to the wholesaler's where Diane worked, to ask after her. I received the saddest news. Diane died this morning.
Baruch Dayan Emet. Blessed be the True Judge.
I hope Ivaan was waiting for her in The World To Come, thanking her for her kindness to the two of us. Thanking her on behalf of both of us, because I did not have a chance to. Thanks to Diane, I feel like an old industry insider now. I will not forget her good heart. Next time I go to the cemetery, I'll bring an extra loaf of bread for the birds and squirrels, and tell them it's from Diane.
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