A year ago at this time we had celebrated Sue’s 76th birthday on June 13 by releasing 13 balloons just outside the entrance of Marywood Health Center, sixteen days before she followed them up to heaven. As our sister Sue was never one to miss a birthday or an anniversary and relished being the first person to send that card or make that call to connect on that special day, it feels quite appropriate to begin remembering the anniversary of her passing well in advance of June 29, her final day on earth.
Sue Schroder, one of Sue’s close friends and a fellow traveler on the cancer journey, has begun a blog that she describes as inspired by Sue and intended to continue her message of “cope with hope.” Her first post begins today, June 25, and is entitled Sister Sue Tracy: Hope on Steroids. Please check it on https://copewithhopecanceredition.com/.
We welcome any thoughts or memories you wish to share and hope that you continue to feel Sue’s presence in your lives.
The Tracy Family
During the past month since Sister Sue’s passing, the Tracy Family has received many beautiful cards and offerings of condolence, each one giving comfort and many sharing personal stories of how Sister Sue impacted their lives. Know that we appreciate every single one of them. Below is a poem we received in one of the cards that captures many of the thoughts our sister expressed in her final days.
I Am Free
Don’t grieve for me, for now I’m free.
I’m following the path God laid, you see.
I took His hand when I heard Him call.
I turned around and left it all.
I could not stay another day,
To laugh, to love, to work or play.
Tasks left undone must stay that way,
I’ve found the peace on a sunny day.
If my parting has left a void,
Then fill it with remembered joys.
A family shared, a laugh, a kiss,
Oh yes, these things, I too, will miss.
Be not burdened with times of sorrow,
I wish you the sunshine of tomorrow.
My life’s been full, I savored much,
Good friends, good times, a loved one’s touch.
Perhaps my time seemed all too brief.
Don’t lengthen it now with undue grief.
Lift up your hearts and peace to thee.
God wanted me now; He set me free.
© Anne Lindgren Davison
Posted with permission by the Society of the Divine Savior, Salvatorians.
Sister Sue Tracy passed away peacefully on Wednesday evening, surrounded by her family and her Dominican sisters. She entered hospice care at Marywood Health Center on June 1, 2016 and celebrated her 76th birthday on June 13. Humor was her hallmark and salvation in her declining days, and she continued to speak of cancer as her “pesky partner” even as she declared openly to those who asked how she was doing, “Well, aside from the fact that I’m dying, I’m doing fine.”
Her obituary can be found at http://obits.mlive.com/obituaries/grandrapids/obituary.aspx?n=susanne-tracy&pid=180508138&fhid=10097.
Dear Friends: Sister Sue, on the advice of her doctors and with support from her healthcare providers at Marywood, her Dominican Sisters, and her family, made the decision to enter hospice care at Marywood Health Center this week. Sister Sue is at peace with this decision. She now turns to reflecting on the rich life she has led and on simple comforts as the end of her time on this Earth approaches.
“God has invited me on a life journey that has included cancer,” Sister Sue has said often. Creating and sharing her motivational missives on her ToodoolooSue blog, in her books, and in other thoughtful tools of her ministry has brought Sister Sue great joy and comfort as she has coped and hoped through six bouts of cancer since 1986. With God’s grace she has walked this path with faith, courage, grace, and empathy for nearly 30 years. Her ministry of offering encouragement, blessings, and prayers to others who have walked, shouted, jumped, crawled, sang and danced, and loved on the cancer journey has been a blessing for her, and to all who know her.
Your prayers, shared memories, and words of encouragement have brought Sister Sue respite and joy during these past few months of her treatment journey. She has appreciated your presence through your notes and messages. Please know that her Dominican Sisters and other companions will continue reading to Sister Sue as her energy allows.
To all, Sister Sue asked us to share one of her favorite Blog posts. It begins… “Dear Gracious God… We know that cancer can do some things like startle us and re-shift our focus and our day by day routines and tempt us to worry about the future and wonder about the unknowns… but we also affirm there are many important things that cancer simply cannot do…
It cannot cripple Love….oh, it may temporarily blind us with fear but we know it cannot decrease Love…our love for you, our families, our caregivers…who all invest generous time and care for us on this journey. In the end we know love will triumph but we also experience its victories day by day… (read more) https://toodooloosue.com/spiritual-reflections/what-cancer-cannot-do/
Hello Dear Friends:
As you know, I am partnering with my care team at Spectrum, once again, as I undergo treatment. Honestly, my energy waxes and wanes. As you all know this can be a long road.
The message I focus on during these days is “Cope, with hope.”
Please continue your prayers with and for me. I’ll pop in here with updates now and again.
Peace and humor every day, Sister Sue
In February of this year, Sister Sue learned that the lymphoma in her brain had returned, and she is currently in treatment for it with some of the latest forms of chemotherapy. She is not up for visits or calls at this time, or for responding to email messages, but if you wish to reach out to her, you can send a card to Marywood (Sr. Sue Tracy OP, Aquinata Hall, 153 Lakeside Drive, NE, Grand Rapids, MI, 49503-2811) or respond with a comment on her Caring Page (see the menu above), which will be forwarded to her. And of course your prayers are always appreciated.
The latest article on Sister Sue, written by Sue Schroder and published in the Grand Rapids Press, can be found at http://www.mlive.com/health/index.ssf/2015/06/close_encounters_with_death_ca.html#incart_river