This is Simon, Tracy’s husband. I received an email notification this morning that the domain for this site had expired. I’ll be honest, I’d completely forgotten about Tracy’s blog. As you’ve probably surmised from the title of this blog post, I’m very sad to say that Tracy passed away in May of last year. From about March, the tumour had progressed significantly, robbing us of the wonderful woman we knew and loved. She was still there in little bits, but she was getting progressively weaker and more confused as her disease took hold. The radiotherapy and chemotherapy didn’t help to slow its progression and really made the time that she did have left pretty miserable as it took away lots of opportunities for her to enjoy what little time she had left.
She passed away at 9:37 on May 20th. Her funeral took place on June 8th at the local crematorium where over 100 of her family and friends turned up to celebrate her life. There was standing room only! I think she’d have liked the service. I couldn’t bring myself to deliver the eulogy, so the vicar kindly obliged. I’ve included the text here, as some of you may like to read it and understand a little more about the woman behind the blog.
I’ve renewed the site for a further year, so if there are any posts you’d like to keep or just read through and remember Tracy’s exploits over the last few years, then please do.
Memories of Tracy
I don’t remember exactly when it was, but I vividly remember the first time I encountered Tracy. We were at work, although working on separate teams at that point, just before the two merged and transferred off to the private sector. We were all in a room talking about pay and one of the managers got something wrong. This voice spoke up, quite vociferously, telling him just how wrong he was. There Tracy sat, with the most vivid red hair you’ve ever seen, giving both barrels to this chap and I remember thinking to myself to be very careful around her. Over the years, I know I’m not the only one of Tracy’s colleagues to have thought that! Little did I know that a few years later, that fiery red head and I would be happily married.
We met at work and I remember finding little excuses to go out of my way to help her with something or walk together in her general direction after work, despite living in completely the opposite direction. We’d struck up a conversation about Buffy the Vampire Slayer of all things and that she’d lend me the DVDs as I hadn’t seen it. Except I didn’t have a DVD player, so one of those came too. And a week or so later, that was that. We got together over a shared love of a cult Sci-Fi show!
At the time I was playing in a band, and I asked Tracy if she wanted to come down and see us play. She did come down but, me being completely oblivious, I hadn’t cottoned on that it was the big “meet the parents” trip. Still being completely oblivious, I left Tracy with them for the afternoon whilst I went off to practice. I don’t think she ever forgave me for that! Must have done something right though, as the three of them hit it off like wildfire.
We started our love affair with America in 2003 with New York. In the months after that trip, she would drop subtle hints, usually involving “ring ring”. I’m sure I don’t know what she was getting at. However, in 2004 we went back to New York and I, quite unprompted, took her around the jewellery stores up and down Fifth Avenue until we found just the right one. Later that afternoon, I took her to Central Park, got down on one knee and proposed. Ever the romantic, I whisked her off to Yankee Stadium for a ball game later that evening. Nothing celebrates an engagement quite like baseball and a hotdog.
In October of 2004 we got married at my home church of St. Martin’s. We managed to plan everything in six months as at the time, Dad was struggling with a brain tumour and we both wanted him to be there. Little did we know that that particular disease would come back to haunt us. We had an incredible day, surrounded by our families and friends. Despite the sun being out, I had cold hands, about which Tracy commented as soon as she took my hand at the altar. From then on, any time I had cold hands she’d ask me if we were getting married. Our first dance was to Elton John’s “Your Song”, except I’d recorded it. It had become our song since the first moment I played it for her. It seems fitting that it will also be the last song she hears me sing.
We weren’t blessed with children, although neither of us saw it as a curse as our relationship had always revolved around each other. That being said, we both doted on our nieces and nephews; by blood or not, it didn’t matter. However, we always preferred giving them back at the end of the day and the quiet that returned to our little home.
That would be the focus of the next few years, sorting out our home. We decided to stay at Park Road and get it the way we wanted it, and even moved out for a few months whilst it was being renovated. As home owners know, the work never stops and just before we finally got everything the way we wanted it, Tracy’s illness began and unfortunately she never really got to enjoy the fruits of her labours.
In the last few years, we reignited our love affair with America and began a long distance relationship with the happiest place on earth, Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. What started out as a one-off holiday of a life time became an annual pilgrimage to see Mickey and all his friends. That really was our place, more so than New York, which was more mine. We went that first year not quite sure what to expect. Both apprehensive about it all, particularly with me and the driving, as I’d never driven on the wrong side of the road before. I’d selected a typically subtle American SUV as our hire car. I’d carefully backed it out of the space in the parking garage and gingerly set off towards the exit. We’d passed one of the concrete supporting pillars and Tracy screamed in the passenger seat next to me, which scared the life out of me and I slammed the brakes on. She’d forgotten that she was on the other side of the car and thought we were about to crash into said pillar. That would become a running joke whenever we were over there.
Anyone who has us as friends on Facebook has borne witness to our love of Walt Disney World. We lived a pretty simple life over our years together, but there was something about Disney and Florida in general that really captivated our imaginations. Ultimately I guess it made a lot of sense as we were just a pair of big kids, in the ultimate place for kids of all ages.
I’ve had a lot of time over the last few months to reflect on just what our life together meant to me, and it’s very difficult to sum it up in a few words. The thing I’ve always told people, which usually amazes them, is that in all our years together we never had an argument. Throughout our life together, from those first few weeks, to living together, to our thirteen happy years of marriage, one thing was a constant, and that is that we were the best of friends.
Good bye Tracy; my wife; my lover; my best friend.