In Memoriam - Lindalee Tracey 1957-2006
It’s hard to believe that she is gone. I received the sad news today though I did know the end was near. In the month of October which has been coloured pink for breast cancer awareness Lindalee Tracey lost her fight with that dreaded disease. Knowing her it was a dog fight but one, alas, that she didn’t win. I am consumed with guilt that I did not see her to say good-bye. I didn’t call. Of course there are reasons and excuses I could give but now that she is gone none of them seem valid. It always seemed like there would be time but time is exactly what there wasn’t enough of. What’s left undone cannot be changed now. In not seeing her frail and facing death I am instead left with a memory of her in health, full of passion and life. And I cry bitter, angry and sad tears at the unfairness that she is gone too soon. I cry for her son and I cry for her husband.
All that is left for me is to memorialize her; remember her hearty, deep-throated laugh; her sparkling, mischievous green-blue eyes, her fearlessness; her humour; her compassion and deep social commitment. Lindalee was a consummate storyteller; a writer (On The Edge: A Journey Into The Heart Of Canada. 1993, Growing Up Naked. 1997, A Scattering of Seeds 1999) and documentary filmmaker (Burlesque 2003, Toronto: City of Dreams, 2000, Abby I Hardly Knew Ya, 1995). I was lucky to work with Lindalee for two years at White Pine Pictures. As I reflect on what public history is, how it is done I realize how much she taught me: about narrative, about writing, about filmmaking, about audience, about quality. She was not a “public historian” but, in many ways she did the work many of us likely aspire to.
Death and loss teach us how much we should value every minute of every day. Pause for a moment, take a deep breath, and think how good it is to be alive. Call, or better yet, see somebody you’ve been meaning to but haven’t got around to. Hug somebody close to you and tell them how much you love them. Smile at your reflection in the mirror. Then, ladies, if you haven’t done so lately do a breast self-examination. And gentlemen inform yourselves about prostate cancer (something no man will readily or easily speak about). I lost my father to prostate cancer 8 years ago. Had he been tested sooner perhaps he would still be here despairing about my driving skills.
Labels: Lindalee Tracey