“Don’t miss the beauty of watching the miracles that are happening around you today.” — Sister Sue Tracy
When Pat Gavin and his family “(our gang of 18)” gathered for a summer get-away at their cottage, Sister Sue Tracy was there, too.
In spirit. In memory. In a legacy of peace.
Diagnosed with stage 4 cancer in his neck and given two months to live 10 years ago, Pat was thinking of Sister Sue as he anticipated a moment he never thought he would see.
“In a few minutes, I will get to hold my youngest granddaughter,” Pat told me on June 29, the one-year anniversary of Sue’s death.
A member of the Dominican Sisters of Grand Rapids who knew too much about cancer from her own 6+ bouts with it, Sister Sue was an oncology chaplain at Spectrum Health. Like Pat, she also was a Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids stalwart and inspiration.
Life after ‘Expiration date’
“Vanessa was born after the expiration date I was given 10 years ago when I was diagnosed with cancer,” Pat continued.
“My granddaughter and I will look out over the lake and she will be in awe as if she had never seen it before, even though she did last year when she was 1.
“That lake will put my granddaughter at peace even though she has been riding in a car for 12 hours since leaving her home in Virginia.”
Pat recalls that Sister Sue had a way of imparting that same gift.
“Sister Sue had the wonderful way of putting people at ‘peace’ with what was going on. Her calm, not-so-quiet demeanor, made all of us feel OK about our direction in dealing with our disease.
“It didn’t matter if we were people of faith or not. If we were people of faith, it was that much better as everything happens on ‘God’s time’ not ours.
“I will always remember her for this ability to put people at peace.
“ ‘Don’t miss the beauty of watching the miracles that are happening around you today’ she would say.”
Anticipating that moment of peace on the dock with Vanessa, “she will feel Papa holding her and she will know she is OK,” Pat said.
“She will be at peace and so will I.
“When this happens, I will look into the sky and see Sister Sue with her fake (clown) nose on smiling at us and telling me to ‘enjoy that baby!'”