Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Thank You Tracy Zuckerman

I never got to know Tracy Zuckerman very well, although I worked many years with her husband Barry, a photojournalist at Fox 8.

I want to thank her for a gift that she gave me, but I can't in person.

Tracy died of cancer recently. For about ten years, Tracy was battling cancer. Thats right, ten years. Imagine the Indians making the World Series in 1997. Okay, now imagine you find out you have cancer at about that time. Now imagine battling the insidious disease for a decade.

Thats what Tracy did. All with a smile on her face, and a song in her heart.

I want to thank Tracy for a little piece of heaven on earth. Chagrin River Park in Willoughby.

I have lived in Cleveland for all but 9 of my 54 years. I have been to every Metro Park in the wonderful Emerald Necklace that we love here in Cleveland. I had never been to Chagrin River Park. That all changed this past Saturday, when friends, family and colleagues of her husband gathered to hold an informal service in her honor.

A riderless horse was part of a procession. Tracy was an avid horsewoman. They were very close to her heart. Barry gave a stirring tribute. I don't know how he held it together. B.Z., that was your finest moment. He spoke of a woman who embraced life. A woman who always smiled and fought cancer with dignity and courage and never a.."Why me"? from her lips.

The park was one place where she could be free. Away from the treatments, the drugs, the underbelly of cancer. I met the women who rode with her. All spoke of her great spirit of life.

A few days later, on the very same kind of perfect fall day, I returned to Chagrin River Park. I discovered the trails she may have ridden on. The jogging paths that circled the woods.

The Bridge that takes joggers and walkers over the Chagrin.

The steps to the sledding hill. 52 of them. All perfectly laid out. I ran up and down the stairs. Sweat was flowing. My feet barely meeting the ground. In a way I was running for Tracy. Paying tribute to this beautiful woman. Enjoying the feeling of being free and easy, without a so called care in the world. As I ran, I smiled most of the way. Just as Tracy may have done, staring at the prospect of leaving this earth way too soon. And as I ran, I thought that all those so called aches and pains. The hamstring pulls, the sore feet. They don't mean a hill of beans compared to the gift I received from a woman who always lived in the present.


jmaier said...

Johnny Tri, thanks for your fine comments on TZ's "Celebration of Life." My wife and I were there too. We weren't surprised in the least by the turnout. The day was divine and the mood was pretty darn happy for such a difficult time. But TZ is still with us and BZ will be just fine!

-Jason (Buffalo)

P.S. - Done an Ironman yet? I only got halfway through Lake Placid but will go back again for sure...

triguyjt said...

i agree jason. great will be fine. I have done 3 Ironman Distances races. Called the Pineman in late 90's and early 2000's. awesome Jason

papazuck said...

thank you for your kind words . we are proud of barry
norman and irene zuckerman

triguyjt said...

Thank you Mr. and Mrs Zuckerman. I don't know how Barry was able to keep it together. I am sorry for your families loss. Glad to have B.Z. as a friend.
john telich

Sherry said...

Thank you so much for your beautiful words about a beautiful person. Robert & I could not be there for the 'Celebration' but your kind words fell softly upon our crying heart's. Barry, no one could ever ask for more than you did. We love you.

Sherry & Robert

ilene said...

Thank you so much for your kind words about Tracy, and Barry.
I have always looked up to Barry (not because of his hieght, and not because he is my older brother) it is because of his strength and courage that he has always shown, and i feel that courage that he has went to Tracy, well she always had it. I remember my last conversation with her, she was happy and enjoyed where she was, it was like you could hear that she was smiling on the phone when you talked to her.
I know that Tracy is enjoying where she is now, especially that my brother Steven is there with her having a few drinks and laughs. Barry, if you read this remember the good only, Tracy would want you to go on and love life and all around you. Take care of yourself and i will speak to you soon.
With all my love to all that loves and loved Tracy and Barry
Ilene Saltzman (Zs little sis)

triguyjt said...

Thank you all for your kind words on the tribute to T.Z.
For the record. I return to that park quite often, and enjoy training there. Its gorgeous.
All the best,