All posts by Robert Lendvai

I'm Tracy's brother-in-law and married to Lesley.
Tracy Dort

Lesley’s Eulogy for Tracy

Lesley’s Eulogy for Tracy

The song you just heard was Pink Moon by Nick Drake. It was the song that  Tracy’s friend Clare was playing in her room at Sunnybrook Hospital the moment she passed away.

Thank you all for coming today to celebrate Tracy’s life.

Her beautiful spirit is with us today and I can say without a doubt, that she is enjoying all of this attention.  She loved the limelight.

I wanted to start by sharing some of the words that have been used to describe Tracy…

Courageous, Brave, Tenacious, passionate, determined, generous, vivacious, feisty, tough, funny, beautiful, energetic, outgoing, athletic, spirited,…..

But the word I think best sums up my sister is “sparkly” – just like the gem she so loved – a sparkly diamond. Precious and complex whose brilliance and brightness gleams in the light.

Growing up as the youngest of three girls Tracy, was a fierce competitor! In her childhood years she was a gymnast and a diver. As an adult it became skiing and cycling. She was always athletic and ultimately became a group fitness instructor.  She pushed the boundaries of everything she did – Yoga not just in a classroom but on a paddle board floating in Georgian Bay.

She was passionate and had a will to not just to succeed but to win. This drive is what allowed her to survive her life changing accident in September 2011.

Tracy could make us all crazy at times, before and after the accident. We most certainly didn’t always agree, and Lynn and I would struggle with some of her decisions.  It was her way or no way.  She knew what she wanted. She needed to be in control and didn’t hold back. Fierce in her convictions, but she had a soft heart and would always know how important it was to reconnect and say sorry.

She loved her family deeply.

I’ve learned many lessons from my sister over the years and definitely much bigger ones these past two years. I am a changed person.

She loved fashion and nice things and always looked so good.  She did not hold back on telling me how to dress, how to do my hair, what makeup to put on, and went so far on a several occasions as to buy clothes for me and show me how to put them together. She loved fine wine, beautiful vacation destinations, and good food, and introduced me to many of my now favourite chardonnays and restaurants. She had a terrific sense of humour and a contagious smile. She was “FUN”! … and would always laugh at my sarcastic wit. Right up to the end

Here’s a little story about Tracy’s sense of fun …

The day that the Head of Psychiatry at Sunnybrook Hospital came to tell us the outcome of his psych assessment which would declare her competent and allow her to reinstate her end of life decisions, …..as he was in the midst of this very serious discussion. She desperately wanted to say something and pressured me with her eyes to get the “alphabet” board so she could tell us something. Because at this point she still had a breathing tube in her mouth and was unable to speak.

I was waiting for something very profound, and as I started pointing to the letters I realized what she wanted to tell him! It was so Tracy-esque!! She said to him “Your wife is very lucky”!! Flirting right up to the end with the handsome doctor. We all laughed.

There are so many other similar stories to this one, reinforcing her charismatic personality despite her hardships.

We should all approach life with the forceful positive determination that Tracy had, and strive to be better people! We need to appreciate how lucky we are to be so blessed – walking, moving, talking, seeing, hearing to name a few. Share gratitude with those in our lives, telling them how much they mean to us.

Because at the end of our lives how do we want to be remembered?

I would like to conclude with a poem that was shared with me 17 years ago after the stillbirth of our first child Morgan, and I received it again from that same person this week.

Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I am not there; I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glints on snow,
I am the sunlight on ripened grain,
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning’s hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight
I am the soft star that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there. I did not die.


 

Tracy Dort-Kyne

Tracy is Finally at Peace

Friends, Tracy passed away peacefully last night at Sunnybrook Hospital at 11pm. We are using Facebook to provide updates and share her story. Please follow her journey at facebook.com/tracydort

tracyinmv1

Tracy has Cool New Wheels!

As some of you already know, Tracy took delivery of a beautiful new MV-1 accessible van last month. The MV-1 is the first factory-built, wheelchair friendly vehicle on the market. Tracy really took her time and looked at many options including van conversions but ultimately decided that the MV-1 was the best solution for her, the family and her caregivers.

I know we don’t say it enough – Thank you. Soooo many of you have generously cycled, planked, stretched, purchased, promoted, and spun to help us raise almost $250,000.

Because of you, Tracy’s Trust Fund was able to cover the $56,000 cost of the van. We’ve also used the Trust Fund to cover the medical training for one of Tracy’s future caregivers, monthly accommodation fees at Lyndhurst, and her physiotherapy with David Frake.

Again, thank you for supporting Tracy. And be sure to give her a honk when you see the MV-1 — it’s hard to miss!

Tracy Dort-Kyne MV-1

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My Aunt

My daughter Abigail has been hard at work on a speech she’ll be giving tomorrow in her Grade 9 English class. After rehearsing it tonight in front of Lesley, Grandma Joan and I, she graciously agreed to share it will all of you…

Robert

—————————–

Life is precious, and that is not something that I really understood, until I was forced to.

Comprehending that life is precious and every second that we are here is a gift, is not something that a teenager often stops to think about. In a world where we focus so much of our attention on the negative it is often hard to see the good and the beauty of our world. We don’t often think, “Isn’t it amazing that I can walk, I can see and I can hear, we take for granted the things that we have.”

I’m not saying that I walk around being constantly amazed by my life, and I’m not saying it’s easy to be optimistic all the time, but we can choose to focus on the good things in our lives, instead of constantly focusing on the bad. I get it, it’s hard being a teenager, heck, it even, for lack of a better word “sucks” sometimes. But I hope that after you hear the story I am about to tell you that you’ll live your life with a little more optimism.

The wind rushes past, the trees are a blur and before you know it you’re speeding down a hill. Biking. Your body is used to this kind of exercise, but you’re still out of breath. Then just as you turn the corner you feel yourself flying through the air. You crash to the ground, yet there is no pain, no feeling at all. This is what happened to my aunt on the day that changed her life forever.

She was found in a ditch off the side of the road in critical condition. Then my Aunt Tracy was airlifted to a hospital in Toronto from Collingwood. My Mom received a phone call about the accident around 5:00pm on September 4, 2011.

“Quadriplegia, paralysis of four limbs” This is the prognosis, that has been given to Tracy.

This means my aunt will never open another door, brush her own teeth, or even hug her children, without the help of someone else. She will never write a letter, go for a walk or shake someone’s hand. It is hard to imagine not being able to move, it is something I often think about, and it is not an easy topic. This condition is life altering. And after seven months we now know just how hard it really is.

Never again will our lives be the same.

Although this heavy weight is on my Aunt’s shoulders. She chooses not to dwell on this fact. She is pushing forward, she makes sure she is their to attend as many fundraisers she can and thank people for their support. I wish I could summon the same strength she has within. She inspires me to keep going, to look at life with passion and to find the beauty in every small moment.

Although, when I first heard the prognosis, I can remember being speechless like the wind had been knocked out of me.

What could I say? What could I do? I was sad but I was also angry and resentful, angry at the people around me, angry at god, angry at myself.

Why? I wanted to know why this had happened to my family! Why did this have to happen the week I was supposed to start high school?  What lesson was this supposed to teach me? I was also angry at myself for being selfish, I wanted and needed my parents but yet I knew my aunt needed them more

My Aunt is 41 years old. She has three boys, Christian 13, Malcolm 12 and Thomas 7.  The fact that my Aunt has been raising these three boys with no husband for the past six years astonishes me. My Aunt’s life was not easy, she experienced a very painful divorce from her husband and still she’s managed put her life back together and built a beautiful house in Bedford Park.

My Mom often comes home from the hospital and recounts the tales of the day. There are hard days and there are times my Aunt does not feel so strong, but what I think makes her so inspiring is that she wakes up the next day with a smile on her face and ready to fight. She doesn’t let her condition paralyze her mind or her soul. She has faith. She knows that this is major setback, a big bump in the road, perhaps a mountain, but she wants to make it!

Although we have had many struggles and trying times, it has brought us closer as a family, and taught me many things. The first of which is that we must be grateful for everything we have and seize every opportunity we can in life. It has also strengthened my faith, I believe that there is reason this has happened to us! The relationship between my mother and her sisters had strengthened and that is not to say that there isn’t sadness and anger but every day my family learns to over come it.

My Aunt is my hero. When I think of her situation, I am saddened, and I often find it hard to explain. Yet when I think of how she is dealing with it I want to be strong for her, to push on and be the best person I can be. If she can put a smile on her face, I can make it through High School. If she can have optimism and look forward to her life, then I can too.

I’ve learned a lot about who I am after this accident. Seven month’s later and our family is still learning new things and new skills to coup with this tragedy. I have come to realize that family is one of the most important things in your life and that good friends make all the difference. I have become more understanding, less judgmental and although I always knew it I’ve realized there is much more to life than my own small world.

This accident may have changed who I am but it will be for the better, and I know that with my Aunt’s spirit and my brave family we can get through this.

So the next time you get up in the morning and you want to complain about how early it is or the test you have the next day, think about how lucky you are to even be able to get out of bed.

Abby Lendvai

Please leave Abigail a comment and let her know what you thought of her speech.

Team Tracy Cycling Group

Join The Team Tracy Cycling Group

A cycling group called ‘Team Tracy’ is being created to participate in The Centurion 50 mile ride in Collingwood on September 16, 2012. It is wide open for anyone to join…and all levels of riders are welcome. Tracy’s friends Debbie Gray and Jeff Chalmers have graciously offered to help put the wheels in motion.

Tracy loved to ride and it was during her training for The Centurion that she had her accident. It is Tracy’s wish for people to come together to ride in this event to share the experience she had worked so hard to prepare for. To help you get ready, we will be organizing regular mid-week training/recreational rides, affiliating Team Tracy with a local bike shop for support and service, and raising funds for Tracy’s Trust through the design and sale of an amazing Team Tracy Cycling jersey.

To make The Team Tracy Cycling Group a reality we are looking for a few volunteers to fill these positions:

  1. Corporate donation liaison
  2. Bike shop liaison for coordinating group rides, etc.
  3. Communications person for a Team Tracy Cycling Group website/blog

If you are interested in helping with any of these roles, or if you are interested in joining Team Tracy, please contact Debbie Gray (debbie.gray@sympatico.ca) or Jeff Chalmers (jeff.chalmers@noranco.com)

Here’s a little taste of The Centurion experience from last year. We hope you’ll ride with us!

Please share this post on Facebook and Twitter.

Team Tracy Cycling Group

A Very Different Birthday Party

Tracy turned 42 last Saturday. It was obviously a very melancholy day for our family. Here’s an email that Tracy’s friend Tammy Comish sent me about a party her wonderful girlfriends organized for her at Lyndhurst Hospital. I loved her note and thought we’d share it with you.

 

[box] Hi Lesley, I wanted to share with you, my thoughts on Tracy’s birthday! As I was driving to attend Tracy’s birthday party on Friday night, I found myself flashing back to a year ago, when I was attending Tracy 40th birthday (for the 2nd time, lol!)

Tracy Dort-Kyne Birthday Party

 

What a difference a year makes.

Last year we celebrated with a yoga class, snowshoeing, a trip to the Spa and dinner. Then the following night a big party at Shirlee’s!

This year was so different, but so much more meaningful.

I was so happy to be among 10 incredible, caring women who have shown what a true friend will do when things get tough! These friendships are a testimony to what an incredible person your sister Tracy is!

I continue to be thankful for your incredible family and all these “true friends” for carrying and loving Tracy — the same way she would if it were one of us that was hurt.

I am still not convinced there is a reason that this accident happened. But on days like Tracy’s birthday it makes me thankful for Family and Friends.

Love Tammy[/box]

Tracy Dort and son Christian

The Best 5 Minutes I’ve Ever Spent with Tracy

Lesley got an email yesterday from Tammy Comish, a friend of Tracy’s. Tammy had just visited The Lyndhurst Centre the same time as Tracy was visiting with her boys. We loved her note and thought we’d share it with you. Christian is the oldest of Tracy’s kids.

 

“I wanted to share a heart warming story that I watched take place between Christian and Tracy.

Christian kept turning on his iPad while he was visiting Tracy yesterday. Tracy was getting frustrated with him, repeatedly telling him to turn it off and talk to her. Then Christian started to play an iPad game with his nose! He wanted to see if it was possible to play the game without hands. He then asked Tracy to try it. Tracy was up for it. She played the game and killed 4 of the bad guys, beating Christians record of 3 bad guys. Christian had a HUGE smile on his face as he watched Tracy play his game!

It was the best 5 minutes, I have ever spent with Tracy. I wish you could have seen it. It makes you realize that there will be happy times to come.”[/box]

I hope you’ll share this post with others via FaceBook or Twitter. We’ve created a special Twitter account for Tracy and you can follow by just clicking on the FOLLOW ME link on the left side of this page. We’re calling her new Twitter handle ” TEAM_TRACY” as the care of Tracy and her kids truly is a team effort of family and friends.

Also, let us know how you felt after reading this post….we all love hearing your comments.