Tracy Leigh Stonnell Casselman
When people you have never met come to the door to express their sympathy, you know your daughter's life had meaning, depth, and impact.
Tracy was the elder daughter of Karen Diadick Casselman, and the late Major Ted Casselman, and sister to Tanya Casselman, Halifax. Born March 12, 1964, Tracy made the brave decision to leave us on June 11, 2020. It was not an act of cowardice but one of determination. COVID-19 had upended Tracy's quiet but pleasant life, and removed the pleasure and satisfaction she derived from volunteering at the Food Bank, house and pet sitting, auditing psychology classes at Acadia, Zumba at the pool, greeting people as she did her errands in town, and spending hours at the library. Increasingly, there were also health issues. Tracy could no longer comfortably drive our little blue car to Hall's Harbour where the lobster rolls were among her favorite things in this world. She was awaiting surgery, and social distancing was essential. She could not hug neighbours, greet dog walkers along the trail, or even visit the percheron family to meet the new filly. Her comfort was her kitty. The last few days of her life Daisy was inseparable from Tracy, the cat perhaps sensing that her favorite person was about to leave her to the care of her loving but inadequate grandmother who filled the food dish less often. Tracy had an abiding love for her aunts and cousins, her one uncle, and her 'chosen' father, Karen's partner, Dr David Cogswell (Aylesford).
Flowers, food, cards and letters, phone calls, and many visitors, testify to the myriad of people who will miss Tracy's wit, intelligence, her passion and beauty, and the affection she returned to those who accepted her for who and what she was - that is, a person rendered unique due to Asperger's Syndrome. Tanya and I cannot thank you enough for giving back to Tracy the positive reinforcement she needed: your smiles, hugs, concern, and most of all, your friendship. We have heard words such as 'loving, smart, dynamic, kind, articulate, and amusing', applied to her in the past days. People have spoken also of Tracy's quirky way of seeing the world. A case in point was funerals and memorials. Tracy found it restorative to share people's grief and always insisted we attend. 'I love going to funerals,' she would say, 'but I'd prefer to skip my own.' Beyond these remembrances, however, the problem remains. For while the visibly disabled are now acknowledged (as should be the case), and given meaningful employment, we have yet to accommodate the invisibly disabled. Give them a job, responsibility, dignity. Trust that they can give back albeit in a manner that may diverge from others in the workplace.
Meantime, eat a fresh strawberry and as the flavor hits your mouth, remember Tracy. Dive into a lobster roll and give her a thought. Have a swim, cuddle a cat, hug a horse. When the burden is too heavy you put it down. Tracy could no longer shoulder hers. We respect Tracy's great need to be at peace. We will love her forever and take comfort in the terrible beauty she represented, torn as she was between loving us and dreading a future she felt unable to manage. Smile when you think of her gentle face and shining eyes. And give someone who is different from you a chance.
There will be no service, but Tracy would encourage you to contact us at 22 Carriageway Court, Wolfville, B4P 2N1. And lastly, if you were among those of us at the Deep Roots tribute for Ron Hynes back in 2016, Tracy was the one holding on to me for dear life during the singing of 'Atlantic Blue'. Please say one for Tracy as you listen to other songs that she found particularly moving: 'Prayer in Open D' by Emmie Lou Harris and Jessie Winchester's 'I Wave Bye Bye'. Cry, but do not perceive her life to have been a failure.
Tracy graduated from Mount Saint Vincent and also later Saint Mary's University where she made the Dean's List. Her accomplishments teaching in Europe and Asia were considerable. People cared about her because she shone down upon them. There was not a day when she did not tell us she loved us. Most importantly, in the end, she did not let us down. All of the pain does not make the joy untrue. Funeral arrangements have been entrusted to the White Family Funeral Home and Cremation Services, Kentville.