Dead cyclist Jenna Morrison was a yoga teacher, dancer, mom
The Toronto Star: Dead cyclist Jenna Morrison was a yoga teacher, dancer, mom
Published On Wed Nov 09 2011
It was supposed to be the happiest of times for Jenna Morrison and her husband, Florian Schuck.
Together for a decade, they were life partners who rode out life’s crises with love and commitment.
A yoga instructor, she was a spiritual person who supported her husband through a cancer fight a few years ago. He won the battle and continued his livelihood in production and design for film and television.
Nothing but promise lay ahead.
They had a 5-year-old boy and a second child on the way.
But at 38, Morrison met with tragedy on a bicycle Monday morning, on her way to pick up little Lucas at school. Clipped by a truck as both made a right turn, she was pushed under the back wheels and died.
Schuck, 43, is left to pick up the pieces, having to explain to his 5-year-old son that mommy isn’t coming home anymore and he won’t have a brother or sister.
“She was a radiant, loving and incredibly spiritual woman,” Joey Gill, a family friend, said in an interview. “It’s a huge loss for everybody in her community.”
Schuck was too devastated to speak Tuesday, telling a reporter a family friend would speak for the family. Aron Slipacoff said family and friends were at the home Tuesday night, trying to comfort Schuck and his son. Jenna’s mother had flown in from Ottawa.
“The mood is intense grief,” Slipacoff said. “We are remembering someone who was tremendously loving and generous of spirit.”
Through Slipacoff, Schuck relayed a message to the Star, explaining that Jenna comforted him greatly when he discovered he had cancer a few years ago.
“I was told I was going to die and Jenna said, ‘No, you’re not.’ She instilled in me the belief that miracles could happen. She worked on a spiritual level. Jenna was the kind of person who would get up, light a candle and say a prayer every single day of her life.”
Morrison did not value material possessions, her husband said through Slipacoff.
“She didn’t care what shoes were on her feet. She hugged anyone, especially those who were suffering. She judged nobody.”
Morrison started the yoga studio Pure Intent and sold it three years ago to Dylan Kirk, who continued to employ her at the renamed Spiritwind Internal Arts in Kensington Market. She also worked as a Thai massage therapist and taught classes in other people’s homes.
Friends gathered at Spiritwind on Tuesday evening to pay tribute to Morrison. Others held a vigil in her memory at Renaissance Yoga in Cabbagetown, where she taught for several years.
“At the end of a long day to go in and do restorative yoga with Jenna was the most beautiful experience,” said Frances Mahoney, who studied yoga with Morrison for five years and attended Tuesday’s vigil at Renaissance Yoga. “You just felt her love of yoga and she extended that to you.”
“She mothered everybody,” said Renaissance Yoga owner Matthew Remski, who also collaborated with Morrison on Yoga Festival Toronto. “She was a fount of empathy and service — and of wit, charm and making connections between people. She didn’t have a judgmental bone in her body.”
Remski added that Morrison was ever mindful of the potential dangers of cycling in the city.
“Eighty per cent of the people in the yoga community are probably riders,” he said. “I don’t think we fall into that subset of people who are dissuaded from riding because of the danger, but certainly it’s on our minds all the time. And for her it was no different.
Morrison had been a dancer all her life, learning various techniques including classical ballet, highland Scottish dancing and modern dance.
A Facebook page, “In Loving Memory of Jenna,” has been put up in her honour.
On Monday, Morrison was riding to her son’s school alone at about 11:30 a.m. She had his helmet with her and was wearing her own.
She had just turned right off Sterling Rd. and moved into westbound traffic on Dundas St. W. when the truck’s cab clipped the bicycle.
The truck continued through the intersection and she was thrown beneath the back wheels of the truck, causing her massive head injuries.
Kirk said several public events will be held in the coming days, including a bike vigil a week after the tragedy.
With files from Vit Wagner