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Sad day

Posted by wendyn on 12/13/04 at 15:01 (165563)

Some of you may have seen a post I made a few weeks ago about a trainer at our gym who has RSD. I sent her Julie's article on pain and breathing, and she really appreciated it (thank you Julie). Yesterday morning she was driving to work, and she was struck by an 18 year old drunk driver who blew through a stop sign. She died at the scene.

She was about 27 years old, and was just coming to terms with her illness and trying to find a 'new normal' for her future. I feel so completely devastated that I am sitting and crying at my desk at work. Thanks for letting me put this down here. I didn't know what else to do.

Re: Sad day

Dorothy on 12/13/04 at 16:32 (165572)

Wendy -
I'm so sorry. What a tragedy.

Re: Sad day

Suzanne D. on 12/13/04 at 17:22 (165574)

Oh, Wendy, I am so very sorry. Words fail at times like these, but my heart aches for you and for your friend's family and friends. I will remember those who are touched by this tragedy in my prayers.


Re: Sad day

wendyn on 12/13/04 at 18:52 (165579)

Thanks Suzanne and Dorothy. It has been a long day. I am sad for her and her family. I am pissed at the drunk teenager who has ruined so many lives, including his own. I'm also sad because I'd finally found someone who had the same physical problems that I do, and now she's gone.

You're all wonderful people, but getting to talk to someone else face to face, who really understands, was really special. We both thought it was so amazing that we had found out about each other, and that we had so much to learn from each other.

Re: To Wendy re Sad Day posting

carynz on 12/13/04 at 23:59 (165593)

hi there Wendy,

How sad to read your post today about the accident yesterday that claimed the life of your friend. I was chatting with my mother earlier today and she was telling me about 2 accidents yesterday that claimed lives, both having alcohol and speed involved and that the roads are clean and dry so driving conditions weren't an issue. I had just finished reading the online articles in the Sun earlier tonight and then signed on here to read new posts etc and came across yours.

Drunk driving will never ever go away, no matter how hard we all try to instill in our children and others that it is so very wrong to get behind the wheel of a vehicle after having just 1 drink, the newspaper article said that 2 guys 18 and 20 suffered minor injuries! Perhaps they will suffer emotional injuries now for the rest of their lives.

Many years ago, about 23 I think....my brother in law's girlfriend was killed by a drunk driver, she was only 3 days past her 18th birthday. It was very hard on him and he never recovered from her death. In fact, he too turned to drinking and got himself in some tricky situations but luckily never got behind the wheel of a car. He has had a long hard life because of this and the ripple this causes affects so many people.

I hope your friend will be remembered at the gym by all who know her.

My thoughts are with you.

Take care,

Re: Sad day

Julie on 12/14/04 at 05:04 (165599)

Wendy, I am sorry! That is terrible.

There are similar stories every day, and unfortunately the easy acceptance of all the killing on our roads, especially the lenient attitudes of the courts towards drunk drivers, mean that the families of the victims are always let down by ridiculously short sentences.

I'm sorry you've lost your good friend in this awful way.

Re: Sad day

wendyn on 12/14/04 at 07:31 (165601)

Thanks Julie and Caryn. This is an article about her, and it mentions her struggles with RSD:


Re: Sad day

Julie on 12/14/04 at 09:16 (165608)

Thanks, Wendy. Paula really does sound a very special person. It's tragic that her struggle to cope with chronic pain should end in this disaster. Once again, I'm very sad for you that you have lost such a friend.

Re: Sad day

Kathy G on 12/14/04 at 10:04 (165609)


I'm so sorry to hear about your friend. It's always a tragedy when someone is killed in such a manner but for it to be someone who had weathered what Paula did, it's doubly upsetting. It sounds as though she had her life on track and had learned to live with a condition which had totally altered her plans. She must have been a very special person.

It's tough for you to lose a friend sho suffers from RSD, which I consider to be the most devastating of all the conditions we've talked about on these boards and one that I didn't even know existed until I read about it here. No one can understand the condition as well as someone who has it and it sounds as though you both were determined to have normal lives and not let it slow you down anymore than was absolutely necessary. So you two had a special bond, beyond friendship.

You will all be in my thoughts and prayers.

Re: Sad day

wendyn on 12/14/04 at 17:44 (165627)

Thank you all for being there for me..you're all sweet and even though I'm not here that often any more - I appreciate every thought, every post, and every prayer.

Would not have made it through the last 5 years without you....

Re: So sorry about your loss.

marie on 12/14/04 at 17:53 (165628)


What a tragic loss. It's tough enough being dx with RSD and coming to terms with it and only 27. I'm so sorry. It's unfortunate that we live in a world were some still don't bother to think how their actions may affect others. Drunk drivers are very selfish people. You're in my prayers.

best wishes marie

Re: Sad day

JudyS on 12/14/04 at 19:54 (165629)

Wendy Girl there are no words that can take away your grief and that of your friend's family. Although I check in here infrequently these days I do remember your having mentioned her not long ago.

One of the worst things about drunk driving is that it is mind-boggling to try to understand how it can possibly occur in this day and age. Education about it is plentiful and constant yet people still choose to do it. You will do yourself a lot of good if you don't even try to understand the complete nonsense of it - there is no understanding.
All you can do is keep your loved ones close while you grieve and reach out to your friend's family.

My best to you.

Re: To Wendy re Sad Day posting

JudyS on 12/14/04 at 19:58 (165630)

Just yesterday in our neighborhood a young man was celebrating his 21st birthday by.........getting drunk. With his friends. Then he and a friend got in his car to drive home. He tried to pass someone on the right shoulder of the freeway, his car rolled, his passenger/friend died at the scene and he is in critical condition.

Unfortunately, we live in a society that still condones drinking to get drunk as a rite-of-passage at age 21.

Re: To Wendy re Sad Day posting

wendyn on 12/14/04 at 22:40 (165637)

Thanks Marie and Judy. You're right Judy. I need to not spend time thinking about the 'why'.

I am having a hard time getting past the whole idea that we somehow 'found' each other in the last few months - to be able to support each other.

It was so amazing to think 'Wow. I am not alone!' Our stories were so similar, our pain almost identical. Having someone like that to talk to a few times was really amazing. For both of us. Now I feel so completely alone, that it's added a whole layer of sadness on top of incredible grief.

Then when I think about how sad that I am that I have lost her and her support, I feel guilty for feeling that way.

It's been very confusing and very upsetting.

I will stop being depressing now. It isn't serving any purpose. It's okay to be sad, but it isn't okay for me to spend so much time in self pity and despair.

Re: To Wendy re Sad Day posting

Dorothy on 12/14/04 at 22:51 (165639)

Wendy - Just some thoughts regarding your post. I hope you will be able to stop judging yourself so harshly. You're feeling what you're feeling and it isn't necessary to label it 'self-pity and despair' and as something that is not ok. Really. I'm not espousing cliche psychobabble here, just caring advice - what you're feeling - whatever it is - is ok because it's how your heart and your spirit and your intellect will find their way through your loss and whatever feelings you have and make meaning for yourself of your own reactions and experiences, as well as what your new friend meant/means to you. As I've mentioned here recently, I've been reading Darlene Cohen's 'Turning Suffering Inside Out' - and it's a Zen perspective, among other things - but she's big on acceptance of whatever it is that we are feeling, pure and simple, not what we should or should not be feeling - just feeling and observing and 'knowing' what we're feeling. I hope I'm not adding to your angst over this by saying these things; I hope I'm prompting you to think about if and how you might be judging yourself. I am sorry that you've lost someone you felt so simpatico with, but maybe that experience will open other doors for you... Best wishes.

Re: Sad day

Necee on 12/15/04 at 01:02 (165641)

Wendy, I'm so sorry about the tragic death of your friend. Knowing what she has been through, and finally coming to terms with her health issues, then being taken away so suddenly like this must be a terrible shock for all who knew her.

I hope you find some comfort in knowing that you, as well as her family, are in my thoughts and prayers.


Re: To Wendy re Sad Day posting

Julie on 12/15/04 at 03:01 (165647)

Wendy, no! What you feel is what you feel, and it's all right. You are grieving, and that is the natural, right, response to what has happened. It is not self-pity (though it may be despair, and if despairing is what you feel, that's all right too). Accept your feelings and stay with them: you'll emerge from this faster than if you negate and belittle them. Honour them, too: they show your spirit and your depth of kindness, and your capability of friendship.

Paula may be dead, but your friendship with her isn't: you can still 'talk' to her. When you're feeling a little less sad and angry, I'm sure you'll want to.

Take care, Wendy, and please keep talking here.

Re: To Wendy re Sad Day posting

Kathy G on 12/15/04 at 10:36 (165663)


I can identify with the bond you felt with Paula. I only have OA and PF, just some aches and pains that have changed my life slightly but not anything earth shattering. I have a friend who has serious RA and while we would be friends even if she were completely healthy, I think the fact that we understand when the other is having a bad day brings us even closer. When we go places together, I don't feel like I have to apologize for using my handicap placard. If one of us is too tired to keep going, we turn around and come home. We understand each other in the way that only two people who share a common bond like arthritic pain can.

She is now involved in another serious struggle. She has her first chemo treatment for breast cancer on Friday. Along with that, the RA has gone into her eyes and she is terrified she will go blind. Again, I don't have physical disabilities to the magnitude that she does, but she seems to feel very comfortable having me around her as she goes through these tough times and I am happy to be able to support her any way I can.

Were I to lose her, I would miss her as a person and as a friend. But I would also miss being able to talk to her and not feel like a hypcochondriac or whiner. There's a level of support that she offers me that no one else can.

So, don't feel like you're being selfish. You're being human. Your feelings are all part of the special relationship you and Paula shared.

Take care and stay well.

Re: To Wendy re Sad Day posting

wendyn on 12/15/04 at 21:11 (165701)

Thanks again - you guys always make me feel better. I went back to the gym today for the first time, and I felt better, not worse. Everyone at work who went to the gym is also struggling, not just me. So, in a way, I guess that makes me believe that I what I am feeling is 'normal'. Just a little overpowering.

The memorial service is on Saturday.

Re: To Wendy re Sad Day posting

Suzanne D. on 12/15/04 at 22:11 (165711)

Wendy, having lost a good friend a month ago to a sudden death, I understand. It is overwhelming. Ann was a co-worker and friend, and we shared a great deal with each other concerning our hopes and fears, our thoughts and plans. As you said earlier, having a face-to-face friend like that is special, and the loss you feel is deep.

I understand and am thinking of you,
Suzanne :)

Re: Sad day

Carole C in NOLA on 12/15/04 at 22:27 (165713)

Wendy, I am so sorry that this happened! How devastating, especially this close to Christmas.

Carole C