Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Loss of Karen (Orsini) Toner)

We at American RSDHope, and my family especially, mourn the loss of a wonderful woman, person, mother, wife, daughter, and friend; Karen Orsini Toner.

Karen passed away on Sunday, January 22nd, 2012; due to complications from a long, hard battle with MS. Her fight took a sharp downward turn this past fall that her body simply could not recover from. She was only 55. There were other medical issues at play that the Drs were just not able to decipher.

You can read more about Karen by stopping by our website

She worked for many years now on the Board of Directors of American RSDHope and was a vital link in a very small chain. She helped fill a mighty big void when we lost my dad seven years ago, now we have lost Karen as well.

So many of you have talked and/or emailed Karen over the years; although you may not have known it. If you have written to us at RSDHope, chances are you wrote to her. She answered most of the emails that went to the office. That is a lot of mail believe me. She and mom, Lynne, handled all the dealings with the supports groups around the country; the Mentor program; all of the products that went through the awareness catalog; and a slew of other things.

She and Lynne got together every day to work, down in the RSDHope office, side by side, working on their files and computers. Karen scooting to work on her walker, then eventually on her scooter (they lived next door to one another). They had to move part of the operation over to Karen's nearer the end as it became more difficult for Karen to get over to Mom's and so mom would just pop over there and they would work there. But she kept on going right until she could no longer use her hands to type. She was amazing.

She was upset that she was leaving so much work for myself and mom to do, with the group, more than upset at her loss of being able to do it herself sometimes I think. She had so much courage, my sister. She was a strong person, got that from my parents, both amazing and strong people. Our family has been hit with some pretty tough things over the years. I know, everyones has. You just wonder sometimes, when does it get a little easier? When does the downhill leg come? When can we coast for a little bit or is it always going to be struggle?

I guess it finally is coasting time for Karen. She is in no pain, her body is whole, she is happy, free, and laughing with my dad in Heaven. She said she talked to him the night before she passed. I have no doubt of that. He was waiting for her, to guide her. She was at peace knowing that.

Death is always hardest on those left behind. We grieve not for the dead, but for ourselves, because those we love have been taken from us. We have their memories if we are lucky and if we were smart enough to make some great ones before they left. Be sure to make some great memories with the ones you love because you never know how much time you have left.

I have some wonderful memories of Karen, many, many memories. I am lucky. One day I will see her again I know.

Until then, our fight goes on. And we continue to make memories with those amazing people still in our life. Life can be short, don't waste it on anger and hate. Let go of the past and move forward.



We have one life; it soon will be past; what we do for God is all that will last.

Muhammad Ali

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