Just got some very sad and shocking news... - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-14-2006, 03:01 PM Thread Starter
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Just got some very sad and shocking news...

There's a gal I've known since we were little (about 10 years old) and we took swimming lessons together at our local Easter Seals warm water therapy pool.

Anyway, she was born with cerebral palsy and, as a result, could not walk or even talk. She was completely dependent on her mother for everything. When she was little she got a speaking board that attached to her wheelchair so she could communicate because she had some control of her fingers.

Despite Heather's obvious challenges in life because of CP she was always very intelligent and excelled at everything in school. She even went on to college and recently completed a doctorate in social work. I don't know that she was able to do anything with that degree because of her dependence on her mother so much but she wanted to do something with her life if for nothing other than the self-gratification of completing a higher education.

Back to the sad story...my mom called me and told me that Heather died of a heart attack this morning. Apparently her mom was getting her out of bed and something went awry, Heather slipped and fell to the floor. She was not responding to her mother's voice so 9-1-1 was called. They got her to the hospital and she died of a heart attack shortly thereafter.

If she had a heart condition I knew nothing about it but I suppose cerebral palsy could also cause those things; I just don't know. I am so saddened by this news. Heather was such a sweet girl. As I was saying earlier, we met while taking swimming lessons together at Easter Seals over 20 years ago. I came to find out shortly thereafter that I even went to school with one of her cousins so we had somewhat of a connection there. Our lives obviously went in separate directions but I had always heard from her aunt that Heather was doing this, doing that, and heard that she was fine. Then about 10 years ago I began seeing her in the handicap seating section of the grandstands at the North Dakota State Fair for the country music concerts ~ year after year we always bumped into each other there 'cuz we're both bigtime country music fans. Even after all the time we hadn't see each other she never forgot who I was.

I feel so terrible for her mother right now. Heather's dad was never a part of her life so her mom raised her all by herself. She is an amazing woman. She basically put her life on a screeching halt to be the arms and legs for Heather. Without her mother's help, Heather wouldn't have been able to complete her doctorate. Her mom moved with her to a university (not sure where), took her to class and wrote her paperwork out for her, etc. Karen (that's Heather's mom) blames herself for Heather's death but, of course, we all know accidents happen. I really pray that Karen can find peace with everything and be able to move on with her life. She has literally done nothing but take care of Heather for nearly 30 years. I don't know what she'll do now to fill her life.

Well, I just had to get that off my chest. Even with my faith, I still find it hard to understand why life can be so unfair sometimes. Some are given so much and others work and work and work for what they have and, still, bad things happen to them. May Heather rest in peace.

ETA: I just googled Heather's name to see if I could come up with her doctorate studies and I did. I was incorrect before in saying that she got a doctorate in social work. Instead, it was a doctorate in Psychology. There was a paragraph about her thesis for her PhD and it was pretty amazing what she studied and had plans on doing further research in.
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-14-2006, 03:06 PM
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Most genetic (or congental) conditions cause heart problems because most of such diseases interrupt an important biochemical pathway that has things to do with energy expenditure.

I don't know how to comfort you. I am so sorry.
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-14-2006, 03:30 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by shengmei


Most genetic (or congental) conditions cause heart problems because most of such diseases interrupt an important biochemical pathway that has things to do with energy expenditure.
I figured it was something like that. I suppose that Heather's body was just terribly weak and couldn't take the normal wear and tear that a healthy body can.

Thanks for the kind thoughts.
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-14-2006, 03:33 PM
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I'm so sorry to hear of your sad news. My thoughts are with you and Heather's family at this terrible time. She sounded like an amazing woman. ((((hugs))))
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-14-2006, 04:50 PM
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I'm so sorry to hear about this Godspeed Heather.

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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-14-2006, 05:02 PM
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God bless her. I am so glad that Heather accomplished her goal. Her mother is an exceptional woman, She will need a lot of support.




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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-14-2006, 05:45 PM
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I'm sorry to hear about the loss of your friend. Let the thought of her smiling down on you from Heaven while she runs and plays in the warm sunshine comfort you.
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-14-2006, 06:12 PM
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I'm so sorry for your loss. It sounds like she led a great life despite the issues she had -- everyone should celebrate the fact that she was such a strong woman.
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-14-2006, 09:20 PM
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How shocking. I'm so sorry for the loss of your friend. Her mother and your friend are amazing women.

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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-14-2006, 11:03 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the kind words, everyone. Yes, it was definitely a shock to hear of her passing today, thinking of what an intelligent, hardworking person she was.

I spoke with my dad earlier tonight who spoke with Heather' uncle sometime today. Apparently Heather DID have a heart condition that I wasn't aware of. Her uncle told my dad that she wasn't even expected to make it past the age of 13 or so. She would have been 30 this May so I guess she far outlived a lot of doctors' expectations.
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