May 20, 1955 - August 20, 2010
Karen_H was our first Laura's Playground Chat Director until she retired from that position due to health reasons. She had testicular cancer, which she was unable to get treatment for. As a result .. it spread to her abdomen. It was this which claimed her life this August 20th. Because of her past position here we thought that she should have a permanent page of memorial on the site. Karen was not only a past Chat Director and Vice President, but also a friend to members and staff alike .. both in the chat and in the forums. Below we would like to list a few of the folks thoughts.
Had wanted to start with a posted comment from Laura .. but Laura has chosen to place her thoughts on the forums rather than in this file. The link for that forum is at the bottom of this page.
SharleahLynn (MamaShar): "I met Karen while online, while I was living in North Carolina. She invited me to move here to Texas, not realizing that I would accept the invite. I arrived here in February of 2005 and stayed with Karen after I got here. We had been roommates right up till September of 2009, when she and a few other vacated my house. Karen had helped a few people while we were roommies.
I had found out about her passing from her wife the day after she passed. I heard about the strokes, and the passing of her mother, from her boss. Her suffering is now gone. May the force be with her until she returns."
Monica_Jennifer: "Karen was present on the chat when I first joined Lauras-Playground. She was one of the staff whom I looked up to in my journey from member to Moderator and later to Supervisor and further to a Site VP myself. When Laura gave Karen the Chat Director position she was given all the pressure of the members complaints as well as dealing with Laura's requirements. She had to play a buffer position between staff and the members and between Laura and the staff as well as between Laura and the members. There were times folks asked of her why some things were decided on as they were, and she could not give folks a full reason because some of it was confidential decisions. I can remember a few of those times members or staff had been on Karen's case to get a explaination of such matters. Karen asked me on a few of those occasions 'What I would you do if it was you in my position?'. I remember telling her that I would have done much as she was doing. She felt pressure to keep up with some of the job as her health got worse. This bore heavily on her. I did not envy her the position of Chat Director as it is one of .. if not the hardest positions on the site. On the few rare occasions she asked my advice I found it hard to advise on some of the harder issues she had asked help on, and it truly drove home to me how hard the position of Chat Director is. She indeed felt pressured between Laura and the staff, and between Laura and the members. Add in the pain of testicular cancer that had spread into her abdomen and the job became twice as hard. She quite often spoke to me off site on yahoo messenger of how she felt. Although I never did have the chance to see Karen face to face off the net, I am proud to have called her my friend. I may not have always agreed with all of the decisions she made on the chat, but I respected them none the less.
Karen in 2010 had two strokes within months of each other. After the first stroke she moved in with her mother. She had tried to return to the on line life, however was not as active because of confusion that had been caused by that stroke. I lost contact with her after a few brief weeks. A short while after her first stroke her mom passed on from this life. It is believed by some that the passing of her mom may have triggered the second stroke of the year. I remember feeling sad that this had happened to her on both occasions.
When I heard of Karen passing from this life I remember my first thought was now at least her suffering from cancer and strokes as well as being Transgendered has ended. Then I thought to myself that while I will miss her, I know she will be watching over all her friends from the spirit realm until she comes back in her next life, where I do wish she not have the same type of suffering she bore in this life. I say this because as a Wiccan I truly believe in reincarnation, and know she will come back in another form some day."
Angela-PH: "Karen_H was a good person. When I First came to Lauras-Playground Karen_H was someone who understood keeping things Straight and had knowledge of many Trans issues. She will be missed."
Jessi72: "Karen, You did so many wonderful things for everyone here at Laura's. You are kind and careing and I hope where ever you are now, that the love that you have given is given back to you 100 fold. You will be missed."
Sammi-Lee: "Karen, You helped many people and your legacy will continue. You are missed sorely."
Stu: "Karen managed the job of Chat Director under the most difficult of circumstances, all the while she remained fair in chat, never losing her temper and rarely banning anyone. She suffered the pain of cancer for three years mostly without adequate pain relief, relying on only aspirin. As the cancer spread to other organs, she just carried on, and rarely spoke about the matter.
I quote Karen herself, 24 June 2008 - 06:05 AM : 'This evening I talked with a young FTM from the UK who has MS. Our conversation covered many topics dealing with being transgendered and having MS and my cancer, his attitude, although he was the one that went to crisis, he made me realize that i have been basically stewing in my own personal hades and there is still much i am capable of, perhaps this was my moment of doubt, I don't know, but what I do know is I have gotten myself back to the point of where I should be, through just a single chat. Who knows for sure maybe I was the person in crisis there, but what I do know is that a single conversation helped ME to realise priorities and to quit downing my self. As mods we are expected to be perfect and without sin, I tried, sorry I can't do the ya can't throw the stone at me bit any more, I ain't perfect I have my flaws, my moods my highs and lows, guess that just makes me a normal person, sometimes to the detriment of all, but i guess that just adds to part of me being who I am. Again as usual, when i type long diatribes, I digress, excuse me. In closing I will just say I will strive to do better, y'all deserve that much at least out of me. Karen_h '.
In chat we give of ourselves and we gain too. We will all strive to do better, in memoriam."
Chrissie_Nightstar: "How do you give a fitting memorial to someone that helped others? Allowed strangers with no place to go in their home and make them welcome… Stood between the deadly despair that brings suicide and life? I don’t know.
Karen H did that and more. She helped those willing to come to her and trust her. She deserves a fitting memorial.
I was not close to her, and had not seen her in a long while. But her death is a loss; I don’t know how to grieve for her except give this blessing.
Karen, May the Spirits guide you to the reward that you deserve. May the Angels take you in and recognize your soul as one of their own returning. And may your work never be forgotten, but taken up by another. The world needs souls of kindness. Do not stay away too long.
Paula Ult: "Karen H did lots for the trans community, her along with Shar took in trans people who had no other place to go and may have ended up dead if they did not do something, she was one of a few that tried to understand those with did, and spent countless hours in chat.
Shortly after I joined Laura’s Playground I found chat, this is where Karen H and I first met, I was just one of the chatters and she was chat director, it was her and Shar along with all the volunteer chat mods that kept things running smoothly, I had started taking the suicide prevention course and had 2 of the 4 sections passed, it was Karen H who made me a chat mod, and for that I will always be grateful to her, I was sad when she resigned due to bad health and I was devastated when I heard of her death, my prayers go out to her family, she will be missed."
Melissia: "To Karen_h: We all know that you were a great mentor to LP's site to all that entered and needed someone to talk to and put our minds and thoughts at ease. You were there to help those in need and even those that did not understand why and who we really are. God knows who we are and why we are here on this green earth. He knows our purpose in life. And now he has taken you home to be with him, to serve another purpose in heaven with god may you now rest in peace. We all will miss you."