Un Crossed

Note – For legal reasons, this article is explicitly labeled an opinion piece. Quotes are used with prior permission of the author.

I’ve written of bereavement, suicide, the fact that CRPS is not imaginary (the whole point of this blog), and the true mortality rate of CRPS.

Now it has all come together.

Cross Y. was a friend of mine. He wore his heart on his sleeve — there was no deception about him, no malingering, no lying, no selfishness. Selfishness was something he needed more of, and tried to aspire to, because he forgot his own needs in the face of others’. His kind and loving heart poured forth upon his CRPS kindred and those he loved, often in scintillatingly original and muscular words.

He was injured at work. You’ve seen the news about corruption in New Jersey. Add to that the corruption of the Worker’s Comp system, and try to imagine for one minute what that might be like.

July 8, 2013
The truth will set me free,
Kill your dreams,
have nightmares for the rest of your days,
Welcome to New Jersey,
we stand our ground,
unite and become one sound,

The truth will set me free,
paper trial was the beginning,
soon the end,
your dark tunnel will remain,
Yes this once holy man,
once believed,
now a fucked up memory,
many joined,
happily crucified,
only one will remain,
your future is in vain,
your lies you cannot hide,
you may run,
change your name,
DNA will remain.

The truth will set me free,
Kill your dreams,
have nightmares for the rest of your days,
Welcome to New Jersey,
we stand our ground,
unite and become one sound.

Cross Y 7/6/13 1.21pm

He was a good-looking young Middle Eastern man, so of course, the New Jersey cops figured he was dirty from the get-go.
Cross solo
Then his brother, who didn’t believe he had this disease, became a cop, and things got worse still.

I watched his family dynamics transform as his marriage with a green-card seeker fell apart, then his beloved family started to fail him, and then he spent the best part of a year fighting to survive in an increasingly hostile and impossible hail of abuse, predation, invasion, and brutality.

The system failed him. His lawyer failed him. His family failed him. The original newspaper articles, based on interviews with his family, trivialize and brutalize still further the brightest mystic-poet I’ve ever known.

I’m grieved. More than that, I’m furious.

I had to watch as his extraordinary resilience was pushed and pushed and pushed until every strand of rubber broke.

I had to watch as his stumbling command of English prose was used to throw away the meaning behind his words. Judges and doctors alike could hardly be bothered to listen, and certainly couldn’t be bothered to believe him. Those of us who knew him had to watch as his posts wove between intelligent determination and raging despair, as time after time after time he was thrown back from what properly belonged to him.

His wife stole $30,000 of disability checks. His wife dumped him as soon as her immigration status was assured. His wife pushed him down off his weak leg.

Guess who went to jail? It wasn’t his wife. Try to imagine cold, sharp steel cuffs snapping tightly on CRPS wrists. You can’t. The world isn’t supposed to be large enough to hold that much pain.

August 6, 2013
The color of my eyes have become

the mountain I cannot climb,
the west brings the rainy days,
the east brings the heat,
So I wait,
I’ll give you my night,
I’ll give you my site,
I’ll give you my last breath,

The color of my eyes have become

the mountain I cannot climb,
Realities exist,
Unwinding occurs,
Petals unfolding,
Protecting what’s remaining,
Adapting each day,
Earth is distributing,
New sign,
New rhythm for humanity,
Being Bold,
Voice your feelings,

Full moon of greatness,
Hidden lights reflecting,
Fire resurrecting,
Slumbering beliefs,
Illusions of the underground,
Transformation of natural field,

The color of my eyes have become

the mountain I cannot climb.

9.42am 8/6/13 Lost soul

His brother’s police pals broke into his room (or were let in by his parents), stole his thumb drive, plowed through his poetry and his belongings, took his personal belongings, hacked his hard drive and his accounts. When he said he was going to install a spycam for evidence, his parents got him involuntarily committed to a public psychiatric hospital in New Jersey. They did not treat his CRPS, which was, after all, all in his head. They treated delusions that didn’t exist and a paranoia that was a perfectly rational response to his ghastly situation.

He got in line for emergency housing, but the wait list was at least 6 months long — for emergency housing. A combination of Governor Christie and Hurricane Sandy saw to that. The emergency housing and homeless shelters in New Jersey have been utterly gutted.

Three weeks ago, his father attacked and strangled him at a barbecue, in front of others. He posted a picture of himself afterward, with a bleeding bruise under one eye and big red welts around his neck, with the distinctive engorged look around the eye-bones (remember this is a former Emergency nurse writing this.)

His mother stood by and watched.

Someone called the police.

The partygoers disappeared.

His mother told the police that her husband had not attacked Cross, but that Cross had attacked her — with a knife.

Guess who got the handcuffs…

In private, she later apologized, and said she’d write a statement retracting the police report and her statements behind the psychiatric report.

She reneged.

He was living with people who were actively trying to destroy him. His work was being invaded and stolen. His life was in danger. Not even his dog’s life was safe.
Cross and his dog Leo
He had a sign posted in the rear window of his car: “We burn until there is a cure for RSD/CRPS.”

With perfect logic, he burned his car, before jumping to his death in the most beautiful part of the state. Of such indelibly poetic actions are myths made.

For him, there was no cure.

July 7, 2013
They Murdered me, I never

committed Suicide….

This disease is not imaginary. He was not crazy. He was perilously sane. He was a warm and loving soul with a shining gift of a mind, trapped in a fatally tightening spiral.

All he is now is a tragically truncated memory. What’s left is what we can scrape together of his work from our online conversations.

They keep saying he died of suicide. That’s not true. He died of torture: CRPS, institutional murder, and child abuse.

I. Am. Furious.

Cross, however, is finally at peace.

Reaching the Universe

Silence the past,
Silence the worries,
Silence the outside,
Silence the future,
Silence the self,
Silence the noise,
Silence the people,
Silence the voices,
Everything has left,
Faith in the now moment,
Faith that I am present to myself,
You are stripped,
You are Free,
You are Pure.
You are reaching the universe.

– Cross Y

Rest in peace, my darling, shining brother.

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49 Replies to “Un Crossed”

  1. This is so well-written. Thank you for this.
    The loss of my Warrior brother is a bitter pill to swallow. The only solace I can take in this is that now, no one and nothing can hurt Cross anymore.

  2. Finally at peace now Cross. No more pain for you my brother. Bless you for what you did for all of us fighting this crippling conditions. Rest xxxxx

  3. You have spoken my heart, Isabel, in every way. I am grieving this bright spirit to my core. The terrible injustice of his life and his death assault me. His loving heart and shining soul have been taken from those of his true brothers and sisters who saw the truth of him and loved him back, and I am heartbroken.

  4. I know exactly how he felt. I know why he ended his life. He had no life !
    I have been suffering from CRPS for over 22 years. No one understands. CRPS eats at your soul. Our Government and Legal system doesn’t help.
    I was injured in 1992. My Workers Comp lawsuit is still pending !!
    I live on SSD.
    I have been on the low income housing list for 15 years. I was contacted about a potential apartment. When I told them my income, I was told that my income was too low and I did not meet the minimum income requirements. My income is considered at the poverty level.
    I moved in with my Mom in 1999. I paid rent and applied for food assistance. I receive $15/ month ! What does $15 buy ?
    My Mom just passed away on July 13th.
    I am expected to pack and move so the house can be sold. My family just doesn’t get it !
    My oldest son said, ” you are moving in with me ! ” He has a one bedroom second floor apartment .
    I am tired of struggling. I am tired of being broke . I am tired of people not understanding. Most of all, I am tired of the burning, stabbing, throbbing, bone crushing entire body pain.
    I am tired of fighting my Workers Comp case. No one should have to wait over 22 years for their case to be resolved. There is no end in sight.
    As far as I am concerned, suicide was his only option.
    God rest his soul.

    1. Sending you the gentlest, most tender and encouraging hugs, Lisa. I hope you win your battle in the end. I really do. Take care as best you can. xo

    2. I live in Florida, took me 13 and a half years to settle my case with the state of Florida. I was a correctional officer, worked at a state prison,we had a “disturbance” it was a riot! I got hurt, my work comp doctor kept telling me after my diagnosis at Shands hospital in Gainesville, Fl that oh..you might have had it…but you don’t have it any more. I got squat for treatment..well surgery after surgery which just made matters worse. It was destroying my marriage, I was in so much pain with nothing to quell the pain I lost long time friends, was bordring on insubordination at work.
      It took a long time to get what I wanted, what I found out…you have to fight for everything you get from these bastards, you have to be a pain in the ass to you doctor if you must, your attorney if you have one, you work comp office if you are allowed contact with them…I wasn’t. If your family doesn’t or wont try to undrstand, love them as your family, but leave them behind if you must in your search. Surround yourself with positive upbeat, understanding prople when you can. Kick life in the balls and say I’ not through yet you sons of bitches, even if you have to whisper it and pretend to kick..so be it. I thank those I have found on Facebook and other social media web sites for the loads of new friends I have made over the past 2 months. Keep fighting the good fight for as long as we can, learn everything you can about the disease, learn different political tricks to get over on your attornies, work comp,etc. Do not give in for anything.

      1. thank you Mark Tumbling! I want to give up. I want go thrive even more. I appreciate you sharing your experiences and thoughts. I am desperate for help. I won’t quit and give those bastards a chance at burying me yet!

  5. I am Cross he lives in me…. in each and every one of us.

    May his soul rest pain free and without the grief and suffering the world pushed down on him.

    We Burn Until We Have A Cure!!!

  6. You will be missed soooo much Cross! Thank you for your encouraging words of wisdom we will carry with us forever!!!

    God Bless and Gentle Hugs

  7. Thank you so much for your writing, to process this horrible situation, and to help give me strength to fight another day. I’ve tried so hard myself to fight to change things, sharing my documentation with federal, state and city representatives. I experienced similar abuse from agencies, organizations and nonprofits here in my City. I was injured at a hospital and how I got CPRS. If you had told me my own country, our medical system,our legal system operated this way against people with he most painful condition on the McGill Scale, I never would have believed you. I have likened and believe the treatment of CPRS patient in the US is cruel and unusual punishment and a violation of constitutionally protected rights. I have witnessed five people take their life from CPRS since the start of the year. There are no more excuses for our medical and legal system and I beg that we start getting it right on CPRS. I will leave it at that and continue the grieving process. Thank you for sharing so the public will really know what happened to him and what is allowed in our country in regards to how CPRS is treated.

  8. You couldn’t be more correct. Thank you for this writing of reality. A dear friend of mine also, his story, gut wrenchingly painful, his spirit and soul, priceless. Forever will be missed.

  9. Rip my brother. It was not in your head. I’m sorry you were treated so bad. I only knew you on our crps support groups. You were a great guy.

  10. Wow what powerful piece, I can feel your anger and frustration pouring out and totally agree. If he were a child the world would be in uproar. Instead his only friends an allies were people he’d not met before, the world over. RIP Cross

    1. Sadly, even the children are largely ignored. The parents HAVE to be their support. RIP Cross. As a mother with a CRPS child, I understand the frustration and anger. I am saddened and know how lonely this condition can become and how difficult it is to receive proper treatment by knowledgeable physicians. It’s impossible for those with this disease to advocate for themselves 100%. The pain is unbearable, how do you focus on anything else but overcoming the pain on a daily basis?

  11. My heart, yet again breaks for all of us. This story is becoming too often the “normal” Too often part of our lives. Dear God above, please take good care of all the RSD angels by your side! MY deepest heartfelt condolances to you,for the loss of your friend.cross. My heartfelt condolances to him in heaven. I pray he has the peace he so desired and deserved. SHAME on his family!!!! i am soooo pissed off! too many of us have similar stories when it comes to our families…..just awful!!! 🙁

  12. I live in New Jersey; I know all about it. As a Registered Nurse I’m disgusted with what I am dealing with…I have been dealing with this Injury for almost 6 years. Six years of being active physically and mentally at one point, to becoming ashamed of how I sound when I speak because I have quickly lost my vocabulary, I’ve lost all of my friends; I would never imagined that my life would change so quickly, at the age of 43. I hope we find a cure for the Pain that we suffer everyday, all day long. My life is in my bed- what type of a life can this be, for a young woman that can no longer do the things that brought me joy prior to working and getting injured at work.
    I only hope that there is really such a thing we call Karma, so that all of those that have taken a role in our suffering, will someday
    receive their Karma!!!

    1. Iza Bella, sometimes the only thing that keeps us from literally or figuratively going over the edge is someone reaching out to you. I’m reaching out to you. The feeling of desperate solitude can overwhelm us all at times.

    2. The system is hateful everywhere in the US, it seems, but especially so in New Jersey. Cross aimed to move out, which I think was a good idea. Is that an option for you? Is there any other state that appeals?

      I’ve lived in many parts of the country and traveled in even more, so I know that there is plenty of good in it. I used to live in New Jersey, and I have to say, I have ZERO interest in going back. I realize that moving when you’re bed-bound is unthinkable, but it is possible…

      In any case, I hope you find good people who give you good care. Soon. Now would be good.

    3. Iza Bella, please explain why you are not able to have intelligent conversations anymore. I am in the same boat and do not know why.
      I do believe in Karma and I am sure each and everyone who has played a part in our misery will wear how they have made us feel at one time or another.
      As for the people who surrounded Cross, the ones who should have been the support to build him up & not rip his soul to shreds will all wear their crimes. A cure for CRPS will come! Along with the understanding of what is happening inside our bodies! They will then understand the crimes they have committed and their souls will slowly be shredded with guilt.

      1. I’m occasionally capable of having an intelligent conversation, I just can’t count on being able to do so on a schedule. I’ve cultivated some Skype-equipped friends, so I have more options about when and whether to take advantage of an occasionally working brain 🙂

        Here are some previous articles that address some of the underlying issues about what we call “Pain Brain” or “CRPS CRS”…



  13. I did not know Cross. Yesterday my wife shared some of his stories and poems with me. It seems to me that Cross only received kinds words from his CRPS brothers and sisters and the only physical love he got was from his dog. I am glad that Cross did receive a lot of love, support and kindness from the CRPS support groups. Keep sharing, you are doing a great job! Cross, RIP.

  14. Rest with angels dear warrior brother. You deserve your peace and comfort. Away from cruelty and ignorance. Away from pain that grips our souls. Away from here. Rest in eternal sunshine and laughter with thoughts and poetry writings. Write away true warrior. You are free. Rest with angels, Cross. You will indeed be missed.

  15. RIP MY BROTHER OF CRPS/RSD. MY HEART IS SAD THAT OUR OWN families turn on us. What a shame. We live in a heightened life already due to this horrible disease. Why would the ones that share our Dna. Not support us. I too am judged from this disease that takes everything from my soul. I think about ending it all. It is people like you who makes me go on. Rip God has you in his hands. No more judgment. ..may your family realize what a wonderful strong son they hard before them……If not they will be haunted for life.

    Carry on my warrior brother

  16. I didn’t know Cross but the way you’ve written this and what I’ve read on the support site, (which saved me so to speak) I’m truly heart broken. My heart hurts from all he went through. I just can’t imagine, this unrelenting disease is more than anyone should have to bare, then to have those who are supposed to help, guide and provide unconditionality fail in so many ways seems so heartless and unfathomable. Unfortunately Cross seemed to experience their failures as family, Doctors, Professionals etc and I sit here grieving that I missed the chance to meet this wonderfully talented, compassionate person who left this world as I see it against his will. I’m so very truly sorry for your loss to all who cared, loved, accepted and adored Cross. I’m so angered by all who failed him and all he endured. My journey with the life sucking disease seems so trivial right now, I’m lucky enough to have a small house filled with supportive, understanding family. I wish I’d have had the chance to let him know that I care as well as so many if you do. From my heart to yours I’m so very sorry, please know none of you are alone. I don’t have much but I have ears to listen, a voice to give comfort, a heart that cares and a disease the same as you so I understand.

    1. Thank you, Cathy. This disease really is an foolproof test of character. I’m really glad you have that support! And I’m really glad that you offer your time and attention to those who struggle.

  17. Cross was amazing! He would go over and beyond to help whoever needed it! He had helped me several times. RIP Cross….

  18. I am European and also teased by my ex partner and children.They abused me ,when I got ill in my head and sit on the chear and got not up also my feet at floor…that is no psychiatric disturbing?He and family a used me, my partner hit me and there was that ambulance and locked me in a long stay I psychiatric hospital. And my skin was cold hot and my body swet everywhere .Myvoice was so high and could not speak.And was in a storm.because I had no morfine. Every day my partner hit me there in my room.sitting in the wheelchair and by dystonia I fall a lot and nurses and no care!! I fall ,they let me lay on the ground. ..I am Dutch and they do not believe me…..it is 2014 ex partnerlives in my home is also from me!! I am traumatised very much alone,christian brothers and sister I see them never.Why? Yes I got paranoia there and that was for 5 weeks and got a very normal women.And they never believe me.
    It is so hard!After hospital where they never search ,I walked and went to Leiden Prof v Hilten TREND search with Californie University and Massachusets as a Sisterorganisation. V Hilten is Professional and scientist neuroloog and in 2 minutes .they said You have for a very long time CRPS since 1980 and maybe before my skate-injury ,1968 ,I was 7 yrs old and surgeon did my hart operating then, my puzzle fall together. .But I was at home and until 2006 ,and also did a suicide with pills ,because of the abusing of my partner and sons from 11 and 15.I feel the pain and emotional pain from Cross.
    It s also the same.we are not psychiatric people.this misunderstanding and misdiagnosis has to be got out.Psychiatric stays in the MiddleAge times!!
    WE have a neurological disease and auto immune disease and TNF alpha cells are the murdering cells!! Why are family do not understand us and also some docters!! I have seen 4 women who are misdiagnosed and not every CRPS is the same!!

    please hold me!! I have to live with this trauma and help myself with humor and mindgullnes.I think the only way!!

    Why are my 2 sons against me!!

    Cross was a beautiful man and maybe they wipe him out of is Arabic background!! I have so much compassion and my story has to be on paper too.It is for the next generation !! Psychiatric hospitals go home!! Please help us!!

    Els Vos
    from the Netherlands

    1. Els, you’ve been through Hell, and I’m glad you’re still going for it. It is time for the groundswell of rightful outrage combined with accurate information to hit the world.

  19. Hanks alot for writing this it was kind and best written. I hope all can found out what happen to Cross Yoler. People dont know about crps they think its nothing only in our heads I hope they read about what it is really. Hugs all

  20. I am so very sorry! RIP Brother RSDer.
    I too have been injured at work in a hospital . I loved my job as a L&D nurse. I desperately tried to keep my job. I didn’t know what Was going on with my hand and wrist in excruciating pain, swollen, purple, ice cold and stiff. I was told over and over sprain strain. I thought I must be a baby. So I held back the tears. One time I was seen crying and sobbing to others employees and I was told I must not talk about it cuz it was unprofessional. I was terrified and so alone. It Took 9 mos to get to pain management . By that time the 3 blocks did not help. Two SCS helped some. I have full body RSD now after 5years of fighting for my life. I am still fighting to get treatment and praying the ketamine infusions will help so I can walk, sit, and take a shower
    Again. The work comp system is very broken. But the biggest issue is lack of knowledge from Drs to Nurses, to lawyers
    Awareness and Education are key to preventing others from going through this medical system. We need to unite in Cross’s honor! Cross please be at peace and know others are now fighting to prevent RSD Brothers and Sisters from being treated so crucially!

  21. This is so well written for a story that is so heart breaking and sad. Cross had so many crosses to bare and received so little help with any of them. The support we tried to give him just wasn’t enough when he had so many against him at home. I pray he is at peace now. No more pain. Just sweet gentle peace for a sweet, gentle soul. You will be greatly missed my RSD brother.

  22. I only knew Cross from the CRPS site, but I understood from his posts the torture he was enduring that was not even related to the pain of CRPS. That pain alone is enough to have to live through. His pain and many others is the pain of family, friends and government’s apathy, indifference and sheer torture for someone who they deem unworthy of their belief or trust or care. We with CRPS don’t pretend to have a disease that keeps us from enjoying our lives. Why in hell would anyone do that? We shall miss Cross and all those who go after him because of the indifference of people who can make a difference fir us. RIP

  23. writer,

    Is it possible we can find the name of the judge who failed him? I really want to write a heartfelt letter.

    Thank you,

    1. Oh my goodness, wouldn’t I love to know who the judge was! Not to mention the lawyer, the doctor… I can probably get his address but I dare not take up a pen to write his parents — it would not go well for either side, I expect.

      If you know someone who can access the worker’s comp court that serves Bergen County, NJ, then you could research it using his name and dates (I believe the case was still current at the time of his death.) If you do, PLEASE let me know here.

      1. RSD is never the cause of death. It never matters how we die.
        It’s because of depression or medication interactions or a seizure disorder or another medical abnormality- but NEVER RSD!
        If we didn’t have RSD to begin with, we would never have these other problems!!! It makes me so angry that his passing will never get looked into by WC- it will be a closed case now because they can brush Cross under the rug.
        We die of complications from RSD just like someone with MS dies from complications. Just like someone with AIDS dies of complications. Other problems might happen later, but RSD started the domino effect.
        RIP Cross. I’m sorry no one listened. I’m sorry they killed you. I hope you knew we loved you.

    2. If you’re moved to do that, perhaps you’d write to the newspapers in and around New Jersey, especially Garfield, NJ. Those get read by legislators and sometimes by judges, at least the ones who want to keep up. They do get read by the people who live there.

      That would be an excellent and useful move. It would also help other New Jerseyites with CRPS.

      Thank you so much, whoever does that. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

  24. Thank you for this very well written letter. This is one that will never leave my heart nor my head. I didn’t know Cross personally or on any level, but this has affected me in ways that I just can’t even begin to write down. I also have RSD/CRPS and know the pain. Your confirmation… I am with Nancy. I will do my part as well to be looking for the cases, and see who to contact. My heart is still broken for Cross, may he forever live in peace and fly free pain free.

  25. Wow my heart goes out to him I know the struggles that Crps/Rsd can bring and it makes me feel sick to my stomach everything that poor man went through aswell as the constant fight with this horrible condition who ever has wrote the story well done keep going spread the story everywhere they shouldn’t be allowed to get away with it

  26. My heartbreaks reading this. Cross’ family will live with guilt for the rest of their miserable lives. Shame on them! May you RIP now Cross and pain free!

  27. I know cross though group’s for over 2 years there way he was treated is be on words from his wife his family there people who were meant to love and support him he helped me many times his way with words was truly stunning gift cross and Leo his only love at the end a light may off gone out but in it’s place is a star in the night sky to guide us throu the night your nightmare at a end r.i.p cross and Leo me and many more with our illness will miss you my friend

  28. This is just so incredibly heartbreaking on so many different levels… Just heard of this horrible loss in our RSD community. I wish I knew or could have helped. I try to help SO many RSD’rs specifically with W/C as I am well-aware of the intense stress it causes as I battled it for 10 years and successfully won my case 5 years ago. Since then, I try to do anything I can to help others battling the WC system, although it feels like it’s never enough. I will be devoting more of my time to this cause and to RSD. Heartbreaking loss <3

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