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Remembering KateMN - losing a virtual friend hurts too

Posted by @colleenyoung, Aug 11, 2017

On August 4th our dear mentor, Katherine left us. Her son, Scott, sends this message that she wanted to share with you.

I HAVE A PAINTING .. IT SAYS .. “TO TRAVEL IS TO LIVE”. THE FUN OF RESEARCHING .. PLANNING .. TRAVELING IS GONE FOREVER FROM MY LIFE. HOWEVER I HAVE BEEN BLESSED TO TRAVEL SINCE MY 50’S TO ALL THE CONTINENTS BUT ANTARCTICA .. MY FAVORITE COUNTRIES .. MANY TIMES. IF MY FUTURE HELD GAZING OUT AT THE MEDITERRANEAN SEA FROM OUR BELOVED ITALIAN AMALFI COAST .. YES! I WOULD GRAB IT WITH BOTH HANDS!

MY SPIRITUALITY AND BELIEF SYSTEM .. NONE OF US KNOW WHAT IS ON THE “OTHER SIDE” BE WE CHRISTIAN, BUDDHIST, JEW, HINDU, MUSLIM OR WHATEVER FAITH .. UNTIL WE “PASS OVER”. THEN AND ONLY THEN WILL WE TRULY KNOW WHAT IS ON THE “OTHER SIDE” .. DESPITE THE DESTRUCTION RELIGION HAS WROUGHT ON PLANET EARTH. BUT I HAVE EVERY CONFIDENCE THAT AS I “PASS OVER” I AM GOING TO BE MET BY GRANDMOTHER BENNETT AND GRANDMOTHER HUNNICUTT WITH THEIR LOVING HANDS TO HELP ME “PASS OVER”. THIS I BELIEVE.

*I WAS TOLD MANY YEARS AGO THAT IN REALITY “EACH OF US IS THE STAR OF OUR OWN SHOW” .. MEANING THAT EACH OF US GO ON IN TIME WITH OUR OWN LIVES .. SO I WANT EACH OF YOU TO QUICKLY BE ” THE STAR OF OUR OWN SHOW” .. LIVING YOUR LIFE AS WELL AS I DID WILL BE YOUR BEST TRIBUTE TO ME!

I HAVE HAD A FULL LIFE. I HAVE A LIFE I CAN FEEL PROUD OF. I HAVE LIVED LIFE ETHICALLY .. LOVINGLY. I RAISED ONE SON THAT I AM VERY PROUD OF AND ONE SON THAT HAS RISEN ABOVE MANY DIFFICULTIES IN HIS LIFE THAT I AM ALSO PROUD OF. I HAD A VERY SUCCESSFUL CAREER IN AN ERA IN WHICH IT WAS VERY DIFFICULT FOR WOMEN TO SUCCEED .. ALLOWING ME TO ACCUMULATE A PORTFOLIO SUFFICIENT TO ESTABLISH A SCHOLARSHIP AT THE U OF MONTANA IN A SUBSTANTIAL AMOUNT FOR GIRLS FROM MY BACKGROUND. I TRAVEL EVERY CONTINENT BUT ANTARCTICA .. FAVORITE COUNTRIES MANY TIMES OVER .. ONE OF MY FAVORITE PIECES OF ART SAYS “TO TRAVEL IS TO LIVE” .. THAT SAYS IT ALL! THIS SAID .. I HAVE LIVED WELL .. LOVED WELL. IT IS NOW TIME. GOOD BYE.

KATHERINE

KateMN

Katherine — Wife, Mother, Grandmother, Mentor

Back in 2011 @katemn posted a simple message on Connect with “I am new to Mayo online .. I was hoping to find others…” That single post has grown to establish an incredibly supportive and knowledge community of people helping each other live well with MAC and bronchiectasis. Katherine’s relentless trumpeting of the message “knowledge is learning to advocate for yourself. Knowledge is taking back the power over your health care” will forever remain with all the members of the MAC group and continue to echo throughout Connect. Her presence and words will continue to comfort, educate and strengthen to the community.

Thank you forever, Katherine.

Dear members, I invite you to share your thoughts about Katherine here. How did she support you?

REPLY

I was a new member as Katherine resigned her helpful post as mentor. Would anyone care to share what caused her death and maybe how old she was??? I also thought from some posts by others that her husband was also ill……. is that right? I had no idea she was so seriously ill. I’m very sorry.

I rarely post on here, but I feel incredible sad to hear of Katherine’s death. For sure her emphasis on putting your energies into what you can control has helped me tremendously with this diagnosis and when I’m fearful. Her contribution to Mayo Connect can’t be measured.

I’m reviewing some of Katherine’s posts and had to share this one with you. THIS is classic Katherine:

“I want you to start educating yourself to our MAC/Bronchiectasis disease .. knowledge takes away all fear! I am taking the time to write this instead of eating dinner so you know I care about you! Get your fanny in gear .. start educating yourself instead of focusing on fear!! Big Hugs! Katherine”

I’ve been sitting here for 10 minutes trying to figure out what to say. But words won’t come easily. I’m still in shock. I’m mourning for someone I have never met. But I felt her presence every time I came to this forum. She was the first one to respond to my very first posting here. She responded to all my subsequent postings with wise suggestions, encouraging words, or a heart to let me know that she read it. She made tremendous efforts collecting a vast amount of information on Bronchiectasis and MAC that all of us here will benefit from for years to come. She was like a mother hen watching over us, urging us to learn about the diseases as much as we can and cheering us on. I have a feeling she will still be watching over us from wherever she is. I’m holding on to this comforting thought. R.I.P dear Katherine. Rest assured that you’ve taught us well and built us up to face and fight this disease. You will always live in our heart.

I am so sad to hear of this, as I’m sure everyone on here is. When I first received my diagnosis of MAI and bronchiectasis in Dec 2016 I was searching for information when I came across Katherine’s posts. Her knowledge, kind words, and firm words when necessary, have stuck with me these past few months. She calmed the fears of so many and her encouragement to be “your own best advocate for your health” has given many of us a voice we may not have had if not for her words. I hope she can finally breathe easy and Rest In Peace knowing she has helped so many! Thank you Katherine!
Gina K

So so sad to hear of this, Katherine was my dear friend although we never met. She taught all of us so much with care and understanding. A wonderful lady who will be very missed. Thank you Katherine for everything!

My heart is so sad and my eyes hurt from crying. Who would think that the loss of someone I have never met would be so devastating? It is. I’m in shock, totally expecting her to come back after her “rest” to continue coaching us along through our bazillion questions, pulling things from her library, giving us strength, knowledge and courage to go on and battle this disease. I have learned so much through these pages. Katherine, you gave me the knowledge I needed to advocate for myself. The courage to ask my doctor how many MAC patients he treated in the last 12 months – to question his decisions if I felt they weren’t right for me. These forum pages contain more knowledge than I would have ever known without them because I wouldn’t have known where to look and I wouldn’t have gotten the first hand knowledge from others who are affected by the same disease. Knowledge is power and I am grateful for the power that you gave me over my own body. There is so much more I want to say but suffice it to say, you will be greatly missed. My prayers for comfort and strength go out to your family. Thank you for your time, your wisdom, your passion and your strength. Linda

@lindam272

My heart is so sad and my eyes hurt from crying. Who would think that the loss of someone I have never met would be so devastating? It is. I’m in shock, totally expecting her to come back after her “rest” to continue coaching us along through our bazillion questions, pulling things from her library, giving us strength, knowledge and courage to go on and battle this disease. I have learned so much through these pages. Katherine, you gave me the knowledge I needed to advocate for myself. The courage to ask my doctor how many MAC patients he treated in the last 12 months – to question his decisions if I felt they weren’t right for me. These forum pages contain more knowledge than I would have ever known without them because I wouldn’t have known where to look and I wouldn’t have gotten the first hand knowledge from others who are affected by the same disease. Knowledge is power and I am grateful for the power that you gave me over my own body. There is so much more I want to say but suffice it to say, you will be greatly missed. My prayers for comfort and strength go out to your family. Thank you for your time, your wisdom, your passion and your strength. Linda

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Hi Linda, I am in the same boat as you; crying my eyes out. Sending you a cyber hug.This just goes to show what a mighty force Katherine was that people whom she never met could become so beloved. – Terri M.

Katherine was and is the kindest person I have had the privilege of knowing. She gave so much of herself to help others; and I know she did so when she was feeling horrible herself. She was generous, selfless, and inspirational. We didn’t have to meet her in person to feel her warmth and compassion; she was great at conveying that through her words. I will be forever grateful to her for leaving us with many posts of wisdom to go back and refer to. To honor her legacy, I will do my best to live by her example, be supportive to our members, and mention her often. To Katherine’s family: we will all be eternally grateful to her for starting this forum and always being there for us. She was our beloved mentor and we will NEVER forget her. Our prayers are with you.

@lindam272

My heart is so sad and my eyes hurt from crying. Who would think that the loss of someone I have never met would be so devastating? It is. I’m in shock, totally expecting her to come back after her “rest” to continue coaching us along through our bazillion questions, pulling things from her library, giving us strength, knowledge and courage to go on and battle this disease. I have learned so much through these pages. Katherine, you gave me the knowledge I needed to advocate for myself. The courage to ask my doctor how many MAC patients he treated in the last 12 months – to question his decisions if I felt they weren’t right for me. These forum pages contain more knowledge than I would have ever known without them because I wouldn’t have known where to look and I wouldn’t have gotten the first hand knowledge from others who are affected by the same disease. Knowledge is power and I am grateful for the power that you gave me over my own body. There is so much more I want to say but suffice it to say, you will be greatly missed. My prayers for comfort and strength go out to your family. Thank you for your time, your wisdom, your passion and your strength. Linda

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Have just learned this morning of Katherine’s passing, I am speechless,chocked and so sad . I am new here but had the privilege to interact with her, she gave me information,all kinds but mostly courage to deal with my new reality.

It is because of her that I am scheduled for a Bronchoscopy next Tuesday otherwise I would have gone through the cracks of the medical system. The respiratory specialist was giving me a follow up appointment for next January when I knew Katherine was insisting for me to get this test…I put my foot down because of her.

I grieve with you all, I also believed that she was” taking a break” but could feel the seriousness of that statement but I never believed that she she was leaving us .

I want to offer my deepest sympathies to her family and also all the ladies here who knew her for a long time though this site.
She will be missed terribly, may God bless her , RIP Katherine you beautiful kind lady and mentor to us all.

Andrée Lalonde

I only know Katherine through her posts and words. I am a mentor that lurks into other health concerns hoping to learn and do a better job in my mentoring area. Reading Katherine’s posts and seeing her impact on the people she helped was amazing to me. All I can say is that she will be missed by all, including me. My thoughts and prayers are with the family and all who were touched by Katherine.

@johnbishop

I only know Katherine through her posts and words. I am a mentor that lurks into other health concerns hoping to learn and do a better job in my mentoring area. Reading Katherine’s posts and seeing her impact on the people she helped was amazing to me. All I can say is that she will be missed by all, including me. My thoughts and prayers are with the family and all who were touched by Katherine.

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@johnbishop, Thank you, John. Your kind words about her mean a lot to me. – Terri

@lindam272

My heart is so sad and my eyes hurt from crying. Who would think that the loss of someone I have never met would be so devastating? It is. I’m in shock, totally expecting her to come back after her “rest” to continue coaching us along through our bazillion questions, pulling things from her library, giving us strength, knowledge and courage to go on and battle this disease. I have learned so much through these pages. Katherine, you gave me the knowledge I needed to advocate for myself. The courage to ask my doctor how many MAC patients he treated in the last 12 months – to question his decisions if I felt they weren’t right for me. These forum pages contain more knowledge than I would have ever known without them because I wouldn’t have known where to look and I wouldn’t have gotten the first hand knowledge from others who are affected by the same disease. Knowledge is power and I am grateful for the power that you gave me over my own body. There is so much more I want to say but suffice it to say, you will be greatly missed. My prayers for comfort and strength go out to your family. Thank you for your time, your wisdom, your passion and your strength. Linda

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@mariposa, Andree, thank you for the condolences to our members. Many of us are hurting and still reeling over Katherine’s passing. She was an amazing soul. hugs, Terri

I’m shock and can’t believe. I feel I lost a very dear sister that I haven’t seen in a long time. I only know her through this forum, her encouragement, knowledge, and answering all my questions about MAC and Bronchiectasis. Its hurts so much that I know she will not coming back. May she rest in peace and praying for her family.

@lindam272

My heart is so sad and my eyes hurt from crying. Who would think that the loss of someone I have never met would be so devastating? It is. I’m in shock, totally expecting her to come back after her “rest” to continue coaching us along through our bazillion questions, pulling things from her library, giving us strength, knowledge and courage to go on and battle this disease. I have learned so much through these pages. Katherine, you gave me the knowledge I needed to advocate for myself. The courage to ask my doctor how many MAC patients he treated in the last 12 months – to question his decisions if I felt they weren’t right for me. These forum pages contain more knowledge than I would have ever known without them because I wouldn’t have known where to look and I wouldn’t have gotten the first hand knowledge from others who are affected by the same disease. Knowledge is power and I am grateful for the power that you gave me over my own body. There is so much more I want to say but suffice it to say, you will be greatly missed. My prayers for comfort and strength go out to your family. Thank you for your time, your wisdom, your passion and your strength. Linda

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Terri, God bless all of you Mentors.
Although I interacted only a few times with Katherine,these contacts where very meaningful and she pushed me to act to get going with these tests .
Although I was new,I also grieve for her with tears for a wonderful person that I never met.

Hugs to you all, Andree

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