With profound love for those who shared her world, an insatiable intellectual hunger, an unwavering sense of compassion, and a laugh that could fill up a room, Kim Cates lived every day as if it were the best day of her life.
Kim was born in Toledo, Ohio on March 6, 1967 and grew up in Arizona. She attended nursing school at Pima Community College in Tucson and worked at Tucson Medical Center where she met her good friend and fellow nurse, Renee McAloney.
Renee, who watched Kim fall in love with nursing and find her true calling working with children in the pediatric unit at the Medical Center, was also the person who helped Kim discover the love of her life: David Cates.
Kim and Dave met in July 1997, and three months after Renee brought them together, they were married. Secure in a relationship based on love, friendship, and support for each other's dreams, Kim and Dave introduced their beautiful daughter Jaimie into the world a year later.
For Kim, family came first. Jaimie and Dave were the center of her universe, and she was incredibly close with her parents, whom she adored. Her brothers and their families and the members of Dave's family were each a gift to Kim, and she never missed a birthday or an anniversary, or missed a chance to celebrate the holidays with the people she loved.
Jaimie gave Kim a chance to grow as a woman, but also allowed her to be able to play like a child. She loved the simplicity of children, and found intense joy in exploring the world through their eyes. She rejoiced in both the innocence and inquisitiveness of her amazing daughter and saw herself as Jaimie's ally as Jaimie navigated the fascinating but also challenging path through childhood.
Kim and Jaimie were as close as a mother and daughter could be. They shared a common language and could talk to each other without saying a word, and through a hug or a wink or a smile, Kim could always remind Jaimie how proud she was and how much she loved her daughter.
Kim, Dave and Jaimie moved to Mont Vernon, New Hampshire from Baltimore in 2004, and in the tiny town of 2,000 people, Kim immediately began building a new family of close friends. Though petite enough to shop in the children's department for clothing, Kim was larger than life. It was impossible for people not to be drawn to her energy, her enthusiasm, and her contagious laughter. She was the life of the party, and loved to make people laugh, even at the risk of embarrassing her much quieter husband.
But at work at St. Joseph's Hospital in Nashua, Catholic Medical Center in Manchester, and at the Milford Medical Center, Kim was able to balance her energy and humor with the seriousness of the responsibilities she carried.
As a nurse, Kim was sharp, efficient and professional and intensely dedicated to the patients that came under her care. It wasn't enough for Kim to just treat the physical ailments her patients were experiencing; she also worked to help calm their fears and anxieties, to answer their questions about what was going to happen next, and to assure them that they were in a safe place.
In the pediatric units, Kim treated the children she cared for as if they were her own. She knew how to make them laugh, but also how to calm them down, and she understood their pain as if she were feeling it too.
But Kim's compassion didn't stop with her patients. She also reached out to their parents because as a mother, she understood how helpless and frightening it was for mothers and fathers to see their children in pain. She worked with the parents to help them understand everything their children were going through.
And though it wasn't always well received by the doctors she worked with, Kim fought hard to advocate for her patients to ensure they were getting the best possible treatment available. She spoke her mind in a positive, wonderful way, but wouldn't hold back if she had something to say. For Kim, speaking out on behalf of her patients was just part of her job and as important as administering medication or checking vital signs.
On October 4, 2009, Kim Cates reluctantly left this world, but anyone who knows Kim, who was touched by her compassion, her generosity, her laughter, knows that Kim is not gone. Kim's spirit lives on in all that is beautiful.
Thank you to Jennifer L. Roedel, Renee McAloney, Sharon Soucy, and Linda Barrett for sharing their memories of Kim.