Sunday, September 21, 2014

In memoriam: Katherine McQuade Toig

The world lost of one its true angels this week with the death of Katherine McQuade Toig, RN.  Katie was a beacon of light to all who knew her.

We first met when she was a nurse in training at BIDMC.  She was always dropping by my CEO office with questions and ideas. As a colleague said, "She wanted to save the world."  In so doing, she constantly questioned her role and her place and was searching for the best way she could serve humanity.

Here's an excerpt from a blog she wrote while on a volunteer mission in Kenya, which inspired her to remain involved in that region:

I am uncomfortable. My senses did their job in Kenya. They collected sights, sounds and information for me to wrestle with. My mind will not be the same. Old beliefs and realities cannot accommodate the new information. The process of reconciliation is not tidy. It won’t work for me to come to simple explanations and conclusions. I will need to sit in the dissonance for a while and build new constructs of thought. 

I will continue to collaborate with Tatua. My energy will be aimed at empowering and supporting the Community Health Workers in the slums of Ngong, Ngando and Rongi. It isn't enough to provide mission work to the slums. The solution has to grow from within. The CHWs are uniquely positioned as access points to healthcare. My mind can rest on this. 

A new chapter begins for me here with the CHWs.  

Little did I know that Katie would help me heal after a difficult period I had in the hospital.  Here's how she responded to an email I sent to the staff apologizing for my bad judgment:

"I am moved by your letter and want to thank you for all your work. As for any transgressions you may have had, I feel you are only human and we all make mistakes. As I’m sure you know, it is how we handle them that makes us who we are."

Wisdom beyond her years.  Compassion and empathy that set an example for all who knew her. Deep sadness for all who will now miss her.

12 comments:

Linda G said...

Beautifully written,Paul. So sad,indeed.

Unknown said...

Katie - you were a beacon of light for many. You will be missed by those whose lives you touched. Godspeed sweet soul.....xo

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for this,Paul. In her own words,she reveals so much about herself- how thoughtful she was as a person. She was an amazing young woman who accomplished so much. I am so incredibly sad that she can't go on to achieve even more later in life.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing this. It shows the compassion and true internal loveliness of Katie. I will love her always, miss her smile, her optimism and the true friend that she was.

Catherine said...

Wow, this sheds even more light on what a wonderful person she was. What a totally meaningful and supportive statement to make during a difficult time in your life. Speaks volumes to the type of person she was.

Michele said...

Well said and well composed my friend. My prayers for all of our BI family and for her family whose pain I dearly wish I could help carry for them. May we all remember to carry her spirit with us.

Anonymous said...

As a professor, I learned valuable lessons from Katie. She represented the epitome of taking a goal of the heart and making it a plan of action. A beautiful woman, and influential nurse practitioner.

SM said...

Katie was a beacon of light as a fellow classmate, a colleague, advocate, and practitioner. My heart breaks for her beautiful family. Our world is a worse off without her in it and she will be deeply missed. My thoughts and prayers for her loved ones.

Anonymous said...

Kate, you were the most inspirational person I've ever met. You were a light, a sparkle and a ray of sunshine. I will miss you.

Anonymous said...

I just read the blog referenced above and am saddened I did not read it earlier. So beautifully and painfully written. I wish I could have heard more. I am so sad to not have known you better...

Anonymous said...

Katie was just so honest and profound in her thoughts and poise. I knew her academically, through her NP clinical work and legislative work. She will be deeply missed. Thank you for this posting.

Jessica Daye said...

She was beautiful... I remember when I was pregnant Katies aunt Janet would say I reminded her of Katie as I was super nervous of having a baby Janet would say she turned out to be a great mom and you will too. I'm honored to be compared to such a beautiful person.