Kate Ellen Nicholson, my beautiful daughter, passed away unexpectedly April 9, 2018, at Texas Falls in Hancock, Vermont. She was only 35 years old, born on September 30, 1982, in Aspen, Colorado, to Marsha and Mark Nicholson. Mark preceded Kate in death five years ago and, sadly, Kate is also joining her brother Zachary who died in 2015. The family moved to Waitsfield, Vermont, when Kate was 6 years old. She attended Waitsfield Elementary and graduated from Harwood Union High School in 2000. During her school years, and beyond, she loved playing soccer, but skiing was her passion. Kate just plain loved being outdoors: walking, biking, snowshoeing, jogging, skiing and contemplating.
Kate received several grants from George Washington University, where she did well until mental illness began invading her mind and took over her aspirations. Always a fighter, she didn’t want this illness to get the best of her, but it did, and she struggled with that knowledge every day. Kate wasn’t always easy to deal with, but neither is living with psychotic, paranoid schizophrenia. She knew her illness and knowing that she could not lead a “normal life” was very painful for her.
Kate is survived by her mother, Marsha VanLeeuwen and her husband Don of Plattsburgh, New York; and her aunts and uncles, Robert and Deb Barris of Boothbay Harbor, Maine, Barbara and Sid Smidt of Fayston, Vermont, and Judith and Paul Cote of Weare, New Hampshire. Also her cousins, Matt Cote and Siemen Smidt. Special thanks and gratitude to those people (and they know who they are) in the Mad River Valley and the Rochester and Middlebury areas who gave housing and friendship and a helping hand to Kate. And many, many thanks to the various law enforcement officers in her many times of need. And many, many gratitudes to the patient people at Washington County Mental Health and Vermont State Psychiatric Hospital who worked so hard to help Kate. You all meant a lot to her.
This Buddhist chant goes to Kate and all the other people who are suffering: May I be happy. May I be free from suffering. May I be free from harm. May I have ease of heart. May I be calm and at ease. May I be peaceful.
May your mind be finally at peace, my beautiful daughter.