Katherine Slaikeu Nolan

Katie and Chris at Arenal Volcano, Costa Rica

Katie and Chris at Arenal Volcano, Costa Rica

Today we inter Katherine’s (“Katie’s”) ashes – three years to the day after she left her cancer behind at the age of 33.

It takes awhile sometimes. The stages of grief don’t come in standard sequence like the innings of a baseball game.

In “The Final Time” in Max Coots’ collection of poetic prose, Seasons of the Self (Abington Press, 1971), he wrote:

It takes a little while to know how much of life is death and not to dread it so.
To sense the equilibrium of the earth,
To be at home in time, and take the limits of both life and love.

A person’s death is a private thing, like grief, like prayer, like birth.
I know nothing of that final time, except what I know of life,
But I know I live and in my life I have so many opportunities to die,
For death is many things and times,
Before the days are gone,
But I have, yet, a while, and things to be, and much to do.

Max Coots is a poet and Minister Emeritus of the Canton Unitarian-Universalist Church in Canton, NY. His words still echo today as the family gathers to lay Katie’s ashes to rest. Special prayers today for Katherine’s husband Chris, her mother Kay, her father Steve, and her siblings Kristin and Andrew.

It’s the little deaths before the final time I fear.
The blasé shrug that quietly replaces excited curiosity,
The cynic-sneer that takes the place of innocence,
The soft sweet odor of success that overcomes the sense of sympathy,
The self-betrayals that rob us of our will to trust,
The ridicule of vision, the barren blindness to what was once our sense of beauty –
These are deaths that come on so quietly we do not know when it was we died.

Precious Lord, deliver us from these, and grant us peace within the limits of life and love.

8 thoughts on “Katherine Slaikeu Nolan

    • Mona, thank you. It was a good day in the rain at the grave and over lunch that followed. It was as it should be. There were plenty of tears – the ripping of the scar tissue built up over three years, but also tears of joy and thanksgiving.


  1. Our prayers are with you. Many blessings.

    This am we attended Aeon- group that does affordable housing. They have a project in Chaska underway. I gave Alen Arthur your phone number to call. I’m a legacy contributor. They helped Peter with housing after prison. Awesome group. Worthy cause.


    Faith Ralston 612-701-5689


    • Hi Faith. Aeon developed a huge project here in the Jonathan Association where we live, complete with vertically integrated housing. Very successful. You may not know that Chaska is the ONLY place in Carver County that practices affordable housing as a core value for city planning. Aeon’s headquarters used to be next door to Legal Rights Center. Our paths have crossed, but Alan and I never spent time with each other. Too busy, I suppose, in our respective areas of advocacy.

      Thanks for the prayers. Now that Kay has shed her clunky cast for a walking boot, we’d love to catch you and Phil soon for lunch, dinner, happy hour, whatever.


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