Kathleen Cotter’s daughter, Mariah Arlin, remembers her as a devoted mother who worked hard to make life better for her daughter.
Kathy worked as a certified nursing assistant, including at what is now CareOne in New Bedford and at Our Lady’s Haven in Fairhaven. Mariah said her mother would work 60 hours a week just to pay the bills.
“She gave her youth and her strength just to make sure I could grow and had what I needed,” Mariah said. “She had a kind heart. She took care of her patients with that same kindness and always attended to the person, not just the disease.”
Mariah said her mother “had her struggles with mental health, but she loved with such power that it touched every part of your heart.”
Kathy was born in Boston in 1961 and lived in New Bedford from 2000 to 2018. She moved to a nursing home, The Guardian Center in Brockton, in 2019.
Mariah said she was grateful that her mother got to attend her wedding to Michael Arlin that same year. The couple now live in Bridgewater.
Kathy contracted COVID-19 at the nursing home, said her daughter. She spent three weeks on a ventilator at Beth Israel Hospital in Boston before dying on April 21, 2020.
“I never got to hear her voice again,” Mariah said.
Despite not being able to talk with her mother, Mariah connected by Facetime, singing, “You Are My Sunshine” to her mother. She said her mother loved music.
Kathy also loved playing cards, including Rummy 5000 with her daughter.
“I got a Queen of Hearts tattoo as a memorial because that’s what she was to me.”
While at first Kathy didn’t like Bingo, Mariah said she warmed up to it when she started to win.
Mariah described her as “vibrant and fun.” She was also “loud and funny and she never cared what anyone thought of her.”
Mariah was grateful that she got to say good-bye at the end. She said Beth Israel Hospital let her “gown up” and wear a safety face shield so she could visit. Her mother’s best friend, Margaret Bergeron, was also able to visit her before she died. The two met when they were CNAs together.
Of being able to see her mother at the hospital, Mariah said, “That was important to me. She was the sweetest person. She was always there for me.”
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