We Remember Kristi

Published on Wednesday, 30 November -0001 00:00
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Monday, Feb. 28, would have been Kristi (Bahn) Merten's 36th birthday. She will never celebrate this birthday because of her untimely death in a tragic automobile accident Oct. 21, 2010, leaving behind her husband and five children. Her body was found along a road near Rockville, lying in a soft bed of grass among brush and thorns at the base of a steep incline. To express her love for her younger sister Kristi, Dr. Jeanni Foss composed the following poem which she included in the West Central District News which she writes and edits in Northwest Dentistry, Journal of the Minnesota Dental Association.

Fall Forever

Ever so gently the fall leaves float down from the trees, and all but one joins the race to the ground as it takes its time teetering along an unknown path. The pheasants scurry through the corn, dodging the determined dogs sniffing their tail feathers. Hot apple crisp coexists with a spoonful of melted vanilla ice cream as a cold bedtime wind rips through the maze of pines and hardwoods. The mist in the morning creeps across the meadows whilst the rust and gold colors mingle on the glass lakeshores. The grass is a soft bed amongst the thorns for someone who no longer whistles, but waits. The symphony of fall in central Minnesota cordially invites all to listen, to partake, and to remember ... fall is forever for you.

Kristi's parents Howard and Terri Bahn, her siblings, and her family, as well as many of us that knew her well are incredibly proud of her accomplishments as graduate of the College of St. Benedict nursing class of 2000. Kristi was a well-loved and respected pediatric intensive care nurse at

St. Cloud Hospital. Kristi has received many testimonials attesting to her skill and compassion. On occasion, she even came in on her day off to be with a critically ill patient. The mother of a small boy that was severely injured in a car accident and was not expected to survive wrote often of the "wonderful nurse Kristi" in her Caringbridge journal. She told of the spectacular responses Kristi was able to garner from the small boy and the hope it gave them when his survival was under question. Following is a quote from that mother's journal when she learned of Kristi's death:

"For those who remember way back in the beginning, Kristi, my son's day nurse at St. Cloud Hospital, died in an auto accident. The news crushed me as she has always been a hero in my eyes. She not only took wonderful care of my son, but our family as well. I still see her giving me that big smile of hers and saying 'I am not supposed to say this, but he could pull through this and in a year from now, you could be walking in here to show us all how well he is doing.' She gave us hope when there was little to be found. She leaves behind a large family, and even more friends that must be in pain. Please keep them in your thoughts for us. The world just lost an amazing, kind, wonderful caring woman. She will always remain in our hearts."

I could site many more examples of the respect and love that patients, their parents, supervisors and nursing colleagues had for Kristi. Dr. Carie Braun, Chair of the College of St. Benedict Department of Nursing, has informed us that plans are in the works for a renovated nursing department that will include the long-awaited simulation laboratory along with state-of-the-art collaborative classrooms, a functional home-care space, and a nurse's station. We were very excited to learn that the members of the College of

St. Benedict Department of Nursing are going to dedicate the pediatric critical care and family nursing simulation to Kristi. Her name will continue to live through and among those who use and visit the building. Kristi's children and family will be ever-minded of how important she was to the members of the nursing department as both a colleague and a friend.

You can help make this room a reality. In total, $125,000. will be needed to build and equip Kristi's Room. Your tax deductible gift or gift pledge will be greatly appreciated. All contributions will be earmarked for Kristi's Room. In a recent conversation with

Dr. Braun, I learned that we are nearly half way toward reaching this goal. For those of you that have already pledged, as well as those that are planning a pledge, please accept our sincere appreciation and gratitude.

Send your gift to the following address:

College of Saint Benedict

Nursing Department

37 S. College Avenue

St. Joseph, MN 56374

ATT: Dr. Carie Braun

If you have questions, contact Dr. Carie Braun, Chair of the Department of Nursing at (320) 363-5223. For a packet showing the plan for the Nursing Department Transformation including Kristi's Room and more information on contributing to her room, call Carl Hoffman at (320) 398-5390.