When Kathy and Pete celebrated their 50th Wedding Anniversary in the Fall of 2021, it was a rare moment where our mom was the center of attention. That’s not because she goes unnoticed. It’s by her design. As the oldest of five children, Kathy had to step into a manager role at a young age to keep her household moving along. Then going on to have five children of her own, Kathy has pretty much been a zookeeper her whole life. That’s a lifetime of making sure everyone around you is taken care of first. It stretches way beyond just family. Friends, neighbors, coworkers, strangers off the street; Mom always has a story about someone she’s convinced you know. She knows everyone that touches her life and they know her as someone that is there for whatever they need. In the worst of times, she can be a shoulder to cry on or an empathetic ear if that is what’s needed. But where she really shines is knowing that more is needed. Knowing what role needs to be filled. The world keeps spinning and things still need to get done. In the face of adversity or the wake of tragedy, Kathy is the rock.
It may not get celebrated too often, but it doesn’t go unnoticed. Our dad was diagnosed with glioblastoma in 2017 and before the shock had time to set in, we already knew our role was to be her soldiers. What is the next step? Where do you need me to be? What needs to be done? Kathy leads by example and instills in us the capacity to fill whatever role is needed at any given time, specifically during adversity. We knew the plan. We are going to face each problem head on. We are going to do everything we are supposed to do. We may be in a war we can’t win, but we still expect to win every battle.
That continues on today, almost five years later. After Pete’s knee surgery in 2021 and another brain surgery to start 2022. The professionals never think he’s ready to go home. That he will never receive the proper care and attention. These people don’t know our mom and the outfit she runs. She knows what needs to be done and she has the support system in place that she’s earned and deserves.
Kathy has been Pete’s advocate for over 50 years. She’s been everyone else’s advocate her whole life. Our dad deserves so much credit for the work he puts into fighting this condition. His outcomes have been amazing and his quality of life maintained. That’s Kathy. There is so much of life that is out of our control. But for what we can control, there is Kathy. She is Pete’s rock. She’s everybody’s rock.
With love and recognition,
-Tara, Bridget, Megan, Kevin, Kaitlin, and everybody else