Courage and Grace. As I learned Kay’s story, I was continually impressed by how she exemplifies these qualities, even as she has braved an abundance of grief and pain. I am thankful to Kay’s daughter, Emily, for sharing with me the story of her selfless mother.
Kay and Norick happily married in 1982. Together they had five children: four boys and a girl. After twenty years of marriage and during some of the most vital stages of their children’s adolescence, Kay’s husband opened up to their family about his narcotic drug addiction. Facing down a grim situation, Kay made the decision to stay with her husband and support him through this trying time. Norick would often have to be away from the family for long periods of time attending rehab therapy or receiving treatments to overcome his addiction. Kay always strove to make their children’s lives normal and happy. She built her home into a safe haven.
Sadly, Kay’s family became the subject of vicious rumors. People openly ridiculed and belittled Norick for his struggles and would even scorn Kay for staying married to him. Nonetheless, Kay stood by her husband and was a steady support for him and their children. While her world may have seemed like it was crashing down, Kay stood strong, with a smile on her face, and showed her children how to face trials with grace, courage, and selfless love.
Just a few years after Norick admitted his addiction, Kay was struck with another huge bump in her happily-ever-after. Her husband of twenty-four years was tragically killed in a car accident. Kay was widowed and became a single mother of five children. She picked up the pieces of her life and continued to make her children’s lives as stable and happy as possible. Kay never put herself first, or even second. She put herself sixth. Her joy came in ensuring that her children were well-cared-for.
Two years after the accident, Kay found love again, was married, and took on the role of stepmother. She opened her heart and arms to 4 more children and has loved them as her own for the past 7 years. Three years ago, Kay entered a new and exciting stage of life; she became a devoted grandmother. Kay’s daughter Emily says, “My mother is more than a mother. She is a mother, stepmother, mother-in-law, grandmother, and anything else you need her to be. Her name should be listed in the dictionary under selfless.”
Emily refers to her mom as “the coolest mom,” as she recalls many happy memories her mother made with her and her brothers. Kay dances down grocery store aisles to whatever music is playing. She dressed up like a pirate on graduation day to deliver a present to her daughter. Once she even back-flipped off a forty-foot cliff in Hawaii, not wanting to be shown up by her sons. If it’s your birthday, you can probably expect a call from Kay’s silly alter-ego, Tina, who will sing to you.
Despite enduring more trials in just a few years than most experience in a lifetime, Kay has bravely maintained a joyful and caring presence in her children’s lives. She always puts her children first and the example she has given them is priceless. Kay is graceful, courageous, selfless, loving, kind, and fearless. But above all, Kay is a mother. And she is Beauty Revived.