Friday, May 11, 2012

The best in the universe

Take a guess - Kristin Lee Will (me) or Kathryn Bieda Will (Mum)?

The outline of my jaw mimics hers. Our long noses, rounded at the tip, are identical. Our cheeks trace the same chubby outline. My stubborn brown hair glows just as red in the sun as hers once did. Freckles on our faces trace the same map.
I see so much of myself in my Mum. I’ve inherited her profile, and with luck, hopefully her strong will and fearless attitude. Because Kathryn Bieda Will is the best Mom in the universe. From her, I’ve learned so much.
Turning negatives into positives is her forte. Despite facing a battle with cancer head-on for the past 24 years, she is a survivor. She has come out on top of every obstacle she’s been presented, and she won’t give up.  Her will to survive - to thrive - is so strong. Kathy doesn’t quit.
It’s true. Kathy doesn’t quit. And its a mantra I’ve taken on and repeat to myself when aspects of my life grow challenging.
My Mum has been in and out of remission for the past 24 years, remaining on the outs the last 10. With breast cancer having metastasized into her bones, every day movements are painful. She’ll wince in torment shifting around in her plush chair while I recount my latest biking adventure and subsequent sore muscles. “Oh man, Mum, I’m sooo sooore,” I’ll lament to her. Kathy will nod and figuratively feel my pain. She’ll listen to my useless complaints without a word otherwise.
When I’ve dueled the flu or cramps and I’m crying over the phone (or notoriously leaving voicemails) to her about how much it hurts, she’ll tell me she would take the pain away and onto herself if she could. She means it.
In January, I was in a car accident that wasn’t my fault coming home from work.  I had my Dad pick me up from the crash site and deliver me to my Mum’s house. I held my composure (relatively) on scene but knew no one could comfort me like she could. Dad pulled into her driveway and as soon as he parked I walked into the house and made a beeline to Mum’s lap. I’m not kidding - I literally curled into a ball directly on her lap, hooked my arms around her soft body, and shook uncontrollably while sobbing, my frame of a little more than 110 pounds rattling her bones, pressing on tender muscles and literally weighing her down in searing pain. She bore that weight, that pain, that aching in her bones and held me for as long as it took to calm me down.
Because that’s my Mum. She is willing to bear my burdens endlessly to give me the slightest reprieve, regardless of her own. She will rescue me from any situation: running out of gas past midnight on New Year’s eve; driving an hour one-way to campus late at night to retrieve me from a college break-up; delivering food and medicine to my apartment when we’re both sick with the flu; bringing my car to be repaired when I have no time on deadline.
Even when I’m turning down offers for help, she’s already on her way. Kathy doesn’t quit.
She is my North Star. A constant in my life. Always present no matter the weather, illuminating the way for me, never burning out. The best in the universe.  

Mum and I in '88, Baci and Mum in '54 or '55. Even as kids we look the same! And now I'm realizing I resemble my baci! 


  1. Such a sweet post! I'm tearing up at my desk. Your mom sounds like such a sweet lady!

  2. so endearing. what a special lady. i'm sure you've picked up more of her attributes than you realize.