PITTSBURG — Caring, selfless and loving these are a few words with which Bridget Walker’s family described her.
“Bridget is above and beyond a mom, her mission in life and what she is made up of is to help others, to be caring and be the one you can rely on when you need someone,” her husband Pat Walker said.
Almost five years ago, Bridget became a mother to their daughter Alaina and a few years later their two-year-old son Gage.
“They adore her, she always finds time to sit down and read books and take them to the park and do all the fun things they want to do and enjoy,” her husband said. “Little kids always have a lot of energy and have a lot of things they want to do and she always find it in herself to do those things with them and put them first.”
For Bridget, being a mother comes above all, and she always put the children before herself, Pat said.
“It is very deep in her heart that she wants her family to be very close and know that they are loved and they always know they can come to her for their needs, worries and their troubles,” her husband said.
Her selflessness is an example of being a “textbook definition” of what a mom is and it extends past her own children, Pat said.
“For her she is a mom to not only our children but to many, being a teacher,” he said. “Some days kids are not having a good day and they are away from home and want nothing more than to be around their parent.
“Those kids know that not only she is their teacher, but someone that they can look to.”
Bridget is a teacher at Lakeside who “leads and shows how to be an example and she is very caring and nurturing. She always finds the way to find the positive in someone,” her husband said.
Her mother-in-law Terry Walker agreed.
“Bridget is a talented artist, with an imagination that brings things together beautifully,” Terry said. “You should see her decorate for a party or her classroom, or the many classroom projects that somehow a good teacher knows; how to keep children interested in learning.
“At Lakeside, the butterfly garden is her latest project. She works hard at a full time job of teaching yet always has the love, time and patience for her children and family. With few accolades, which she deserves.”
Bridget and Pat’s son, Gage, was born with tracheoesophageal fistula and esophageal atresia, meaning when he was born his esophagus was in two pieces.
Within a couple hours of birth the decision was made that he needed to be flown to Children’s Mercy. He was flown off in helicopter and shortly after Bridget was able to drive up to visit her son thanks to an “easy labor,” Pat said. She tried to be at Gage’s side every moment she could, until the end of his stay, he said.
“By the grace of God and the amazing team at Children’s Mercy he began to heal,” Pat said.
In addition to the medical team, Pat applauded his wife for giving their son breast milk, which he had to receive through a tube until he was healed from surgery.
“I think that really helped his body start to recover,” he said.
Gage is now a thriving toddler and doing very well, Pat said, and he does not have any long-term conditions or issues.
“In a time where you are probably your most weakest and most vulnerable and scared because there is nothing you can do to help your baby, her strength really shone through,” Pat said. “Her faith in God helped keep her strong.
“Our relationship grew stronger and we became closer because we needed each other to get through this.”
“There were a lot of unknowns throughout the whole experience and without hesitation for a second, Bridget was there at the hospital every second she could be.”
“Bridget is one tough mama bear,” she said.
Again, Bridget was the rock in their family after Pat lost his father Bill “Dixie” Joe Walker on Monday.
“To sum up everything, she’s a mom to be looked up to, to be an example of what to be,” her husband said. “It is very difficult to be a parent, as well as a teacher, and do all the things that she’s done and everything we’ve gone through this week.
“Since the loss of my father she has just taken charge to help get myself and my mom get through this really difficult time and again that shows the character of her as a mother and it comes wholeheartedly from her mother [Sharon Olivas], who is very much the same way, always nurturing and caring and thinking of others first.”
— Stephanie Potter is a staff writer at the Morning Sun. She can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @PittStephP and Instagram @stephanie_morningsun.