Almost a year ago we took an abrupt leave of absense from the ZumwaltOhana blog. Our family went through some incredibly life-changing events that I (Kathy) wasn't even sure how to put into words. And quite honestly I don't even know when I would have done it because life became such a whirlwind at that point that most days I barely turned on my computer. However, since that time, there have been plenty of opportunities to sit down and catch up and let The People know what has been going on. However, one significant detail has kept me from it. I don't know who I am writing to anymore.
You see, from the moment we started this blog, there was one person we could count on to anticipate, read, and weigh in on anything we had to say and any picture or video we had to add. There was always one, loving, gracious, amazing woman sitting on the other side of the computer from me when I was writing. I always knew she was. Sometimes as we would publish a post we'd say things like, "Oh, Tutu is gonna' love that!" or "That's gonna' freak Tutu out!" In recent times there was more, "Tutu wants more pictures." or "We should probably make a post for Tutu!" It was fun to anticipate her reactions. Even if we never talked about it I ALWAYS knew she was one of the first to read it...and re-read it. I actually didn't know how much that meant to me until she wasn't there any more. Every time I have tried to start writing again I just ended up taking a long hot shower and crying for half the day.
Ma/Tutu/Regina, Zak's mom, abruptly passed away last year on June 20 when she went in for a heart transplant. She never woke up. I still find it so hard to believe. She was always such a strong, resilient woman and had been through so much in her life. So it just really did not occur to me that she wouldn't make it through this surgery that had the potential to bring her a new lease on life! I knew it was huge and there were risks, but I also knew she was tough and I couldn't imagine my life or my kids' life without her.
Regina, was born without the pericardium around her heart--perhaps this is what made her the tender-hearted individual that she was. She cried easily and loved deeply. I know daughters-in-law by nature are supposed to dislike their mothers-in-law (it's just how the world works, right?) but Regina made that completely impossible. She was the kindest and most considerate mother-in-law I could imagine. Certainly, she and I didn't agree on everything. I'm pretty sure there are some things about which she thought I was a complete lunatic! But she was always gracious and considerate no matter what. She always gave Zak and me plenty of space to live our own lives and make our own crazy decisions and she was there to help in whatever way she could. She gave me fair warnings like, "You're married to a Zumwalt. You will never recieve a gift that doesn't plug in." and then gave me gifts of jewelry every chance she got.
She was an amazing Tutu who loved her grandchildren as much as anyone can! I always hated that we lived so far away, but she made every effort she could to see them when possible and to spoil them any chance she had! Likewise she adored her sons and supported them in any way she could. She modeled for me the importance of having really great girlfriends and being a really great friend. She demonstrated how to put your whole heart and self into everything you do. For years I heard about the amount of time and effort she put into her classroom and I always marveled at how much prep work she was putting into a class she had taught for over 20 years. While we were in Virginia for her memorial service we got to see some of the fruits of that labor. That was such an honor to witness. Most importantly, Regina modeled for me the beauty of living for, loving and following a loving, all-powerful God.
"Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff they comfort me." Psalm 23:4
I don't think I will ever see or hear these words without thinking of Regina. I know she is whole, healed and home, and for this I am thankful, but without a doubt I still miss her very much!
We love you, Ma/Tutu/Regina! Happy Mother's Day!