Zantui Rose

I did not know how much Zantui Rose had affected those in her life until her memorial service. One person after the other got up to speak about their experiences with Zantui (known as Sally in her younger days), and just about all of them said she was their best friend. Zantui affected our lives as well, having come to live her last six months of life at Heart and Hearth, or “the H&H Ranch,” as she called it.

Zantui had been living with her sister in Michigan and wanted to get back to Asheville to be with “Her People.” She knew that she would need around-the-clock care but wasn’t sure how to go about finding caretakers. She ended up placing an ad on Craig’s List asking if anyone knew of a place for her. A person whom I had interviewed over the phone about working for us answered her ad, telling her about what a great place we had. Somehow we had found each other!

Zantui taught me about dying with dignity, and about how to care for someone in the dying process. Until her last hour, she gave of herself to others. Zan had many friends come to visit her during her time at H&H. She had been a professional counselor to the lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, and transgender community. Many she had counseled became her friends. We enjoyed having the diversity of people coming to see Zan. They enriched our lives and opened our hearts at Heart and Hearth.

Zantui’s last month was very special to me. As she became weaker, I would feed her breakfast every morning. We had many heart-to-heart talks during this time. I was able to open up and trust her with many things about my life that only a few people knew about. She had a way of supporting that I had never felt before or since. Thank you, Zantui Rose, for finding me and allowing me the opportunity to be in your life.

With the help of Dr. Lisa Lichtig, Caroline Yongue and Center for End of Life Transitions, Zan was able to die in her bed at Heart & Hearth and continued to lie there for three days to allow friends and family to find closure. Over fifty people visited H&H during those three days. We laughed, cried, sang, decorated her cardboard cremation box and reveled in the fact that we had been so touched in those short six months by Zantui Rose.

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