Marjorie Zantolas Tribute

Marjorie (Bunty) Zantolas

November 1950 – June 7 2020

My mother’s journey with Pulmonary Fibrosis started in 2019. A series of issues that started years prior lead doctors to finally diagnose the disease, leaving her on permanent oxygen and her day-to-day life becoming increasingly uncomfortable. And so, came tangled oxygen tubes, loud machines, many trips to hospital, losing mobility, and becoming less and less independent. The possibility of a lung transplant came in late 2019, resulting in test after test done at VGH in early 2020. These tests were exhausting for her, and still she went to every appointment and handled everything with her head up high. When she was deemed too ill for a transplant, the news came crashing down on us and dimmed her light. After everything she had been through, she wasn’t going to get a lung transplant, and she was now a terminally ill woman. But, because she was so resilient and strong, my mom never complained.

That’s who she was though, my mom. She had been through so much. Her health was troublesome since she was born. From having casts on her legs as a teenager, to autoimmune problems, to joint replacements, to this journey with PF. After all this you’d think she would have given up, but no. Bunty never gave up on life, her friends, or her family.

Family always came first for my mom. She is survived by her mother, her sister, and two brothers. Also, by me, her only daughter. Her whole life revolved around the happiness and well being of me and the people in her life. One of her dear friends said “not everyone puts in the care Bunty did”, and this is so true. She would cook for us, support us in every way she could, and always be there when we called. She was our biggest cheerleader and made us believe we could do anything. I think she made a lot of people feel like that.

My mom is hands down one of the most loved people I ever met. She has a group of friends from childhood that are so tight knit I swear they’re sisters. Keats Island in the Sunshine Coast was a second home to her for many years and the relationships she nurtured with many people from this community shaped so many lives. My mom, the forever girl next door, made friends everywhere she went. She would travel to see them, call them all the time, have lunch dates, go for walks, bike rides, you name it. She was always involved in her community and participated in events and volunteer any time she could. She lived in Port Coquitlam right on the river, and watching the dogs pass brought her so much joy you’d think they would walk past just for her. My mom enjoyed the little things, but also always appreciated the big things. Forever grateful and kind, my mom made everyone feel special.

My mom was a self proclaimed “lipstick enthusiast”. I kid you not, the day before she passed, she was in very rough shape in hospital. What did she ask me for? To pluck her eyebrows and hand over her favorite lipstick. She lifts up her oxygen masks (yes, two), puts on her favorite shade, and says “ah, that’s better”. Unreal.

My mother, who went by Bunty, is someone that made the world a real place. She never hid the truth, but instead made the impossible seem less scary. Even the day before she passed, she didn’t let fear into the room. And that is an incredible superpower. Through her illness and deteriorating health, she stayed strong, resilient, and loving to everyone around her.

I love you mom, and we miss you.