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Meet Zee

Hi, I am Zanetta (or Zee)

At age 38, my world had a cataclysmic shift of its axis. I was widowed. Lost in a world I no longer recognized. Trying to raise a teenager alone. Barely hanging on and desperately trying not to drink the pain away.

My husband Eric had just transitioned after bravely fighting an eighteen month battle with sarcoma, a rare cancer of the soft tissue. He was just 40. Three weeks shy of our 17th wedding anniversary. Six weeks before my birthday. And despite my tremendous faith in God, I was desperately trying to hang on to His unseen hand while caring for our daughter who was lashing out in anger at the unfairness of it all. 

I couldn’t do much those first weeks. And despite praying daily for the strength to move, I could only muster the energy to get out of bed (at my child’s relentless insistence) to bathe and simply countdown the days until it was my turn for God to call me home. We switched roles and my daughter (mini-me) became the parent, while I became the child – eating, bathing and getting dressed to avoid her disapproving tone.

What got me through those darkest days were three things:

First, I promised my husband in our last moments together that we would be okay if he needed to release himself from the pain and go to be with our Father. 

Secondly, a friend gave me the best piece of advice that I hung onto like a lifeline – take it one moment at a time. Not a day. Not an hour. One moment. The burden this lifted was invaluable as a moment was all I could muster.

Finally, I promised God that I would not drink any alcoholic beverages through the first year of grief. Not because I was a heavy drinker. I only drank in social settings.  The promise was necessary because the one recurring dream I had was me taking a sip of something and allowing the warmth of that drink to carry me under the table where I vowed to never come from under until my time had come.

No crutch. No excuses. No trying to numb the pain. Just a promise to myself and my daughter that we were going to feel all of it – the good and the ugly as we tried to find our new normal.

Six months later, the grieving started all over again.

This time, God tapped my Mom to go home after years of faithful service in a body that continued to betray her as she aged. Are we serious God?! How do you expect me to get through this thing called life without my two biggest cheerleaders and confidants? I had always been taught that He doesn’t give you more than you can bear, but God and I were disagreeing on how much was my limit. For me, I was there.

This wasn’t the first conflict with God and me.

To fully understand my triumph, I must walk you through the beginning of my testimony.  At 16, I was a teenage mother. Preparing to leave and earn my proverbial wings, unexpected motherhood forced me to fly a little closer to home. My oldest daughter motivated me to juggle young motherhood with pursuing my college education. It was on the campus of Southern Methodist University that I met my husband, not a student but a visitor of a mutual acquaintance. After a few years, we had a child, a beautiful baby girl who was born the same day that her big sister was called home after a swimming accident in a neighborhood pool.

There is no greater pain than a parent burying their child. It is outside of the natural order. It goes against the plan. I didn’t know then, that God was preparing me to do it again. A year after my youngest daughter’s birth, my husband and I had to say goodbye to our son born several months premature with lungs too small to breathe life longer than a few hours.

I thought I was at my breaking point then, but God.

If I am not dead, God is not done.

I wish I could tell you the road from grief to grace has been an easy one. It hasn’t. From my children to my husband and mother, each loss has taken a part of my heart that has never returned. Just when I thought I had a handle on it, debilitating bouts of grief would threaten to carry me way. It has taken much time, prayer and work to be grateful for the highs and the lows.

Allow Me to (Re) Introduce Myself

Fast forward to the present, and my life is definitely on a different path. The one constant has been my faith and belief that my pain was for a greater purpose. It took years to rediscover my joy. This new life was hard fought and built on tears, prayers and determination that my latter would be greater. Mini-me is now a thriving adult who may show up here from time to time. And, Mr. C and Zee will provide a glimpse of the adventures dating and loving this second time around.

I am not a preacher

But I have inspired others with my experiences to dig deep within themselves to find the tools to put back the pieces of their lives. I don’t pretend to have all the answers, but I do have a voice. This digital platform serves as a fulfillment of my purpose by providing a safe space for self-reflection, growth and inspiration. Along the way we will laugh, sometimes we might cry, but through it all we will grow.

infinite (adjective): immeasurably great

I am so excited that you are here. No matter what stage of life you are in, you also have purpose. I hope that through my thoughts on parenting, coping with grief and relationships, you find inspiration, encouragement or even comfort in knowing that you are not alone. Cocoa and Convos is where we we will discuss culturally relevant topics. And Sunflower Seeds are the passion projects that honor the legacy of those who are no longer here.

Music has always served as a powerful soundtrack in my life so you will also find an ode to some of my favorites sprinkled throughout the site. I also like to travel although lately I don’t get to as often as I would like. When I do, I will take you with me. Fingers crossed we go to some very cool places.

I hope you stop by often. I can’t wait to hear about how you are a creating an infinite life for yourself.