March 4, 2016

Corina Teresa Bustoz March 23, 1969 - February 12, 2016

Corina & her favorite dog, Chazz
I wrote this for the celebration of life dinner we had last week with some of my mom's closest friends - it was truly beautiful (thanks to some awesome friends & Jason's parents!) and I think it honored and celebrated her well. In honor of my beautiful mama's 3 week heaven anniversary, I thought I'd share it with you:

Corina was born on March 23, 1969 to Gerald and Betty Orsini in Arizona and was raised in the valley with her older sisters; Laura and half sister, Annie. She was a good student, a talented athlete, and loved by her friends.

In 1991, she gave birth to her only child, me, Samantha Rose Wood. She was a young woman when she became a mom (and a single parent just a couple years later) but her age didn’t stop her from parenting intentionally, being present, and sacrificing selflessly. I feel truly lucky to have had such a wonderful human as a mother. I know I’m biased, but I think she’s the best :)

Corina worked as an administrator for several years at my school, Khalsa Montessori and loved being a part of the community there. She was very active and regularly hiked with friends, went camping, and played in a co-ed softball league until just a few years ago. She cherished her friends and loved to laugh and be silly with them – something not everyone got to see. Her work ethic and drive were unmatched and in a few short years she went from receptionist at Triple R Behavioral Health to Director of Operations and was a highly valued part of their team. She spoke often and fondly of several of her coworkers and I know she enjoyed getting to work with them.

As they got older, she became the sole caregiver of both of her parents and we moved into their home in the early 2000s. She cared for her father until his passing in 2005 from prostate cancer and continued caring for her mother who had Alzheimer’s until she passed away a few years later. I’m continually amazed at her selflessness during those years and am forever thankful to have watched her dedication and love in action.

A few years later, my dad, David, became ill with heart disease and having no other family on this side of the country, my mom again gave selflessly for several years. With the help of home hospice, he passed away in her home in May of 2013, the weekend before I graduated from Texas Christian University. My mom proudly attended graduation and I moved home a few months later.

In October 2014, Corina remarried to Matthew Bustoz - their vows were beautiful. My mom talked often about how thankful she was to have Matt in her life. Most of all, she loved his faith in God and was grateful for the way he taught her to read and cherish the Bible. They could talk for hours on end with no distractions and she loved his desire to love her well.

Over the next couple months, my mom expressed some pain and discomfort in her lower abdomen and on Christmas Eve 2014, she was diagnosed with advanced cervical cancer. Her medical treatment options were limited and Corina began the Gerson Diet, a regimented naturopathic juicing diet along with enemas and several supplements that aim at detoxifying the body, allowing the body to heal itself. She continued with juicing and several other natural treatments, eating a fully organic, vegan, gluten-free, and sugar-free diet, and avoiding any type of pain medicine for about a year.

About seven weeks ago, her pain grew immensely and we took her to the hospital where we learned that her cancer had spread throughout her abdomen and liver. Hearing the news was heartbreaking and something none of us were truly prepared for but my mom was truly graceful. She reassured us she was confident in her decisions to that point and was unafraid of death because of her faith in God and heaven.

She received palliative radiation in the hospital and after a weeklong stay we prepared for her to come home with the help of Hospice of the Valley. For the first time she began taking low dose pain killers as well as high dosages of Rick Simpson Oil, “extremely potent decarboxylated extracts produced from strong sedative Indica strains, which have THC levels in the 90% range.” This Rick Simpson Oil allowed her to get pain relief without the excruciating side effects of narcotics and I cannot express how thankful we are for it. We watched her sleep through the night for the first time in months and she expressed that her nausea, pain, and anxiety were all significantly lower, if not gone completely.

Over the next couple weeks, her body began to show signs of slowing down. I stopped working and Matthew continued to care for her and sit by her side. On the afternoon of February 12, her breathing significantly slowed down and with both of us by her side, saying “I love you”, she took her last breath.

She had already arranged everything herself and didn’t want a service or a burial. She was cremated and her remains have been split between a couple small keepsakes and a birdbath that will sit in my garden for years to come.

To be honest, brokenhearted doesn’t quite cover it, but I have great joy in knowing my mom is dancing in a healthy new body in heaven with Jesus, and for that I am so grateful. We are saddened here on earth because we miss her and I’m not sure what life will look like without my beautiful mother in it but I will continue to trust God and do my best to honor my sweet mom.

Want to do the same? A few ideas… Live intentionally and care for those around you, take up meditation, yoga, or something else that feeds your soul and calms you, give up your microwave, eat organic, and lastly, something she expressed often – please go to the doctor. Get checked out and be proactive about your health because the people in your life care deeply for you.

Corina was generous, kind, gentle, and fun. Thank you for your continued words of support, thoughts, prayers, flowers, and love. Thank you for coming to celebrate a life well lived.