|Darren and Regina Fujitani at his birthday dinner|
Release week (for Great Lakes Lighthouse Brides) took on new meeting this week as my friend and Virtual Assistant, Regina Fujitani, became gravely ill. She took flight to heaven on release day, November 1st, at 2:00 pm Eastern time. Her faithful husband of ten years, Darren, was at her side. That morning near the end of a private Facebook group party our friend, Anne Payne, sent me a message from the hospital that Regina looked to be near the end. Earlier that day, Darren had sent word that a new antibiotic was being attempted and we were hopeful it would help. I'd planned to celebrate that morning, which Regina would have encouraged, and then be with her in the afternoon. And I did get to be there in the afternoon, but not as I'd planned for this ended up being her last hours. I contacted our church and Pastor Larry Lamb arrived. Later, Senior Pastor Larry Jones joined us. So Regina had two pastors in her room when she crossed over to glory! And PTL I could be there with Anne Payne and Darren.
November 1st also ended up being Regina and my five year anniversary on Facebook. And it was Author's Day, too. Regina had been my Virtual Assistant and Beta reader for several years. She helped get my newsletters out to my readers. Then a year and a half ago she moved to Virginia and we got to be friends in person -- such a blessing.
Regina was an avid Christian Fiction reader and reviewer. Even when multiple health issues this past year, on top of her Muscular Dystrophy, were taking a toll, Regina would try to keep reading and posting reviews. She was a promotion team member for many Christian fiction authors including myself and my friends Debbie Lynne Costello and Susanne Dietze and others. She was a friend to many people online in the Christian fiction community and will be sadly missed.
|Darren and Regina Fujitani|
In person, Regina was just as sweet as she comes across online. She was an incredibly nonjudgmental person who accepted others as they are. She extended grace and mercy easily. Regina had a beautiful laugh that I will miss so much. She had a lot of insight, particularly about people and situations and she was a good listener as well as willing to confide in others.
The pictures above are from a recent (only weeks ago) dinner to celebrate Darren's birthday. This was something Regina really wanted to do for her hubs. And Jeff, and Clark, and I were happy to celebrate with them at one of all of our favorite restaurants, Plaza Azteca.
On two of our last long talks, Regina and I discussed a book I was writing in which one of the characters "may" die from a serious disease. We talked openly and honestly about our thoughts of heaven, about freedom from pain, about knowing where we were going and our trust in the Lord. Although Regina was having some setbacks, I surely didn't imagine that in a few short weeks she'd be face-to-face with Jesus. I'm going to miss my friend. But I do know where she's at. And her release to the streets of gold where she is dancing and singing and praising God has to be a glorious homecoming.