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  • Writer's pictureShannon Duskie

Beautifully Created

I wish I had a picture from that day. I see it clearly in my head. The day, filled with pain, sadness, beauty and love. I’m already tearing up reliving the emotions in my head.

The night before, Kim stopped by moms. She thought I already knew, but I didn’t. The decision was made to remove Grandma from the ventilator Friday morning. I prayed, asking the Lord to take her that night. He did not.

Friday morning I drove out to Dad’s. He didn’t want to go. I’m still not sure what I said that convinced him to. I didn’t tell him what he should do. I was worried he would regret not going. I was also worried that other family members might be pissed if he wasn’t there. Ultimately, I just felt like this was a need to be there moment. I simply said, “I think there is power in presence and I think Grandma knows that we’re there.” We arrived at the hospital around 8:30.

We stood in a circle. All eleven of us. Grandma’s crew. Rod, Janet, Kristy, Kim, Kelsey. Rick, Mitch, Shannon. Randy, Amy Emmy. We watched our once strong mother and grandma being kept alive by machines as the doctor and nurses spoke to us, saying things I don’t remember. Grandma, who told Kim not to worry about stopping by on Sunday because she’d be home on Friday. Grandma who had a healthy heart now because of the valve replacement, but could not wake up because of a series of thirty strokes.

I looked around the room and through the pain and sadness, saw so much beauty. How loved is this woman!! Look at what she has created! A beautiful family full of love - even though at times we fail to express it. This is a rarity. We are so blessed.

On Thanksgiving...well… at every meal at Grandma’s…she always made us stand in a circle to say grace. Given that we hadn’t done that with her this year, as we stood there, it’s all that my heart desired to do. Stepping out of my comfort zone, I asked the family to all hold hands in a circle with Grandma one last time as I struggled through a prayer and invited everyone to end with Come, Lord Jesus. Be our guest. Let this food to us be blessed. Amen. Weird, I know. But it just felt right!

We filtered out of the room and made our way to the waiting room, allowing the nurses to remove Grandma from the machines.

An icy snowstorm hit the day before the funeral. The roads were awful. Had Grandma been buried already, she would’ve been rolling in her grave! Instead, her spirit was watching from above, shaking her head in her hands telling people to stay off the roads!! I hear it in her voice, “You don’t need to be out in this weather!”

Our large family - the one that Grandma had created - squished into the first couple of pews. I focused my attention on Samson to avoid eye contact with others that would most definitely have me spewing tears in no time. I barely remember the service but could care less.

Because here’s what I will always remember:

  • The picture of Grandma on the back of the four-wheeler with Mitch while we were out camping. To my family - you KNOW which one I’m talking about!

  • The way she yelled at Bob and Ben when they scared the ever-living-crap out of me and Kim in our tent and told them “I drove you up here and I know how to drive you home!”

  • How funny it was to watch her throw beer cans out of the camper after a camping weekend because we’d never seen her so worked up!

  • How she always had cookies in her cookie jar.

  • The chocolate crinkle cookies she baked me for my birthday.

  • How chicken and noodles made everything better!

  • The KU plate WHO GOT THAT, BY THE WAY?

  • Helping her bake by sifting the flour

  • Swinging on the swing under the big tree that sadly is no longer there.

  • The way she dug out each and every quilt to show us each time we came over. Told us who it was for and why they were getting that one. I got purple irises because I went to K-state. Kim has horses. Darren has horses.

  • She was an endless resource for gardening

  • She so rarely said anything bad about anyone, and when she did, she’d cover her face

  • When you left her house, she’d follow you out to the car and continue talking until you were literally rolling up the window on her while she was still talking. Sometimes I’ll catch myself “Grandma-ing” someone!

I will now stop “Grandma-ing” this blog post! There are so so so so so many memories. Full of love. Full of life.

She passed a year ago today. The hardest thing to think about is that my sweet boys won’t know her physical presence. But her spirit lives on. Through gardening. Through homemade tortillas. Through the quilts we all have. Through the family legacy that she created so beautifully.

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