An Amazing Woman

I rarely write anything for here the morning of, usually the night before and let WordPress auto publish things, but today’s an exception.

The world’s a little less bright as of 1:15am PT today.

I grew up in my hometown in Northern Nebraska and spent every weekday seeing one of the most amazing women I’ve ever known.

In 1941 she worked in Grand Island, Nebraska, at the US bomber factory to help the war effort.  She was a receptionist, but was still part of the amazing “Rosie the Riveter” workforce.  She worked there for much of the war, contributing, though never thinking she was too big a contributor to the effort.  Her work helped get bombers that took down the German war machine, whether she thought so or not.

Lanone Miles, daughter of newspaper editor of the Holt County Independent, met a young man, in a 1930’s Chevy business coupe.  Raymond Bosn courted her and ended up marrying her and they made their life in the small town of O’Neill, Nebraska.  They had 5 children, one of them my mother.

When I was two years old we moved from Kansas to Nebraska so that we’d be closer to my Grandma and so that my Mom could get help from her.  I remember, at a very young age, my Grandma driving up to our house, just a few blocks from the Burlington Northern railroad tracks in South O’Neill, in her Buick.  She’d pull up, particularly on May 1st, May Day.  My Grandma used to make little May baskets out of styrofoam cups, usually with small treats inside.  She’d put two on the doorstep, one for each of her (then only two) grandsons in O’Neill and ring the doorbell.  She’d pretend to be running away, but just slow enough so we could catch her and kiss her.

When I was old enough to go to school my Grandma’s eyesight had diminished to the point she couldn’t see as well and was unable to drive.  Still, since her home was just a block from the grade school my Mom would have us go to Grandma’s house for lunch, not the school.  We always had homemade lunches and the company of my Grandma, Lanone, and my Grandpa, Ray(mond), my namesake.  Some days it was amazing beef Mulligan Stew.  Others it was her own concoction of a hamburger soup.  During lent, whether I liked it or not, we had Tuna on Fridays.

My Grandma hated that I was opposed to eating fruits and vegetables.  I was a little kid who was very sick, with asthma, and was allergic to many, many things.  As a result, I wasn’t adventurous in eating and refused much of those foods.  Meat, potatoes, all those things were fine by me.  My Grandma would make a cake and frost it, chopping up strawberries in the frosting hoping I wouldn’t notice.  When I’d spit it out, tasting them and getting upset she’d roll her eyes, only to try some other idea another day.  She was amazed years later when, as a teen and then an adult, I’d eat vegetables and some fruits, just because I wanted to, not because it had been tricked into my system.

As a kid Grandma would go with us to their old farm where large lilac bushes grew.  She’d take us with her and we’d cut buckets full of the flowers and deliver them to my Uncle Clarence and to her sister, brother, and eventually to our house.  The home and the car and everything would smell like them and when I grew older and had a lilac bush in my back yard it always reminded me of her.  It was a lot of work, but as long as they owned that property she would cut the flowers and give them out.

When my Dad’s father visited he used the Persian pronunciation of my name – Daood – and she would jokingly say it “Davood.”  Every day, for lunch, for dinner, holidays, whenever I saw her, she said it: “hello, Davood!”  It made me smile, though I told her it annoyed me.

My Grandma was a fighter.  When I was very little she’d gotten cancer and through surgery and medication was in remission for years and years.  Her heart, in later years, was very weak but she continued to live without it.  When my Grandpa, Ray, passed away, I saw her cry, one of the few times I witnessed it.  She had very few moments alone, her time dominated then by cousins who wouldn’t leave her or let her talk privately to others.  In one of those moments I hugged her and she cried, telling me she didn’t know what she was going to do.  But by the end of our conversation she asked me: “how are our twins?”  She referred to my sons, Noah and Sam.  My Grandma loved my kids.  Abbi, the oldest, was always at their house when we lived in Nebraska, as was Hannah as a baby.  We saw them less when I lived in Texas.  As the twins began to walk, Noah wouldn’t make it across the room.  He couldn’t, and most the time wouldn’t.  But in a visit to my Grandma’s, after more than 15 hours in the car, he stood and walked across the room, bypassing me and his Mom and going directly to my Grandma.  She laughed and picked him up, kissing him on the cheek.  She never forgot that moment.

At 1:15am this morning my Grandma, Lanone Bosn, passed from this world to the next.  She’d been ill.  An ill-advised trip to Denver saw her catch a bug that put her in the hospital and have another in a series of heart attacks for her already weak heart.  When I called she couldn’t talk much, but weak as she was, worried as I was about her, she asked me about my kids . . . and “our twins.”

When she returned to my Aunt’s house in another state she seemed recovering, doing therapy.  But she took a turn and ended up needing hospice care.  In the midst of our focus and worry about my late wife, Andrea’s Dad’s cancer and impending passing, I neglected the thoughts I had normally sent my Grandma’s way.

When I got the message this morning early she was gone I felt like someone had thrown another 60 pounds on my shoulders.  I already missed her, not having seen her since my Grandpa’s funeral.  Now I’m glad I had a brief conversation with her at least over the phone toward the end.

My grandma, Lanone Bosn, was an amazing woman with far more spectacular things in her past than I have chronicled here, perhaps incorrectly in some cases, perhaps exaggerated in others.  Regardless, at 1:15am this morning I woke up, from a dead sleep, and couldn’t figure out why I couldn’t get my eyes to close again.  It may be coincidence, but I spent every day with her for years.  She was close to me and my kids . . . she called Abbi and Hannah “dolly” and called the boys “our twins.”

It’s a dimmer world, with a dark shadow looming today knowing that I’ll not hear those names, or her voice, or her laugh as she purposely called my name wrong again.

I’ll miss you, Grandma, and hope you’re finally at peace and out of the pain of this life.

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