The gray headstone is no longer blank
The date has since been etched
The ground has been dug and filled
Nice clothes have been fetched

His mind was ready
His body still 95 years strong
The bedside vigil of family members
Lasted almost a week long

We had all said our tearful goodbyes
Held his hand and felt his tight squeeze
Until at last his grip lessened
And we watched his body let go and ease

Gramma Ike, I bet she picked him up
In her good ole’ mauve Cadillac
“Oh gee, Ike, give me a kiss
Now you get in the back”

The team of dazzling chestnut Belgians
Dressed for carrying a king
A scarlet chariot to his final resting place
A smile for many that memory will bring

We planted him by Gramma Ike
As Cora innocently did explain
Grandkids covered him in pink peonies and sweet violets
Not a dry eye did remain

His send-off, his one-of-a-kind farewell
Was a 14-chainsaw salute, a funeral first
Fitting for a wood-cutting Grandpa Ike
Perfect as was meant to be, completely unrehearsed

Orange and yellow marigolds dotted the dining hall
Gifts for all to plant and to remember
Some made their way to his freshly covered grave
There to colorfully flower until September

The Mlsna songs were sung through tears
Our lead baritone voice noticeably missing
Stories were told, memories shared
Pictures taken, plenty of reminiscing
The sky that day was never as blue
The grass never as brilliant and green
The smell of the red saws full throttle
A love-filled, sensory rich, intense scene

We’ve lost our North Star to which
So many compasses did point
What happens to bring the family together now?
I pray our family doesn’t disjoint

Knowing he’s back with Gramma Ike
Is a comforting thought indeed
I can conjure up his voice in my memory
And sometimes to hear it is just what I need
    Jacqui and her family milk 800 cows and run 1,200 acres of crops in the northeastern corner of Vernon County, Wisconsin. Her children, Ira (14), Dane (12), Henry (7) and Cora (4), help her on the farm while her husband, Keith, works on a grain farm. If she’s not in the barn, she’s probably in the kitchen, trailing after little ones, or sharing her passion of reading with someone. Her life is best described as organized chaos – and if it wasn’t, she’d be bored.