|The night Grandma died, the doctor came from Pierre. We
children were taken in to see her. She was propped up in her bed, her eyes
closed and her breath coming in loud, rasping gasps. Grandpa was sitting
by the bed holding her hand, and Mama was crying. Grandma didn't speak to
us, and after a while we were taken out of the room and told to stay in
the kitchen. When the gasps finally stopped, we knew Grandma was gone. It
was March 15, 1915.
In those days, the neighbors laid out the bodies of their good friends. Mrs. Bunch came and helped Aunt Kitty prepare Grandma's body for burial. Then her body was put on a door and carried into the living room to await the undertaker, who came the third day. Fortunately, the weather was cold.
I don't remember the funeral, which was held in the living room, and I don't remember looking in the casket, although I'm sure I did. I do remember following the black
hearse, drawn by two black horses, to the cemetery. She was buried there on the prairie, which she had held in awe and some fear all the days she had lived in Dakota.