Losing a spouse early in life can be a devastating blow to their partner, Minnesota farmer, Mike Tuinstra lost his wife Shanna on Nov. 2, she was just 40-years-old.
She was a devoted wife and mother and helped bring agricultural awareness to schools. Shanna passed away as Mike and their 13-year-old daughter Haylee held her after she had trouble breathing and by the time first responders arrived, they could not revive her.
Shanna had an enlarged heart which could have caused her early demise but Mike said she died of natural causes. “Our heartfelt condolences to the Tuinstra and Keskitalo families as they grieve the sudden loss of Shanna (Keskitalo) Tuinstra, 40, of Verndale (and New York Mills) this past week,” the Wadena-Deer Creek Public Schools Facebook page said.
“Shanna and her husband, Michael, visited WDC Elementary classes in 2018 and 2019 to educate our students about agriculture and its importance. Shanna loved children and the opportunity to visit with kids about farming.”
The grieving dad and daughter shared a post from their mother’s Facebook account to let her friends know she passed away, “This is my farewell to all you, as written by Haylee and Mikey,” a post from Nov. 4 read. “Hey friends, if you didn’t know I just recently passed away this past Monday.
“The Lord Called me home, [don’t] worry, I am in a better place now with a wonderful eternal father and in a gorgeous home that I am very blessed to have. I will miss all of you greatly and I am sorry I had to leave like this, but I couldn’t pass up a wonderful lifetime chance to get away from this rugged world.
“One thing though, please pray for my husband Mike and daughter Haylee, also my whole family just in general. I [didn’t] want to leave them in a spot like this but it was my time for the Lord Thanks for understanding.”
Mike is a farmer and as he was dealing with his wife’s death, he had to also deal with a full crop of corn that he and Shanna would have handled, but now it was him all alone. “We’re a team together,” Mike said. But when local farmers heard what had happened, they decided to pitch in and help Mike out.
Act of kindness
Local Chris Neal asked Mike if he could harvest the crop on behalf of area farmers, Mike resisted the offer at first, but eventually accepted. Local volunteers numbering 70 including 20 farmers brought tractors, grain carts, combines and semis to help out. “People used to do this all the time back in the day,” Mike said. The crew did all the work for him as he looked on.
Mike and Haylee know their community loves them and will always back them, and even though he lost Shanna too early, Mike is thankful for the time he had with Shanna. “I’m so grateful that [God] waited as long as he did,” he said, “that we could have 13 years together.”