NIMROD - Deana Skov wants to bring a message of hope this Christmas to everyone who has lost a loved one before their time.
Skov's husband, Harold "Tinker" Skov, died Feb. 11 at the age of 45. Tinker and another man, Douglas Amundson, 62, were unloading round hay bales at the Skov's home near Nimrod when the bales came off the trailer and rolled on top of the men, killing them both.
No one would have blamed Deana and her son, Logan, 15, for taking time to come to grips with Tinker's death. But a few days after the accident, Deana and Logan had a talk and decided they wouldn't let the tragedy consume their lives.
Instead, they decided to persevere.
Deana Skov separated a cow from the herd at her family ranch near Nimrod. Since the death of her husband, Tinker, in February, Deana and her son, Logan, have carried on their cattle operation in the traditional manner favored by Tinker. Brainerd Dispatch/Steve Kohls» Purchase reprints of this photo.
"It's just a different kind of normal now. We figured out a way to make a new normal for ourselves," Deana said at her home near Nimrod.
"We decided we weren't going to ask why. We never questioned God on other things and we're not going to question him now. This is a part of what he has planned for us. We're going to take it and we're going to find the good in it. With everything that happens that hurts, there are blessings that come from it. Everybody just needs to be thankful for the things they have. For every bad thing that happens there are probably 101 other reasons to be thankful."
That's the way Tinker would have wanted it, Deana's sister, Cindy Spilman said.
"He wouldn't have wanted you (Deana) and Logan to be down on yourselves. That was not Tinker," Spilman said. "He was out there living life every day."
Deana Skov of Nimrod recently chatted about life after the death of her husband, Harold "Tinker" Skov, in February. Tinker died after round hay bales fell off of a trailer and onto him and another man at the Skov's River Ranch. Brainerd Dispatch/Steve Kohls» Purchase reprints of this photo.
And Tinker was a larger-than-life character, Deana said. He had a big personality and would strike up a conversation with anyone. He was quick-witted, had a laugh that could make others laugh and was well known not only in Wadena County but throughout the state through his job as a pipe layer.
Deana said Tinker was a local celebrity of sorts. When he died, friends and family members from across the state were in touch with his family and his funeral drew a large crowd.
"There weren't many around here who didn't know him," Deana said. "Maybe they all didn't have a great fondness for him but I don't think there was anybody who didn't like him."
There have been some adjustments the Skov family has had to make. While Deana and Logan have always had chores and have helped tend the cattle and horses, the work is now theirs alone. Logan has learned to operate the snowplow and Deana has taken on the task of decision-maker when it comes to the herd - all in addition to her job as Wadena County planning and zoning administrator and parks director.
Tinker Skov, in a photo provided by his family showing him preparing to work cattle during a branding day in Backus, died Feb. 11 after round hay bales stacked on a trailer fell onto him and another man at Skov's rural Nimrod ranch.
Deana said she and Logan were always close and with Tinker's death the two are now closer, a good team that is carrying on the family ranch in the traditional way Tinker would have wanted. She said physically and emotionally she wouldn't be able to do so without Logan's help.
A close family, good friends and a strong faith in God also have helped her stay strong.
"I pray every day and the strength you get is not something you have inside of you it's something you're given. It's a gift," Deana said. "People say to me, 'You should pray with an open heart and an open mind and believe what you're praying for is going to happen.' That is positive. That's what gets me through every day."
Tinker always is on the minds of family and friends, Deana said, and is present through myriad stories that are always part of family conversations. Deana likes talking about her husband, though she realizes some people still have trouble speaking to her about Tinker.
"I don't know whether they think it makes me uncomfortable but it doesn't," Deana said. "It keeps him alive."
Deana Skov (left); her son's friend, Ashlee Carlson; and her son, Logan, rode horses from their ranch to a nearby pasture in rural Nimrod. The Skovs own 168 cows and 14 bulls. Brainerd Dispatch/Steve Kohls» Purchase reprints of this photo.
Optimistic isn't the word Deana uses to describe where she and Logan are at in life. She said they are at a peaceful place because they had no regrets. They know Tinker loved his family and was loved by his family.
Joyful is the word Deana prefers. That's how the Skov family has always been, she said.
"Joyful is a word I've used quite a bit in the last several months. It's a word I don't think gets used often enough," Deana said. "When you yourself make a conscious effort to be positive and joyful, it's a ripple effect on other people. We were like that before, so why would we stop being that way now just because we've suffered a loss?"
MATT ERICKSON may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5857.
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