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Sustained by faith and love

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Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record

Shannon Jones was sent home — last Thursday — to die. The last year has been the hardest on her and her family.

“Justin Powell, (a paramedic) has gone above and beyond,” Jessica, her daughter said. “He literally saved her life last year. If he hadn’t done what he did when he arrived, she would have died right then. We couldn’t have made it through all this without the ambulance service and the city of Dexter.”

Just after the turn of the century, Jessica convinced her mom to go to the emergency room.

“She started getting sick in 2001,” Jessica said. “When we went into the emergency room, she asked me to get her a Coke. The nurse said, ‘Don’t do that.’ Her blood sugar was over 400. That’s when we found out she had type 2 diabetes. We also learned that her health was declining.”

Over the years, her body deteriorated in a number of ways.

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“It’s a combination of things,” Jessica said. “Diabetes, congestive heart failure, acute renal failure, a deep vein thrombosis in her left leg that goes all the way down from her hip to her foot. She has sepsis from pneumonia.”

Having had a few years to think about her demise, Shannon has done what she could to ready her loved ones.

“My cousin was like a sister to me,” Shannon said. “We lived on my grandma’s place a couple of years or so as children. We did everything together as girls.”

As young women, they had a falling out.

“It broke my heart,” Shannon said. “But we talked on the phone just yesterday, and everything’s OK between us now.”

Jessica and her mother have been talking about the exciting times and the scary times.

“We have had conversations about what maybe we could have done better,” Jessica said. “When I was 12, Mom and Dad told me that they were getting a divorce. They said I had to choose which one I was going to live with. I got angry and told them they’d better fix their stuff or I was going to live in foster care.”

Shannon said that was wise advice from her young daughter. She and her husband did mend fences and are still married and in love today.

“I was a mama,” Shannon said. “My daughter was the most important person in my life. My mother and my husband were also central to my life.”

Shannon was there with her mother at the end of her life. That experience has informed many of their current choices.

“My mother had gotten sick,” Shannon said. “She had a heart attack. I couldn’t get her to go to the doctor. She’d already lost a leg. I’d nursed her back to health. She finally called and said she was ready to go to the hospital. When we got her there, they said she’d had a heart attack and we had to get her to Lubbock. At Lubbock, they said she’d had a few heart attacks.

“They worked on her and worked on her. They finally said she was ready to go home. I didn’t understand what they meant at first. I was getting all her stuff together. She thought she was going home for good reasons. That night she had another heart attack. I tried to get them to call the doctor, but the nurse wouldn’t do it. The next morning we were wondering why they wouldn’t take care of her. She died in my arms talking about my daughter Jessica.”

There’s no indication that death scares her. If anything, Shannon is facing her end with dignity and love. Her faith sustains her as much as her family’s love.

“Since I believe,” she said, “with all my heart and all my soul in the Lord God Almighty and his son Jesus Christ. I believe that God will take me by the hand, along with the angels, and escort me to the field of Elysium, whatever that is. I’m just going by what the Bible says. As far as I’m concerned, the Bible is the instructions for life. You may not like everything you read, but it’s important to read it and try to understand it.”

As a person of faith, Shannon feels strongly that each person should be allowed their own journey.

“You shouldn’t ever push your views on somebody else,” she said. “Because everybody has to work their own way to salvation. You can’t try to make them see the things that you see. People who hurt somebody because they don’t like the way they believe are doing evil. I don’t understand anybody wanting to pick a fight over anything. If you don’t like what someone is doing, pray for them, don’t fight them.”

As to her family’s response, Shannon wants them to remember her in happy ways.

“I think my family’s going to pack their bags and go on vacation,” she said. “I hope they ride a white horse on the beach in honor of me. It has to be white. We had a horse named Moonpie. He was white and he was the lovey-doviest horse there ever was. He’d see me coming and he’d nicker at me.”

Her family has been in Southeastern New Mexico for six generations now. She’s built a bit of a legacy for herself in her time. She even received an appointment from Governor Johnson to the Eddy County Commission.

“She owned her own hair salon,” Jessica said. “Shannon’s Continental Hair Design, in Loving. That was her first business. She ran it for several years. Then her mother got sick so she quit work to take care of her. When she was able to go back to work, she got involved in the community. Then she was appointed to the position of County Commissioner. Later she opened her antique store in Carlsbad called Dusty Dreams. After that, she opened an antique mall called Guadalupe Mountain Trading Mall, from 2000 to 2006.”

Her husband retired as a police officer in Carlsbad in 2006 and they moved to Dexter. Jessica was living in Rio Rancho. While Shannon’s health was giving out, Jessica was laid off from her job, and then she went through a domestic violence ordeal. She needed to come home just as her mother needed her help.

The family is standing strong, together, weathering the storms life sends their way.

“I see my parents talk about the good times and the bad times,” she said. “It’s been good to look back and see how they made a good life and contributed to the community.”

After the paramedics got Shannon home, Thursday, they were preparing to transfer her to her favorite chair. It’s where she’ll likely spend her last days. She told them she was warm, so one of them took the blanket off of her.

He asked her, “Do you want your robe removed, too?”

With a twinkle in her eye, Shannon said, “No, I wouldn’t want any of you boys to lose control.”

Remembering Shannon Jones will inspire her loved ones to face life with humor and grit for some time to come.