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"She truly was magnificent!" Ree Drummond wrote in a moving tribute after the death of her beloved mother-in-law, Nan Drummond, in May.
On Saturday's episode of "The Pioneer Woman," the Drummond family will honor their late "Grammie" with a feast that Nan would have loved, Ree announced in a heartwarming blog post on Thursday.
Around Mother's Day, the Drummond family discovered that their beloved Grammie had terminal cancer. Ree and her husband Ladd decided to proceed with filming the upcoming season of "The Pioneer Woman," expecting to finish up before Nan's condition worsened, which they assumed would not be until summer's end.
"But as it turned out, Grammie was on her own timeline," Ree wrote. "It was as if once she knew the fight was over, she allowed herself to surrender and let it all go. She never did like to waste time."
On May 24, Nan passed away. She was 74.
"Right after Nan died, Ladd, his brother Tim, the kids, and our kind cowboys threw themselves into sprucing up our family cemetery in preparation for her funeral," Ree wrote. "It’s how country folks deal with grief — they pick up a welding torch. "
Ree said when she told the filming crew that Friday morning, who had gotten to know Nan through many days filming and having meals together on the ranch, it was a shock to everyone. But the shock and grief were churned into something wonderful — the way pioneer women like she and Nan might churn butter into berry pie.
"We all wanted the ranch, the homestead, and the cemetery to look beautiful, for all the extended family that would be coming in … but especially for Nan. She loved the ranch, and she loved the creek behind the cemetery. Her oldest son was buried there, so it was always a special place for her," Ree wrote.
"We were all working at the cemetery, and we have a family lunch together. It’s sad, but it’s real. And we all held ourselves together pretty well," she continued.
Rather than pretend they hadn't just lost Ladd's mother, the children's grandmother and Ree's dear friend and mother-in-law, the family decided to pay homage to Nan on the air.
On Saturday's episode of "The Pioneer Woman," Ree will prepare a lunch of Nan's favorites, including a build-your-own BLT bar using heirloom tomatoes and homemade mayo. It will also showcase Nan's mother's pickle recipe, Nan's blackberry cobbler and a watermelon salad with feta.
Ree expressed her gratitude for how generous and patient her production crew, Pacific, was during filming. The Drummonds never felt rushed to film and the whole crew came to the house after the funeral and even brought food to Nan's husband, Chuck.
"It was a surreal situation — a collision of filming and life," Ree wrote.
"The Pioneer Woman" airs on Saturday at 10 a.m. EST on Food Network.