Daniesha Hoskins’ quintessential stubbornness was on full display during the nearly two years she spent in hospitals.
Like when she scoffed at doctors in September 2017 who advised her family to start making funeral arrangements.
Or when, despite warnings that she may never eat or drink again thanks to the bullet that pierced her abdomen, she employed friends to smuggle fruit juices and fast food into her hospital room.
Hoskins survived with vigor, desperate to live and to do so on her terms.
She died June 2 from infections that had other plans, said her grandmother, Bobbie Joseph. She was 23.
Her family is trying to raise money for “a proper burial,” Joseph said. They set up a GoFundMe page online but as of Wednesday morning still needed hundreds of dollars to cover the cost.
Hoskins rarely talked about death with her grandmother. She was too busy mastering the medical terms doctors used, directing her care and relearning her body.
She insisted that she didn’t want anyone’s sympathy, so she gave her visitors an order: no crying.
“Sometimes you can’t help it,” Joseph said.
On the afternoon of Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017, Hoskins and her boyfriend stopped by his mother’s home off Blue Heron Boulevard in Riviera Beach, Fla., on their way to grab something to eat.
They were still sitting in the car when they noticed a blue van slowly driving toward them. The back passenger door opened, and a man started shooting.
Hoskins’ boyfriend told police he was stepping out of the car. When the shooting began, he fell to the ground and blacked out.
Her boyfriend’s sister was outside the home talking to a friend. At the sound of gunfire, he pushed her to the ground.
Another man was shot in the leg.
Hoskins dove to the back seat of the Nissan Altima.
She remembered feeling bullets graze her body, and she crawled inside the home.
Officers found 40 spent shell casings from three different guns in the street and several spent casings from a fourth gun in the Nissan.
She didn’t realize she’d been shot until she noticed the blood coating the walls, the floors and the path she’d crawled inside the home.
The 21-year-old looked down and watched her stomach expanding, “like I was 12 months pregnant,” she told The Palm Beach Post during an interview in 2018.
She started fading in and out of consciousness.
Her boyfriend picked her up and put her in a car, along with the man shot in the leg. Someone drove them to St. Mary’s Medical Center in West Palm Beach.
Hoskins remembered feeling her boyfriend rub her head and hearing him say her name to keep her conscious. She saw a white light. She stopped moving.
Hoskins woke up more than a week later.
Unbeknownst to her, Hurricane Irma had locked down the hospital, meaning no one could visit her for days. Her family was only beginning to piece together what had happened.
Hoskins didn’t realize how seriously she’d been injured until she looked under the blanket that hospital staff had draped across her. Her stomach essentially had exploded. A bullet had whizzed from an assault rifle into her hip, through her intestines and up to her heart.
The woman who loved to eat was confined to feeding tubes and intestine drains. She lost more than half her weight and underwent nearly a dozen surgeries.
She and doctors kept asking, how was she alive?
“If I wasn’t a believer (in God) before, this definitely did it,” she said in September 2018 during an interview with The Post. She had reached out to the newspaper after spending nearly a year in St. Mary’s.
She wanted to share her story.
She documented much of her recovery on Facebook through live videos and posts. In an Aug. 25, 2018, montage, Hoskins combined snippets of her life from the last year: selfies with nurses, pictures of her scar and images of her dancing in her hospital bed tied to tubes and monitors.
She was heading home.
When she left in August 2018, she said she texted her mom, “Oh my gosh, I did it.
“We did it.”
She would be mostly in, and occasionally out, of hospitals for the rest of her life.
When she wasn’t in a hospital, Hoskins stayed in her grandmother’s Lake Worth Beach home, the same house in which she sought refuge during her teenager years.
Joseph’s relationship with Hoskins had shades of a mother-daughter bond, sweetened by the doting affection of a grandmother on her first grandchild.
Joseph was in her 40s when Hoskins was born. She insisted the little girl with the big personality call her anything but “Grandma.”
Hoskins chose “girlfriend.”
She tormented her siblings and cousins by bragging that she was “girlfriend’s favorite,” Joseph laughed. The grandmother of eight stressed that she loves all of her grandchildren equally, albeit differently.
Joseph knew Hoskins well, in part because her granddaughter’s booming voice carried throughout the house but also because of her granddaughter’s openness on almost everything, though not the shooting.
Most of what Joseph knows about that September 2017 afternoon, she learned from news reports. She soaked up what she could by overhearing nurses and reading signs outside Hoskins’ hospital room.
That’s how she realized her granddaughter’s requests for apple juice actually were smuggling missions. She wasn’t supposed to have any fluids by mouth, though she acted surprised when her grandmother called her out on her scheme.
Hoskins carried her pain in private, even as infections spread through her body. When she was home, she would wait until her grandmother was out to call paramedics. Then she’d phone her grandmother to tell her she was back in the hospital.
As with her physical pain, Hoskins seemed to shield Joseph from her mental anguish as well.
“She would call every day,” Joseph said. “She would call to make sure I’m in the house by 9.”
Hoskins told her she had no business being out after dark.
Joseph attributed that to a fear that permeated Hoskins’ life as well as her own. She never addressed it directly with Joseph, but Hoskins’ subtle acts, like those 9 p.m. calls, told Joseph the terror of that afternoon hadn’t subsided.
After the shooting, officers noted that both the other man injured in the gunfire and Hoskins’ boyfriend seemed to dodge their questions. The injured man told authorities he didn’t want to press charges against the gunman, whoever he was.
Within weeks of the shooting, officers arrested the man they and Hoskins believed to be at least one of the gunmen. The man had been suspected, and in one case convicted, of multiple shootings in the city. By March 2018, though, the state dropped the case. No one else has been arrested in connection to the shooting.
Hoskins would not talk to a reporter about the criminal case.
Instead, she had dreams she needed to discuss.
Hoskins wanted to speak for shooting survivors.
She knew the horrors of gun violence well before she was shot. In August 2016, one of her closest friends, Shania Copeland, was gunned down in Lake Worth Beach by her boyfriend. He also killed Leotis Lester, who had been with the 20-year-old that afternoon.
Hoskins shared her story because she wanted to help someone, anyone, whether by discouraging more shootings or offering strength to other survivors.
In particular, though, she dreamed of counseling women who had endured violence in their homes and in the streets.
“I will never be normal,” she said. “But I am sure I can be greater.”
First, she had to earn her GED.
Joseph said that Hoskins attended but never finished classes at Atlantic High School.
Hoskins aimed to have her own place, and she longed to travel.
“We talked about going here, going there,” Joseph said.
Her grandson, Hoskins’ cousin, is stationed at an Air Force base in Alaska. They wanted to see him, but Joseph, who has never been on a plane, was afraid to fly.
Hoskins, however, had plans to show her grandmother the world, she said in 2018. She was going to get her on a plane, one way or another.
“I want to wake up and see the oceans,” she said. “I got resorts and stuff I want to take my grandma to. I want to take my grandma to meet Barack Obama.”
Her list went on.
“I’m 22 years old,” she said at the time. “There’s a lot of stuff I really want to do, but I got to make sure I’m ready for it.”
She hated to admit them, but she was aware of her limitations.
On Friday, May 31, she knew she needed help. She went back to a hospital. She called Joseph late Saturday, doing her routine check-in and asking for money, “probably to order some food,” Joseph said.
Doctors called the next day. Hoskins had died.
Hundreds of people flooded her Facebook page with posts of disbelief.
Hoskins masked her pain well.
When she talked about her mental and physical hurt during an interview last year, she pointed to her Bible.
“He gives his toughest battles to his strongest soldiers,” she said. “I just got to see what God has in store.”