Category Archives: Jo’s Journal

Holding on and Letting Go

I’ve found since my husband, Kramer, passed away in June that I’ve started a process of holding on and letting go.  As much as I’d like to cling to everything he ever had a part of, the house, his tools, his vehicle, his ideas, I can’t.  I can’t let myself go there…I can’t let myself do that.  It’s not healthy for me mentally and I don’t want to end up trapped in a mausoleum of Kramer.

When Kelli and I were writing our quilt book, Country Girl Modern, we would spend MANY days sewing together.  She would fire up the computer, turn on Netflix and we would watch episodes of “Hoaders”.  As I watched I noticed so many people “got stuck” after the loss of a loved one.  A daughter would succumb after the death of a mother or a wife after the loss of a husband.  I watched that show thinking “oh wouldn’t that loved one be upset if they saw how their passing affected the one still here”….I thought “that poor person lost themselves”… I always thought oh no, I would never do that, but then I lost Kramer and found out what a struggle it is to not mentally stay in the moment when they were still with you.

I’m doing good..no threat that I’ll become a hoarder (except for the sewing room and that’s not related to Kramer) but I quickly saw that a person without strong courage and support could go to place where they are trapped by things.  As I throw, donate and sort, I keep reminding myself…”Would Kramer be happy with this choice?” or “Aside from being a bandaid to try to heal my grieving heart, is this really something I need?”  It’s really a long series of holding on, and letting go.

Recently Karl mentioned needing a little more space.  His bedroom here at the house is okay but it’s small.  It has a queen bed in it, but would really be better as a kids’ bedroom with a single bed.  Finding space for clothes and stuff was hard for a grown adult man so he started to make a plan to store his clothes in the basement in his “man cave”.  I asked him how he felt if I cleaned out Kramer’s clothes and he kept his in the basement where Kramer used to keep his.  Karl was super quick to stop me and do the “are you sure you’re ready” thing with me.  I was and a couple days later, I did it.

I notified the kids…I told them I was boxing Kramer’s clothes up for now.  If anyone wanted anything, now was the time to get it.  I’d leave it in the basement boxed and in a couple months after everyone had a chance to look, I’d be passing it on the the thrift store.

As I sorted I tried to remind myself that it was okay to keep a couple things…certainly not everything.  I also reminded myself I wanted to keep something.  So..I did.  I kept this stained up old T-shirt and I wear it to bed from time to time.


I have such good memories of this shirt.  I remember the day we bought it.  We were on a long weekend meandering around to antique shops and such.  We stopped in Spring Grove Minnesota and bought it.  He wore it for a long time.  I remember going with him, he’d wear the shirt and other guys would come up to him, read his shirt and laugh.  Conversations would start up and before long he was chatting with someone he didn’t know at all about what nationality they were.  He loved chatting and visiting.  He would always end up teasing me about being Swedish and I loved when he teased me.

Being the shirt is stained, I’m surprised he didn’t start wearing it as a work shirt…Maybe he didn’t because the shirt meant something to him too.

So…I kept it…and occasionally I sleep in it.  Not all the time…sometimes.

I also kept a T-shirt that he had that said, “Sorry I’m late, I didn’t want to come”.  That T-shirt has a Kelli story to it.  We were driving and Kelli was with us, going to the family picnic I think, and Kelli said that she saw a shirt that said, “Sorry I’m late, I didn’t want to come”.  Kramer laughed and said, “That’s so funny…if I ever see two shirts of that, I’m buying them both.”  Well Kelli, as a joke, bought him two of the same shirts.  In the early part of his cancer treatments, he wore that shirt often to radiation appointments.  I always thought it was so appropriate to wear to radiation treatments.

I also kept his VERY beat up old first issue fireman’s coat.  It was his favorite then became his chore coat to the farm.  Then I patched it.  I put it in the pickup and it’s part of my winter survival stuff.


I ended up wearing it the night we went for Pizza at Luna Valley Farm.  It was chillier than I expected.  It’s old and ratty but perfectly comfortable…and “feels” very Kramer.  I love wearing it as it’s oversized and reminds me of how we fit together for a hug…him bigger, me smaller.

Other things I’ve held onto… Continue reading

Heat Mattress Pad

I am a cold feet girl.  The rest of me WARM ALL THE TIME…feet though, that’s a problem.  Also, my foot warmer husband passed away in June and now I’m really in trouble with no one to warm my feet at night so I resorted to this….


It’s a Sunbeam Heated Mattress Pad.

I had tried wearing socks to bed…which I hate.  I’ve tried warmer pajamas, which I also hate so I broke down and bought the heated mattress pad.

When we lived at the farm house the upstairs didn’t have heat to speak of it and it was really cold.  We had one of these there and it worked well.  Here, we have heat upstairs but I’m pretty conservative with the thermostat and our upstairs naturally doesn’t heat as well as the main floor.

So did it work…do I like it??? Continue reading

End of a Growing Season

It was that time…two weekends ago at about 4:30pm I came home from going to the movie and thought, it’s time to pull those flowers out.  It was a beautiful day and actually the perfect weather for some yard work….just cool enough that I’d get dirty but not all sweaty.

Then I debated and decided no…I’ll wait until Karl is home and he can help.  Then I thought no…I need do this stuff on my own.  Karl didn’t want and plant flowers.  Karl didn’t want and plant a garden.  So if I want these things, I have to handle these things.  So I did.

First I ripped out the flowers along the door in to the garage.  I still need to rake the leaves that have already pooled here…but the plants are out and that’s a good start.  I left the blooming pot of flowers.  They still look good but the ones along the front weren’t blooming anymore and looking sickly…the growing season is winding down here.

I am so glad we did the landscaping like this…There is paper and mulch to the back and soil to the front.

Here is how we did it… Continue reading

Latest Doctor Report

Well yesterday Kalissa and I along with Gannon traveled to Lacrosse to see the surgeon about my cancer stuff.

The drive was lovely.  Kalissa and I were both super tired but the scenery was so pretty and the conversation so good, that both of us didn’t have any trouble staying awake.  Kalissa had worked the overnight and only had a couple hours of sleep that morning.  I had Carver and Gannon overnight and they kept me up most of it.  Gannon has a terrible cough.


It wasn’t long before we were crossing the Mississippi into Wisconsin.  I laugh every time I read these “Lacrosse on the Mississippi River…Wisconsin’s West Coast”.  So cute.

As for the report with the surgeon…here’s the latest… Continue reading