Kramer Day 2018

If you’re a long time blog reader you know our family wasn’t big into Christmas.  Kramer and I didn’t want to burden the kids and their families with “another Christmas”.  With some traveling and Buck having a snow removal job and kids who get sick at that time of year we often had to cancel or change dates.  It was all too much.  Besides for our family, Christmas was more about the church aspect of the holiday.  So instead we started something we called “Kramer Day”.

Kramer day was always held in July on some weekend close to our anniversary that everyone could make it on.  It would have been today.  Here is a picture of Kramer and I with the kids one year ago.

My times have changed.

On the far left is Karl.  He was leaving to move to Texas.  We had our day earlier in the month as he was leaving within hours to go teach in Texas.  It was a long year with him gone, but now, he’s back.

Next to him is Kelli.  She had her leg in a boot from a cyst surgery that wouldn’t heal.  She was within days of finding out she was pregnant.

Next is Kayla.  She was sad as she was dealing with infertility and hoped to be pregnant and now she is.

Buck is in the middle.  He was juggling a couple jobs, a new baby, and life with a young family.  He’s doing more job juggling but both are in completely different capacities.  They are building a house now too.

Kalissa is sitting by me.  She has a new baby and is working to manage home and two little ones…and Gannon is doing really well.  She’s applied for another job.

Next is me with Kramer.  He’s not here and I’m a widow now.

WOW…what a difference a year can make.  At the time Kalissa had just told us that she was pregnant.  Other than that, we had no idea what the next year would bring to our family.  We were so young.  We were so naive.

I think I was the most naive.

Kramer likely had a tumor growing at this very time.  AH!!!  If we had only known.  If we had only known.

I’ll admit, my first inclination after seeing the picture of our family was to look at picture from right to left.  I looked first at Kramer sitting on the right.  See Kramer on the right…bigger than life!

If I looked at the picture that way, the sadness could easily overtake all the joy that happened over the past year.  I’d have missed the new grandbabies…I’d have missed the new one coming.  I’d have missed my joy in having Karl back in the state.  I’d have missed how far Buck has come over the last year.  As much as I miss Kramer….it’s so much more important that I look at the picture starting at the left, not the right.  I need to focus and be reminded of the good first.

More than anything, through all of this last year, I’ve learned these things:
-appreciate the good
-tell or do kindnesses as often as possible
-celebrate that little things
-take time and MAKE time
-set priorities, make sure they are good ones
-live in the moment, it can be stolen away
-fences can be mended

There’s more I’ve learned and there is still more to learn.  Right now, this saying has been pretty near and dear to me.
I have made EVERY effort I can to do for others what the firemen and first responders did for Kramer when they came shortly before he passed away as I never know when it might be the last time I have the opportunity.  I write more notes.  I send more letters.  I do more kindnesses.  I tell my kids and childcare parents that I can see they are working hard.  I sincerely thank people for visiting me.  I be as bright and cheery as I can to the person at the drive up window at McDonalds.

It would be so easy to wallow, focusing on all we will miss with Kramer’s passing but, why??  We all can still miss him yet still go out and be a smile in someone’s day.  I’ve found that the more I do good for others…the easier it is to not focus on missing Kramer.

If you look at the family picture…seriously, look at the photo from left to right…when you do, you’ll see our family, even though in pain, has had MUCH good happen in the past year…for that, we are thankful.

36 thoughts on “Kramer Day 2018

  1. Linda

    What a thoughtful post. Your focus on looking at the photo from left to right is just so true. You and your husband together created those five children and then began the next generation through your grandchildren. And so it will go on. The unit you and Roger had is now different but his presence is still with you all and will always be.there. Your decision to view the world as you are doing is absolutely right and everyone, especially you, Jo, will feel better for it. Well done on how you have thought things out.

  2. Jean

    Even as you grieve, your attitude can make you proud, Jo. I also live living life by “paying it forward”. It creates all the difference in the world! “Kramer Day” will now be celebrated with new, deeper meaning! Your sweet family is his legacy.
    -Jean ❤

  3. Candi

    Such a great post and an inspiration. It all boils down to how we look at things and you my cyber friend have figured it out. It’s all in the perception and how things are seen. You looked for the good and found many reasons that you can rejoice. So on this day continue to reflect on the past while looking at the good.

    Love, hugs and prayers coming your way.

  4. Marilyn

    KRAMER STRONG you really help so many with you life sharing moments. Thank you for being you.

  5. Donna Pheneger

    Jo, your thoughtfulness in sharing your life with us is a highlight to my day. I have been blessed countless times by your entries and the loving and honest way you share your ups and downs with us. Thank you so very much.
    Love an prayers

  6. Robby

    I feel like this is both a healthy and joyful way to live, but also a great way to honor Kramer and the way he lived. There’s a reason, actually probably a lot of reasons, that whole fire crew would do anything for him. You’re really doing such a good job of sharing the joy that is in us through Christ. Thanks for the reminder to share that whenever we can.

  7. Ellie

    Thank you for another wonderful post! Your positive attitude is inspiring. Reading your posts every morning is a special way to start my day. I feel as if I know you even though we’ve never met because you share so much of your life. I’ll continue to remember you and your family in my prayers.

  8. Cindie Winquist

    Thank you for your heartfelt and very poignant post. It gave me pause to think about how I have been viewing life too. I also LOVE your Kramer Day and think it might just be about time to begin a similar tradition in our family.

    I’m saddened that your Kramer is gone from this life, but rejoice with you in all of the good things. They are a gift from God. May you experience more blessings woven into life’s tough spots in the days to come.

  9. Connie

    I agree with Judy above. You are an incredible person, you have taught us so much! I too am thankful that I found your blog! I am thankful that I introduced myself as your Bestie and I am honored that you call me a friend!!
    YOU are Kramer STRONG!

  10. Mary Ann Mettler

    Thanks for the post. This is a wonderful picture and so wonderful that you have it. What a year you have been through. Lots of the things you do are because of Roger and his attitude (he was a special guy from the things you have told us). May we all reach out to others in kind, loving ways. We learn from our experiences and our examples. Love to you and your whole family.

  11. Linda L

    I identify with you so much, having lost my husband as well. Yes uve had a tough year, but yet many blessings throughout. One other phrase I fall back on hen I’m feeling down is to live in th present, as God would want us to.

  12. Joanne

    Such a wonderful outlook. It is also a great reminder to all that things can change so dramatically in such a short period of time. And you are right. There IS a lot of good in that year. Continuing to pray for you and your family.

  13. Sally

    What a sweet (bittersweet) post. You honor your husband’s memory, the past and the future for your beautiful family.

  14. Christine

    Jo u r an amazing womenand u have an amazing family. This post was what i really needed today. Thank you for that. The verse about the trees and leaves is so very very true. I have seen this verse many times in the last few days. I think my sister is trying to tell me something. Her 2 year anniversary of gaining her wings is coming up August 11. Bless u Jo

  15. Lorna

    I find the word “widow” hard. Thank you for sharing. I, too, will continue to do those things for others that he started. Your loss helps me deal with mine. Love to you all.

  16. Jeanie Stufflebeam

    Beautiful post, Jo. You have a wonderful family and a great attitude. Life has taught me if you love someone, tell them; one never knows when it will be too late. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and your wisdom.

  17. Roseanne

    Hi Jo, It has always struck me that a photo captures a single moment in time. Be it a happy or sad time, it is often found to be priceless in the future. Your photo certainly is, as no one could have possibly known that was the last Kramer Day. {{Hugs}} a bunch for you and your family. This might be hard to realize as well, but aren’t you glad you didn’t know it was the last Day? It wouldn’t have been the same knowing what was to come. I love your attitude and I try to adopt that every day of my life. Sometimes, getting older really does make us smarter. Or maybe better prepared from our life experiences. We would like to keep pain and hardship from ourselves and peeps, but we’ve learned that it isn’t possible and that we just cherish them instead. {{Hugs}} again. ~smile~ Roseanne

  18. Cindy F

    The way you are dealing with everything is truly an inspiration. I think what you are modeling for your family is a gift they won’t forget. Today this quote came up on my Facebook memory, “Be the reason someone believes in the goodness of people.” From reading what you’ve been writing, you’ve seen that in others and around the world we are all seeing it in you.

  19. Penny Holliday

    You are so inspiring, Jo! I look at the wonderful family picture & immediately see Kramer family strong! I read your post & still think/see Kramer family strong!

  20. Karon

    I have not been following your post but a very short time. This post is very touching and I can feel the love of family and the pain of loneliness. Thanks for the uplifting thoughts and I hope that you are able to continue the smiles and helpfulness for many years to come.

  21. Donna T

    Jo you have a healthy way of looking at life! I enjoy your positivity even when you are going through tough times! Wish more people could be like you; to focus on what one has and not what one doesn’t have!

  22. Linda Rouse

    Again, with tears in my eyes, excellent post! You have come along way and Kramer is right beside you, you can bet on that!

  23. Kim LeMere

    Jo, you and Kramer built a strong and loving family and it will carry on as new members are born and some pass away. May you find joy in each day and remember Kramer would want you all to continue to be that family that he was so proud of and loved.

  24. Judith Fairchild

    Jo wonderful post. I will keep you in my prayers that this year’s Kramer day will be great. I hope you will keep such a lovely celebration going.

  25. Pat Anderson

    Love this post, Jo. I’ve always said that I don’t want to know the future and your post is exactly why. We know that God holds the future and that’s good enough for me! I’m thankful that your kids are there for you and that you have your three little ones to dote on. Busy is best when you’re grieving…you’re in my prayers!

  26. Ruth

    When I saw that photo the first time, my eyes naturally started looking at it from left to right, reading the faces as if they were sentences on a page. Then you explained how you wanted us to look at the photo, not starting with Kramer and you, but with the children. And I understood very well what you meant. The two of you are the base of the family. Kramer has just gone on ahead to create a mansion up on high for all of you. Best Wishes, Jo.
    Thank you for sharing so much of your life with us all. It’s great to hear someone talking about family, problems, sewing and needlework, and yardwork and anything else!

  27. Jeanne in Ohio

    I admire you so much! You’ve been through a horrible time with your husband’s illness, the grandchildren’s problems and life in general, but you’re still looking to see who you can help. I’d like to be more like you!

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