Five Years

Kelli sent this photo to Kalissa and I and put the caption, “WOW!  What a difference five years has made.”

Oh my word…what an understatement!!

This is our family five years ago.  I can hardly believe it.  We don’t look the same at all…there are superficial things…my hair was short and is now long.  Some of us have lost weight and others gained weight.

The real difference, some of us are not here…and we’ve had many additions.

Life can change in the turn of a calendar page..and even in the blink of an eye.

Six months after this picture was taken, Buck and his wife Jen got a divorce….and less than a year after that, she was killed in a car accident.  Buck is now with Lora and they have three kids.  He went from the married man to the bachelor to the dad of Scott, Lucy, and Lilly.  Lora and Buck built a house and Buck has changed jobs.

At the time this picture was taken, Kayla and Spencer were not interested in having children.  I really thought they might choose not to have kids.  That changed and now they have Jasper.  Kayla has changed jobs too.

Kelli and Jason pushed through infertility issues and now have Georgia.  She’s no longer the newbie at work and is very comfortable with her job.  We’re not working together in the capacity we previously were…She doesn’t have the time she had which is completely understandable…and she’s expecting twins in May.

Karl has finished college, student taught in Houston, then taught in Houston, and is now back in the area.  He works in HR at a company that has many Spanish-speaking workers so does a lot of translation.  In his wildest dreams, he never imagined his life would be where it is today.  If you would have asked him “What are the chances you’d be working in HR as a translator for a large pork farmer”?, he would have laughed and laughed and said ZERO!

Kalissa and Craig have bought a house.  Both have changed jobs…Kalissa twice.  Craig is working at the farm Kramer was at.  They have two boys, Carver and Gannon.

Me??  What’s different in my life?  Well….so much.

My hair and my weight, yep, they are surely different.  New glasses even.  I’m not doing regular child care.

I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer 6 months after this picture was taken.  We thought that was all a bump in the road, but I am still dealing with cancer.

The biggest change for me is that Kramer isn’t here.  I never imagined five years ago, that he wouldn’t be here with our family.  Yet, here we are.

I’ve had more trouble lately on the grief side of things.  I think the shock of Kramer being gone is over.  I know it’s crazy, but YES, it can really take that long to get over the shock.  I’m to the point that I don’t wonder how life is going to be anymore.  This is how it is.  He is not here and not coming back.  I have lived it long enough since his passing to see what life as a widow is.  There are a few aspects I actually enjoy but I’d happily give that up for the old life.  I don’t hate this life…but it really isn’t the same at all and I miss that old life with Kramer.

To date, I haven’t embraced this new life….  I feel like I’m getting over the “survival float” stage and slowly learning to swim.  One on the outside looking in would think that it’s been 15 months, of course, you should be “over it”.  But, that’s not how grief is.  Grief is sneaky.  When you least expect it and your guard is down, in it pops…and you’re back to “survival floating” for a bit before you can swim again.  It’s all a process…that’s for sure.

No worries about me though.  Seriously, I’m okay…this is just a rough spot.

This new life does keep me hopping.  I’m so thankful for that.  This is six of the seven grandkids.  We’ve added Lilly since this but I don’t have a grandma picture with them all.  They are the best distraction.  They came at the perfect time in my life.  I’m just sad Kramer is missing out on them.

He used to always say he couldn’t believe that we had five kids and they all so different yet from the same gene pool.  I can’t imagine what he’d think of the grandkids who are also so different yet have many of the same genes.

This is a more recent picture but here we’re missing Georgia.  It’s from baptism.

I can’t imagine what it will be like in five more years.  All of these kiddos will be in school and God willing, if I’m here, I’ll be attending school events.  Who knows, maybe there will even be more grandkids…we already know Kelli has two coming.  Life has a way of surprising us.

I guess my purpose of this post is to remind myself that life changes so quickly…the turn of a calendar, and things change.  What will our family be like six months from now…what will we be like five years from now?  Will all of us be there in the next picture?   I don’t know…


I’m doing all I can to embrace this new life…and to make it a good one.  My kids still need me…so do the grandkids so it’s time to pull up my bootstraps and keep moving forward.  Some days, it’s still pretty hard…but most days, it’s getting better.

Here’s to the next five years of the Kramer family…may the bad things be few and the joy be plenty!!  The only thing I know for sure is that there will be busy days ahead and I’m going to love on my kids and the grands for as long as I’m here!

18 thoughts on “Five Years”

  1. Judith Fairchild

    More joy to you. Loving your children and the Grands comes in right after God. Hug them lots and enjoy the fun.

  2. You have a beautiful family and it’s a pleasure to see you all pull together to get the things done that need doing. Yes, grief is a process and you are exactly right when you talk about swimming and floating. Some days a wave comes along and takes you by surprise and then you have to float until you can get your bearings again. The good thing is that the waves come less frequently as time goes by.

  3. Jo, have been following your blog for over 2 years. Found it by chance after my dear one passed, and read each entry. I agree, the first year is kind of a blur, then the second year just plain smacks you along side the head. WE received a bonus blessing a year ago named Norah, the Lord knew what we all needed. She has been a delight. She was a surprise for all. ENJOY your little ones!

  4. 5 years well i finished work we added two daughters in law and one grandchild still cant see them at present but hopefully in the new year things will change and we will be allowed to travel around Australia again.

  5. My husband died of cancer five years ago today. For three years grief stalked me like a tiger in the bushes. It would ambush me. And I cried ALOT. My husband lived two months from diagnosis to his passing, but his medical bills were six figures. And he spent too much of that time worrying about the financial burden he was leaving me. I will never stop believing that health care should not be a commodity that some people can’t afford. You don’t need to publish this. I just want you to know that you are getting through grief the right way because it’s your way.

  6. I have to agree. Life can change in a blink. It frustrates me that many people won’t face up to that fact. I think we appreciate life more if we remember that. I am not saying to dwell, just be aware. You are doing fabulous at that. Blessings.

  7. I saw recently on the news that some doctors in the Netherlands have possibly discovered a new organ in the throat. It is apparently a type of salivary gland that is very very hard to find on imaging (which is why it has not been discovered until now). I thought of you when I saw that. I remember your doctor not being able to find the source of your cancer. Might be worth a google and a mention to your doctor?

    There’s not much worse in this life than grief over a lost loved one. Time is the only thing that “helps” but that person will, obviously, always be missed. I’m so sorry you all lost Roger to cancer. Life can be terribly unfair.

  8. Thank you for this post. Often your posts echo things I am going through, but this was really on target and helped me immensely today. Thank you for sharing with us. It means a lot.

  9. Jo, I appreciate how real you are in all of your posts! Here’s something “real” that happened to me yesterday. I saw that Belk had a big sale going on, so I went to their site to see what kind of deals they had. I want to get all of my great nephews and great nieces new pajamas for Christmas Eve since we always had them as kind of a tradition. I checked those out, then I went to the Clearance section. They had some really good markdowns. I set the filter to “Low Price to High Price”. One of the first things to pop up was some screwdriver socks! I immediately thought of Carver and how he loves tools. The were men’s socks and I was trying to think of how to make them smaller or maybe make some bedroom shoes with the tops out of the socks with padding on the bottom. I put them in my cart and continued to shop. I went back to look at what was in my cart. I saw the socks, smiled and thought how excited Carver would be to get them no matter how big the were! I noticed they had oranges among the screwdrivers. I thought that was strange. Upon closer inspection, I saw that the bottle shapes had Vodka written on them. Oh My! These screwdriver socks were more about a mixed drink than tools! I had to laugh at myself. Just know that I think about you and your family, and would have bought those socks if they hadn’t messed them up with oranges and vodka!

  10. I was watching a Karen Brown video yesterday and she was showing her sewing space and what she was going to do with it to improve it. She said, accept your space. You have what you have! Wise words thantcan go with any life event, not just quilting. You are indeed blessed.

  11. You don’t get “over it”, you get “used to it”. Anyone who thinks you can “get over” the loss of a loved one, especially a soulmate, has never experienced it…

  12. So much change in five years and even the last year. It is always fun to hear about your family. Even after many many years of my brother dying something comes up and I feel the loss all over again. Like you said outwardly you look and act good but there are moments.

  13. I have read you blog for more than five years. I loved this post as it put the “family” in order for me!!!! Thank You.

  14. Susan the Farm Quilter

    Those darn sneaker waves! Even after losing my brother almost 50 years ago, they still pop up. The last year has been difficult…lost my favorite aunt, son-in-law, father, sister-in-law, favorite cousin, and two dear friends, I’m not sure how much more I can deal with. Survival float is a struggle, but with God’s help, (and a great doctor who listens!), I’ll get through this. The new littles do help fill up the holes, but nothing ever completely takes away the pain of loss, we just learn to live with it.

  15. Your comment “grief is sneaky” rings so true for me. My sister passed almost 8 years ago and I almost picked up the phone to call her for a recipe, then the sadness comes and then the great memories. Your family has been a joy to watch as it grows and I’m sorry Kramer isn’t there with you to share all the love.

  16. (((HUGS))) to you Jo. I don’t often comment, but this post struck me. My first husband Nick died in 2004. We were 2 months shy of our 30th wedding anniversary. We thought we beat the cancer thing,the year before, and were living every minute as though there might not be a next one. I am glad we did. When I knew it was back, I had 6 weeks, and many regrets still left from that short time when he pushed me out the door to go to work and STOP HOVERING. So, 16 years later, sometimes it still gets me. He was a Christmas baby, and I have had a hard time at Christmas ever since. He never saw any of the 4 grandkids. He would have been a great fun grandpa! I did learn through grief counseling that none of the decisions made at the time would have changed the outcome. I learned to pick up and go on. I learned to quilt shortly after my new husband bought me a sewing machine on our second Christmas. I decorate now for the grandkids sake, and suck in a deep breath at the mention of Christmas and his birthday and carry on. the grief lessens over time, but peaks out now and again. The grandkids bring so much joy back into our lives, and my new husband has been grandpa to them all since the first one was born. Blessings and hugs. Mary //

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