Lights and Sirens

On LAST Friday night at about 7:30pm Kramer was still with us.  The fire department and first responders ended up at our house.  No worries…no fire.  No emergency.  It was just a visit.

The crews brought the trucks coming in lights and sirens.  They all wanted a chance to say goodbye to Kramer while he was still with us.  It was so bittersweet.  I can’t think of any better word than bittersweet.


Kramer was good enough to get outside and visit but ended up needing to come into the house.  I so admire anyone who can come like this and say goodbye to the person who is dying.  That all of these people could do this really should be of no surprise to me….they are the brave of our community.

I can’t begin to tell you all how meaningful this was to Kramer and our whole family.  There were some tears…but not a lot.  There were many words of support…many words of well wishes.

Some brought their families…a few other people in town who we are close to came too.


When a person is dying at a relatively young age…and they know they are dying, this is the nicest tribute.

Our family has described this event as a living wake or visitation.  

How much more meaningful is it that the wonderful stories people have and remember are shared with him rather than only shared with the family after death.


I’d be lying if I didn’t say I shed a few tears this night.  These people have meant so much to our family….and they are sticking with us right to the end.

Yesterday was funeral day for us.  The firemen and first responders will again be at our side as we lay Kramer to rest.  They are truly Waucoma’s finest.  Kramer was so happy to count them all as friends.

35 thoughts on “Lights and Sirens

  1. Candi

    I thought of you many times yesterday wondering how you were holding up. Said more than one prayer giving you and the family strength during the celebration. I’m so happy Kramer was able to visit with friends. Still holding you up in prayer.
    Love, hugs and prayers coming your way.

  2. Sally

    This is what it’s all about. So very thankful the party began while Kramer was here to enjoy it. Thank you so much, Jo, for sharing this. Keep doing the best you can.

  3. LaNan Eldridge

    A very moving tribute to Kramer and your family. It’s obvious you are all loved by your community. And that’s what small town Iowa is about!

  4. Denise Briese

    My thoughts are with you all the way from florida if i could have been there i would have thats how much your story has meant to me..updated my family everyday like your an old friend. I know this is so hard for you i am honestly amazed how your keeping us informed still thank you

  5. Linda Hodges

    Lovely tribute Jo. So great that Kramer could see how much people thought of him. He was certainly able to go out with happy memories of you all.
    Love and hugs to you from the UK.

  6. Elizabeth V K

    How wonderful and special and the photos will hold lots of memories. Keeping all the family in prayers as you begin a different phase of life.

  7. Donna Pheneger

    Truly a blessing to you and your family and a wonderful way to show their love and respect for a man they served with.
    Love prayer and blessings to you

  8. Robby

    What a great show of love and support. I’ve been to a couple of celebration of life services that were held while the person was well enough to share in the stories and love of the event. What a meaningful time. So glad Kramer’s friends knew him well enough to know he’d love to see them one more time. Thinking of you all as you begin this next chapter.

  9. Phyllis Singler

    What a beautiful gathering and amazing that Kramer participated. You are all truly blessed. You are in my thoughts. Many more blessings

  10. Toni Wood

    Like others have said, I, too, was thinking about you all of yesterday. This tribute from the first responders was just the best though! Life moves on and I feel sure the entire Kramer clan will be fine. Waucoma will see to that.

  11. Kim J LeMere

    I agree that visiting with a dying person is difficult but it does mean so much to that person and their families and I have discovered that it eases my soul with there passing to know that I went and said our good byes. I love that the firemen made this a big social call of love from them to Kramer and his family. Small towns are the best at this. Embrace it and may you find strength for the days that lie ahead. Keeping all of you in my prayers for comfort at this difficult time.

  12. Linette

    It is so wonderful to hear what a terrific supportive community that you have. Just so touching. Mr. Kramer must have made such a positive impact on everyone that knew him. I am so sorry that you lost him and am grateful for your strength to share all this with us.

  13. Jill Klop

    Thanks again for sharing such a heartfelt post. It’s good to hear how these things help both you, Kramer and the family. I’m going to try and remember and apply it to my life if I’m ever in a situation where I can help a family out.

  14. Vicki

    Thank you for sharing this special moment. Such a blessing that Kramer was able to enjoy the gathering of the community that loves and respects him. Continued prayers for the Kramer family .

  15. Sheila

    Thank you for sharing this bittersweet moment… a perfect moment for all of you. Prayers continue.

  16. Angela

    What an awesome tribute to Kramer and your family! I certainly agree that it is so much better to be hearing those precious stories from friends during a special time, gathered around your precious loved one. Praying for comfort, strength and peace today. Kramer’s suffering has ended and great is his reward. Blessings for the days ahead.

  17. Marilyn

    What a wonderful celebration of life..Roger’s. Grateful to you for being strong and sharing this extraordinary journey with us..God bless you and your family and the community as you continue on the journey.

  18. Sally Boyer

    Oh Jo, that was a wonderful, meaningful event for all of you. My thoughts and prayers are with you. What an amazing family and group of friends you have.

  19. Sheppard Waddell Morrison

    These angels do rush in where others fear to tread. Your community is a shining example of what people should be. You all work at this; it doesn’t come without work and caring. Love and respect to you.

  20. Diana

    What a special thing to do for Kramer and the family. May God be with you and your family from this day forward

  21. Elle

    I am so grateful to all of these men and women who weren’t afraid to come say goodbye. A wonderful tribute to Kramer’s relationship with each of them. God Bless each and every one who blessed the Kramer family with their love and their presence in the moments.

  22. Ellie

    What a powerful tribute! You and Kramer are loved and deeply respected in your community.

  23. Marianne Barta

    What a wonderful tribute to Kramer. So very sorry — and continued prayers for your family

  24. Nancy L Fratz

    After reading your amazing story, I made a promise to myself that I will always go visit anyone that I care about when they are sick or leaving, as you so gently put it. Sometimes it’s so hard to find the words but I see how important it is to the person leaving and their family. And now I realize that it doesn’t matter what is said, a simple Goodbye is fine. Just making the effort to visit is the best thing you can do to help the family. God bless your family.

  25. Donna in Texas

    Thank you for sharing this moment with us. I agree with Nancy, this gives us reason to reach out and share while we can. You are teaching us how we can be a blessing to others in hard times. Will continue to life you all up in prayer.

  26. Christi

    My thoughts and prayers are with all of you. Such a roller coaster year. New life and the ending of a life here on earth. “Goodnight sweet Prince. May flights of Angels sing thee to thy rest.”

  27. Susan the Farm Quilter

    I’m so glad all Kramer’s fire buddies came over to see him last Friday. It is a good reminder for all of us to do the same! Keeping you all in my prayers.

  28. Nancy A

    Oh, Jo, how wonderful! This is truly beautiful and good for all involved — you and your family but also the 1st responders who were able to be there.

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