Party Day

Even though funerals are often thought of as sad times…


…our family is trying really hard to look at today, the day we lay Kramer to rest, as a party day. We keep telling Carver and Scotty that we are having a party for Grandpa.

In the photo above the flag at the fire station here in town is being flown at half staff.

The fire department and first responders are taking on a big part of the funeral today.  I’ll see if I can get some pictures of it all to share with you.  We couldn’t be more impressed with the outpouring of love that they have sent out to our family.

All the fire trucks and rescue squads were cleaned and polished.


We got the event center all ready yesterday for the party…and yes, it will be party.  Kramer wanted it that way and that’s what we intend to try to do.  He was a big guy with a big personality and deserves a big send off.

Kramer and I were both from southern Minnesota and wake/viewings were different than they are here in Iowa.  In Iowa there are often lines of people snaking around of people who were waiting to give their condolences to the family.  We have been in lines that are an hour or more long.  The family receiving the visitors were typically in a line along the casket.  Visitors have to great each family member even if they don’t them.  It’s very respectful but can be a little bit awkward.

In Minnesota, at least at the funerals we attended, there seemed to be more of a relaxed atmosphere.  The family might have a couple people at the casket but the rest of the family mingled….more like at a wedding when the parents of the bride and groom mingle.  There isn’t a line of family that all must be greeted. This is more the style that Kramer liked…and that’s what we are attempting to do tomorrow.  Our family will be out and around mingling.  People can find us and pass along their condolences but it will be much more of a party atmosphere.  Being the burial will have already happened and there is no casket to attend, we are hoping that we might be able to achieve more of a party atmosphere.

We’ll see.  Either way…We’re going to give him the biggest send off we can.  Sure there will be tears but our hope is that there are many more moments filled with joy and remembrance.

49 thoughts on “Party Day

  1. Arrowhead Gramma

    My prayers will be with the entire Kramer family tomorrow. May God bless each of you in a special way and know that Kramer will be watching over his family with pride and love.

  2. Sally

    It sounds truly wonderful! How nice that as you have been out and about around town, you see the lowered flag and other signs of people getting ready to pay their respects for Kramer. I hope this difficult day goes as well as it can. I will be thinking about you. Make Kramer proud!!

  3. Gloria

    My thoughts will be with you and the family today. May it be a real Celebration of a life of love for his family, friends, colleagues and Community..

  4. Candi

    My thoughts and prayers will be with you at the party. Roger will be there in spirit and a nudge and a wink when needed to get you through.

    Love, hugs and prayers coming your way.

  5. Penny Holliday

    I think your plans for a party are wonderful ~ a true celebration of life! Keeping the Kramers in my prayers & sending hugs ~

  6. Judith Fairchild

    What a great way to remember and share your love for your husband. That’s what we do in our family.

  7. Ana Sweet

    We just helped Mom plan what she would want and a party for her friends is exactly what she wanted. Sending a big hug and if I had been anywhere near, it would have been a privilege to meet you all and mingle with the wonderful people that will be at the celebration.

  8. Donna Pheneger

    I think your plans are perfect. What a way to send him off as he joins family and friends in Heaven with our Lord and Father. Will be thinking of you and praying for you.

  9. Melanie

    That sounds like the way we do things. We call it an Irish funeral. We celebrate the life rather than mourn the death.
    My prayers are with your family today.

  10. Donna Weeks

    The family plan for a celebration is a great way to honor and remember a remarkable man.

  11. Toni Wood

    I like your party so much better! My entire family absolutely detest funerals for all the reasons you mentioned but this send off for Kramer is wonderful. How wonderful the fire dept and First Responders are so involved. Hugs to all.

  12. Carol Lorraine Stearns

    Its a celebration of life! Kramer’s life! He would want it that way. Blessings!

  13. Joy

    I was in your position almost 19 years ago, except I was standing at the casket greeting people I really didn’t know and some I had never met before. In my mind I kept hoping for the never ending line to finally quit so I could go home and have a good cry. I like Kramer’s party idea better.

    Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family today.

  14. Karen Erickson

    What a beautiful way to celebrate your husbands life!! There will be laughter, new memories made, lots of hugs, tears, more laughter and more tears. We did the same when my husband passed at age 58 after a very short 76 days of staying strong throughout his cancer journey. He despised funeral food!!! So we had it catered with his favorite holiday food…Thanksgiving with all the trimmings!!

    Will keep you and your family in my thoughts and prayers today and in the days and months ahead. Those are actually the hardest. {{{Virtual hugs}}}

  15. Nikki DeRamus Moshier

    Sounds like you are celebrating Roger the way he would like. I know I want the same kind of send off….a big party!!

  16. Robby

    Every gathering I’ve been to for sending off people who are people people, who loved people, has turned into a time of great memory sharing well seasoned with laughter about “that time when…”. I always think of that as a sign of a life well lived that touched those around them. In the end, those are the things that matter most. Wishing you all a day overflowing with love and memories.

  17. Janet

    Sounds like the perfect way to say “see ya later” for Roger. That is exactly what my husband and I want – a party to celebrate. No funeral/visitation. We’d like a party with campfire – food, beer, smores, etc. Laughs and tears mingled together. Here’s a (((HUG))) to help you get through the day today and always! God Bless! from a “neighbor” near Fayette.

  18. Jill Klop

    What a great way to honor Kramer. If we lived closer, we’d be there. My husband doesn’t read the blog, but I’ve shared your stories with him over the years. He knows you guys too! Take care and thanks for writing. I wasn’t sure when you’d get back to writing a few posts…I just figured you would when you were ready. I really appreciate these notes.

  19. Kathy

    Sorry to hear the news, Jo. Kramer had a wonderful life. It deserves to be celebrated. Prayers of comfort for you and your family.

  20. Mary Ann Mettler

    I must admit I would be one of those you would not know well coming through the line – I do know you though and feel even closer to you Jo, and your family, because of your blog. Maybe you should write a book. I do feel I know Roger a bit through the blog and he has served as an example of a life well lived. So glad you can celebrate that life today even though cleansing tears. Prayers and love are being sent from me to you.

  21. Stephani in N. TX

    RIP Roger, look down and sustain your family as they meet and great friends to honor your memory.

  22. Stephani in N. TX

    RIP Roger, look down and sustain your family as they meet and greet friends to honor your memory.

  23. Gineen

    My thoughts are with all of you today.
    You are truly blessed to have each other during this bittersweet time.
    Kramer will be watching proudly and sending you comfort and love.

  24. Debbie B

    A celebration is a great way to go. I don’t like the visitation process either. It will be a wonderful tribute to Kramer. Prayers and hugs for you all.

  25. Kim J LeMere

    May you all feel the love for Kramer as the day unfolds, he touched so many folks with his big heart and generous love of his family and community. Let the party to celebrate that love be a thing to cherish in the days ahead for all of you.
    Love that the fire trucks are going to look there best for his send off.

  26. Adrienne

    A cathartic experience for you I’m sure and how very heartwarming that his colleagues will be a guard of honor.
    May God bless you all,

  27. Diana L Breed

    There’s no better way to celebrate the life of such a special person! God’s blessings to you and your family.

  28. Sydney Holmwood

    Sounds like a wonderful tribute to Kramers’ life. God bless you and your family and give you peace.

  29. Laura White

    My dad’s funeral in January was a big party and family reunion. It was a happy/sad time for us, and he would have loved it. I wish the same for you.

  30. Jan Knispel

    A Celebration Party of Kramer’s life is just what you need as a family. Keeping you in my thoughts at this difficult time.

  31. Donna T

    Love this idea Jo. It is a celebration of Roger’s life and how well he lived it. Thoughts and prayers with your family.

  32. Linds L

    Love the tribute. You will likely be proud, humbled and sad practically at the same time but whatever will be will be. Praying for all of you and your community.

  33. Beryl BC

    Thinking of you today and in the days ahead. A celebration of life is a good thing. Hoping it will be a comfort to you and to those who attend.

  34. Linda Rouse

    With tears in my eyes, What you said in today’s blog was just plain beautiful. I am sure Roger will be looking down with a smile on his face. He has no pain.
    God bless you and your family in the next chapter of your life.

  35. Elle

    Celebration of life is so applicable to your description of this important day in the life of your family. You are so gracious to share this with all of us in Blogland. May Kramer Rest in Peace and your family continue to celebrate the memories he gave each of you while tears heal your hearts in the tough days ahead.

  36. Jeanie Stufflebeam

    Your celebration of a life so well lived is a perfect way to honor Kramer. God bless you and your family.

  37. Donna

    My thoughts and prayers are with you. I’ve always gone against the grain here. Funerals here are not celebrations, they are tear filled agony for everyone. Your idea is just what I want. It is my fondest wish that everyone who loved Kramer and his family are able to send him off the way he wanted.
    I hope that you and the rest of your family feel the love we are sending.

  38. SALLY SAFRANSKI

    In the quiet times, perhaps Paul’s words to the Romans explains your friends’ intentions: “We do not know how to pray as we ought, but the very spirit intercedes for us with sighs too deep for words.”

  39. Sandra Davidson

    Sounds wonderful and your grand babies will always have sweet memories of grandpa. I have been in hospital so sorry but my prayers are there for you and family.

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