The Headstone

The headstone for Kramer’s grave was placed last week.  I didn’t know about it until Sunday night.  As it was starting to get dark, I decided to take Ruby for a walk to the cemetery.  It’s just a five or so block walk for me.  I typically make the trek once a week or so.

The headstone company had told us that the poured the cement slab but hadn’t placed the stone so I was surprised to see the stone in place.  I snapped a couple pictures to share with the kids and then head back home as it was getting dark.

Here’s the back….

I like when stones have the name on the back so people can see from both directions when they are looking for a name.

Later in the week Kalissa and Kelli took Carver to the cemetery.  Carver has had a terrible time with missing Papa Moo (His name for Kramer).  He will get upset over something and he’ll start crying saying “I want Papa Moo.”  He’s worst at bedtime.  It’s been so hard on Kalissa and Craig.  He’ll come running into the house and say, “Where’s Papa Moo?”  We decided to go with the “He went to live with Jesus.”  He asked and asked and asked until I finally told him “Once you go live with Jesus, you can’t come back here.”  I’ve went on to tell him, “Everyone gets a turn to go live with Jesus and it was Grandpa’s turn but not ours yet.”  It’s so hard.  What can kids understand.  For that matter…what do we as adults truly understand.

Kalissa was so relieved that the stone got placed.  Now we’re telling him if we miss Papa Moo we can go there to remember him.

To ease things at night I gave him Kramer’s old cell phone.  I also gave him a little cross.  He sleeps with both of them every night.

On this day, Carver decided to “pick some flowers for Papa”.  See the clover in the picture below?

As Kalissa and Kelli were packing up Gannon, Carver quick grabbed the clover he had picked and said, “Me hide them so Papa can’t see them.”  Then he put the “flowers” on top of the headstone.

He’s such a jokester.  He loved teasing Papa Moo.

It’s still pretty sad for me.  I look at the picture and all I see is a boy who in a few years, likely won’t remember his Papa.  It’s so sad as Papa was a pretty important person in his life…a good person in his life.

I’m very happy with the stone.  We bought a taller one than most.  We wanted something a little different and not to have a stone that looked like all the others.  Kalissa worked with the company on the design.  I really like it.  When I see it at the cemetery, it looks really classy….maybe a little too classy for a gruff guy like Kramer was but oh well.

I feel so much better now that the stone is there.  I felt a little like we had abandoned him when there was no stone there.  The grass had grown and without a stone there, it seemed like it was only grass.  This is much better.  I hope it can bring some peace to Carver too.

32 thoughts on “The Headstone”

  1. Carver will remember Roger especially since you’re going to keep the memories and stories alive. It’s good he can have a place to visit so he can ‘talk’ to his grandpa. Blessings!

  2. It’s a beautiful tribute to Kramer. You all did a wonderful remembrance. As time goes on and you all tell stories of Kramer around Carver, he will live on in Carver’s mind. He’ll remember the stories even though they may not be his actual memories. He will always know how much “Moo” loved him through all of you.

    God Bless you all as you continue the chapters of grieving and living on with his memories.

  3. As a genealogist I think the stone is wonderful. All the dates, you don’t see marriage dates on many stones. Too, to have all the kids listed is so special.

    You might want to put Kramer on “Find a Grave” so your family has control over the posting. Lately people have been making entries before the family has time to think about it. With this lovely stone I am sure someone will jump in. Get one of the kids to make the entry and from there you can make changes as you think of them.

  4. Mary Ann Mettler

    How sweet to see things through a little ones eyes. I love that little Jokester and I have not even met him. I have had little ones in my childcare and they are a joy indeed. Such an emotional time. Praying for you all.

  5. I really appreciate everything you share with us and I do enjoy your blog. I hope you’ll continue it for a very long time. Another one of my favorite blogs recently bit the dust. I think blogging is a passing fancy for many people who start and I’m so happy you’ve continued to write throughout what must be the most difficult year of your life. The things you share touch so many!

  6. I love the headstone!! The dark stone is so beautiful and the lettering and font are just perfect. Carver is still about the cutest little boy I’ve ever seen! I agree with Elle above; I don’t think Carver will ever really forget Papa Moo.

  7. The stone looks wonderful, and such great details are included. It’s good that Carver, and the rest of you, can go there to visit with Kramer. Pictures and stories and lots of love will help keep Papa Moo alive for Carver, although he may be sad for Gannon and Georgia who certainly won’t remember him.

  8. Kramer’s headstone is so beautiful. I love the marriage date and the names of your children. Kramer will never be “gone and forgotten” in your family and he will always be a sweet, if not complete, memory for Carver.

  9. The headstone is beautiful. Maybe you can have some pictures printed so Carver can have his own little memory book of Kramer.

  10. Simply stunning! How beautiful and unique a marker. I see signs of my grandpa in my middle boy. Papa Moo will live on in your children and grandchildren, as his traits, characteristics, habits and work ethic are deeply embedded. You are so loved and an inspiration, I know that isn’t your intent, necessarily, but you are helping so many

  11. Jo the tombstone is perfect and so is Carver. He will always remember Papa Moo from all the good stories you share with him throughout the years to come. Our son died in 2009 and the first of our great grandsons was born in 2012 and the next in 2013. They both know their Uncle Jason and can tell you about him even though they never met him. So I’m sure Carver, Gannon, Georgia, Lucy, so sorry I can’t remember Lucy’s brother’s name— will remember their grandfather all their lives.

  12. Jo, such a sweet and heartbreaking post all at once, my grandfather recently passed and my six year old received the book Ida, Always (it’s just perfect), look it up at the library or on Amazon, maybe it’ll help at bedtime?

  13. Beautiful headstone. And I love that your marriage date is on it and your children’s names as well. The two cemeteries that I’ve dealt with require headstones to be flat so the lawn mower can go over them easily.

  14. The headstone is perfect. Good job by all of you. Carver will always remember his Papa Moo. And he will know him even better as he gets older and he hears the stories of Papa Moo. It’s really sad for the two youngest as they will have no memories of him. But they will know what a great grandpa he was from all the stories the kids and you will share.

    Thank you for sharing these difficult times. You are helping more people than you will ever know.

    Love, hugs and prayers coming your way.

  15. Judith Fairchild

    Jo, I like the way you remember your husband. It’s great that Carver will remember his Papa Moo. The bedtime stories do help. Praying for you all as you continue to move on into this new life.

  16. My father died when my daughter was six and she often says she talks to him in her head she is now 36 . When she married two years ago I said to her that granddad would have loved to see her in her wedding dress her response was that he was with her all the time , made me even more emotional. Don’t worry Caver will remember Roger

  17. I love that the stone is close to the edge of the cemetery. I do believe that Carver will remember his granddaddy as he will never be forgotten in your family! And with us.

  18. Dearest Jo, It feels like your grieving for Kramer is giving voice to some the love stories of your incredible family, Carver included. My heart aches for all of you, but especially Carver. In my prayers I will ask the angels to hold him especially close. Thank you for sharing. Take care. Tama

  19. What a magnificent stone. A fitting tribute to Kramer. I particularly like your children’s names on the stone. How fortunate to have him so close by so you all can visit with him whenever it feels right.

  20. Karen aka Lace Faerie

    You say, inquiring minds want to know. Here’s the story of my grandparents’ grave.

    I was 9 when we lost my grandfather, my Papa, to a drunk driver. He was the first loss I experienced. From my childhood, I only remember one visit to his grave, with my aunt who is only 7 years older than I. I don’t know why that was. Perhaps it was just not a tradition in my Mama’s family. My father’s side is different, they go to the cemetery every Memorial Day to do clean up and maintain the areas around the graves of family members. Perhaps it was because my Mama (who was born with a caul) was very ‘sensitive’, an empath, and perhaps such places were uncomfortable for her.

    A few years after Papa’s death, we left the ranch and moved a couple of hours away. As far as I know, my parents never returned to visit that town. Looking back, I think it was a rough patch in their marriage and that, with losing Papa…well, best to leave the past in the past, as my Mama always said.

    Over the years, the tiny town’s tiny cemetery was no longer in use and went through many a caretaker. Papa’s grave was never marked and the small plot marker was lost, probably to vandals, and the records were “lost”. With the untiring efforts and help from a family friend, the records were finally recovered.

    We lost my grandmother 31 years later and according to her wishes, she was cremated. Her ashes remained with my aunt. When my aunt retired and prepared to moved across the country, she had a headstone with both of their names made. On my 50th birthday, my aunt and uncle, myself, my sister closest in age to me, and our family friend and her husband met at the old town cemetery to have a short ceremony and interned my grandmother’s ashes at my Papa’s grave. For some strange reason, his casket was buried too shallowly to legally place the cement vault (a 12” cube) in the traditional place, above the heart. Because there was not a plot available next to him, the decision was made to place her at his feet. This solution was proposed with great apology by the town’s official in charge of such things and to the great mirth of our family. You see, my grandmother was a very independent, even before widowhood, strong-willed and successful business owner, long before it was the norm for wives/mothers to have careers. Ours is a matriarchal family, and the vision of our Mumum, tall, thin, red headed and hot tempered matriarch at the feet of a man, even a beloved husband of 32 years, was just so out of place, struck us all as so unlikely a scenario that it gave us all the giggles. You can imagine the look on the faces of the town’s official and the cemetery’s caretaker who arranged and attended the short ceremony. We did later explain the giggles and she seemed quite relieved to know it hadn’t happened out of disrespect.

    One last thing to tell, is that we had some of the ashes of my Mama (who died when I was 46) mixed with those of her mother before internment. It seems fitting, as their souls did once before occupy the same body. It is comforting to me to know that the earthly remains, of three of the people I loved first and most dearly, are at rest together.

    Thank you, Jo, for the memory prompting post. I hope Kramer’s grave will always be a place of comfort to his family, a place to prompt happy memories. And that it gives you peace.

  21. I loved how you explained “Everyone gets a turn to go live with Jesus and it was Grandpa’s turn but not ours yet.” I thought that was beautiful. It was such a sweet explanation to a child for such a challenging topic. Sorry for your loss. Also, the stone is beautiful. Loved how it included the marriage date and all of the names of their children. Genealogists would love this information on all stones. Sweet!!!

  22. Cheryl in Dallas

    Message for Suzy Q.

    I recorded Roger’s memorial on Find A Grave soon after he passed away. I will transfer it to the family as soon as they request it. I wish all FAG memorials were managed by people who know or have an interest in the individual.

    I work in a cemetery, and I can promise you that Kramer’s grave marker is one of the nicest I’ve seen. It’s a beautiful reminder for a beloved husband and father and grandfather.

  23. Christa Barnhizer

    That is the loveliest headstone I have ever seen. Including your marriage date and children’s names would never have occurred to me, but I think that makes it perfect.

  24. An idea, maybe you could do a memory/scrap book type thing with photos of the 2 of them together and stories the little one likes to tell about Papa Moo, or stories Papa Moo used to tell him. And if you have a recording of his voice, put it in something the little one can listen to when ever he wants. They aren’t very expensive. Maybe make him a teddy bear from Papa Moo’s favorite shirt or something and put the voice recorder in it somewhere.

  25. It’s a beautiful stone. Glad they got it placed before the date you requested. Kalissa certainly has an eye for design.

  26. Crying after reading your post and the comments. We have 5 grandchildren, but only one is local to us. He’s 19 months and calls my DH Papa. The sun rises and sets on his Papa. I soo wish he would take better care of himself cuz he would be missed. Blessings to you Jo, take care of yourself.

  27. A beautiful writing, Jo. The headstone is so wonderful!! Such creative designing ! Talents thrive in all the family. Carver will remember his Papa Moo. You all are seeing to that! Elle and the blogger family here express what’s on so many hearts so well.
    Love, hugs, & prayers to all!

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