The Last Ride

I’ve been finally able to start looking through photos and things people have sent me.  I wasn’t ready before and that’s okay.  The blessing of so much of this is time.

A HUGE shout out to Kalyn…One of the Firemen’s daughters who took pictures for me.  She did an awesome job and I can’t thank her enough.  It’s wonderful to have these photos to mark the day.

I never did tell you how the funeral and celebration of life went.  I am thrilled to say I think Kramer would have been impressed and that helps all of us feel better.
When I tell you that Kramer planned much of the funeral and celebration himself in that he said what he wanted….he didn’t say quite how it all would be figured out.  In the end, I think we did well with honoring his wishes.

One of the other things he said he wanted was for the firemen to take the casket from the church to the cemetery.  I vividly remember talking to him saying that “Are you sure they can do that?”.  He said, “If I ask them, they will.”….and they did.

These guys are all the best guys ever and if it’s what Kramer wanted…he was right.  They would do it.

Not too long ago the group all got dress uniforms.  I’ll admit, Kramer wasn’t very excited about them….but man-oh-man did they ever look sharp!  It does make me giggle a bit that Kramer’s funeral was one of the first big events that they actually all wore them for.

They did it in fine style…see??

The guys thought of everything.  The other area fire departments held off traffic and honored the procession through the five mile trek.  It was so cool and VERY appreciated by us all.  Kramer had served on the Lawler department before being on the Waucoma Fire Department.

St. Lucas Department held traffic at this spot.

Once to the cemetery this was handled great too.

Everything went “without a hitch”…or at least one I didn’t see.  I have to say, the guy at the front of the casket was the best.  He started on the department as a junior fireman.  He worked at the farm with Kramer too.  He came by the house one day after Kramer got his 3 to 4 weeks prognosis.  He visited with him for an hour talking crops and farming with him.  He went on to tell Kramer that he learned a lot from him and he appreciated it.  Oh-my.  He did better than most of us older folk do.  Kramer was so impressed with him.  He’s going on to be a police officer.  He’ll do well.

The other guys have been special to Kramer too.  One is a long time friend…one a co-worker and friend…and one did a lot of work on our house.  All of the guys we are so connected to.  Small town does this and wouldn’t want to be any other place.

I’d long thought Kramer would pass before I did.  I love him dearly, but he’d have done this whole grieving thing worse than I am.  I’ve been so used to doing my day to day without him while he was at work.  I’ve always managed as much as I could without him.  With that in mind, my mind drifted in the past to what if I was a widow?  Would I stay here?  Would I move to be closer to this kid or that kid?

All of the support we got over the time of Kramer’s illness and passing makes me know that here is where is home.

I also learned that my kids are pretty awesome too.  Oh, a parent knows that…but it’s always a little different when they are put to the test and they come out okay on the other side.  This was a real test.  I’m REALLY proud of them all.

At the graveside, the firemen presented me with Kramer’s helmet.  They retired his #15.  I keep the helmet in our bedroom.  It’s the most special remembrance I have of him.

They also had the Honor Guard do a presentation at graveside.  It was very nice.

After the graveside service it was to the Event Center to the party for us all.  As per Kramer’s request…a catered meal and the bar was open.  Kramer always loved a beer and good food and we had both.  He said he knew where he was going and he wanted a party to celebrate!  We did our best.

I highly recommend that anyone who can, let your funeral wishes be known.  It’s so much easier for the family if they don’t have to make so many decisions and then wonder if they were the right decisions.  We had wonders.  Kramer was great and let us know.

The First Responders got together and took a picture by the rig.  The four guys on the left are both First Responders and Firemen so they were wearing their dress clothes…Kramer was both too.  Kalissa is a First Responder too.

These guys were great too.  They helped lots along the way.  At one point we realized we’d need the tables bussed at the party.  Kalissa asked one of the First Responders and immediately and answer was, “DONE”.

The firemen got a formal picture taken that day…I’m so glad they did.  They look great.

All of these guys really made the day go smoothly.  It’s been wonderful to be a part of their family.  I have to say along our married life, every time we’ve ever moved, Kramer has joined the local EMS either as a Fireman, First Responder or both.  We have ALWAYS met the very best people.  People who care about the community…people who care about others.  If anyone is moving into a small town, I HIGHLY recommend meeting or volunteering with the local Emergency Services.  You will meet good people…People who will do, as Kramer said, “Anything if I ask them.”

24 thoughts on “The Last Ride”

  1. Nikki DeRamus Moshier

    What a lovely funeral. You will treasure this moment for sure, surrounded by respect and love.

  2. Oh, Jo… It’s a good thing I don’t wear makeup!! I got my daily dose of tears reading this post. What a special man your Kramer was to warrant such fine treatment upon his passing! It had to have been a comfort to your family.

  3. This was such a nice post. Thank you for sharing all of this. I keep you and your family in my thoughts and prayers.

  4. What a perfect tribute to someone who devoted his life to serving his family and his community. My great aunt was part of the local fire fighters auxiliary in a small town (an island, actually). At her funeral a shiny red fire truck led the way from the church to the cemetery.

  5. What a wonderful town you live in and for them to honor Kramer in his final ride. Beautiful pictures are a tribute to him and what others wanted to do for him on this trip. Thank you for sharing such a special family day with us.

  6. Mary Ann Mettler

    Thanks for sharing these pictures. Indeed the small town showed up and did well. We bloggers were there too, in spirit. The truth be told – your blog helps us know how to help those in their time of need. One day at a time. Love to you and your family.

  7. You don’t know me but we have coffee together every morning. I read your blog and have gotten to know your family. This was the hardest one to read. I live in a small town also so I know what you mean about small town values. I admire how you are able to keep going. Bless you and your family.

  8. I have said it before and I will say it again………your Fire Department ROCKS!!! I live in a small town and wonder if this happened here would it have happened ….all of the things the Fire Department did before Roger passed and after ??? Let’s hope…. but I think you have a GREAT bunch of people whose hearts are EXTRA LARGE !!!! God Bless them all.

  9. I have held it together up till now. We’re not neighbors, or sisters, or family in the physical sense. But this post….I felt the connection we have in Christ most strongly. Someday, we will all meet up and have a joyous celebration! Amen@

  10. What a lovely tribute, both the funeral and this post. The sharing of this journey has indeed helped us readers in learning how to help others when the occasion arises. Knowing what not to do is just as important knowing what to do. It’s good to see what’s on the other side of the windshield, so to speak. I’d commend you on your bravery but brave might imply choice. Brave as in looking for the blessings, brave as in putting one foot in front of another and doing it with a heart full of love instead woe. I pray that God will continue to show his grace upon you, your family and friends. God bless!

  11. What a beautiful funeral! Clearly, Kramer was loved by so many people. I’m glad you’re staying in your house!

  12. What a lovely send-off Kramer had. He was well loved by not only the family but members of the community as well. And I agree with your comment about deciding what you want for your funeral. It is so much easier to make decisions before the mind-numbing grief of the actual death occurs.

  13. Thank you for sharing this post with us. The tribute to Kramer showed the kind of man he was, the kind of family you are, and the depth of caring that is shared throughout your community. God bless you all.
    -Jean ❤

  14. The fire department members – the ultimate “Band of Brothers!” Bravo to them for the wonderful send off, but mostly for the wonderful friends they have been throughout the years to Kramer, you and your family, and, if they are like our local volunteer fire department, the wonderful friends they will continue to be, because when you’re a firefighter, you are family! May God continue to bless you and your family and these wonderful friends.

  15. Beautiful ceremony and beautiful day. Glad to see all the wonderful support you are getting from family and friends.

  16. Susan the Farm Quilter

    What a wonderful celebration of the life that Kramer led, the deep friendships he had, and the respect he earned. Small towns are the very best places to live because it is easier to make a positive impact upon the community when every person in the community fills an important role. You are blessed with the friendship of so many, both in your town and in the community you have created with your blog!!

  17. He was truly Loved. What more can we ask for? Very emotional. You are so right about discussing death with your family. It takes away such a burden to know what your loved one wanted. You have a wonderful family. You both taught your children well.

  18. Donna Pheneger

    Such a blessing for you and your family. I am so impressed with their love and concern for you and your family.
    Love and prayers

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