The Ball and the Box

My dad died on June 2nd, 2019 from lung cancer. He was 57 years old.

He fought lung cancer from January 24th 2019 (the date he was diagnosed) for 129 days until he passed away on June 2nd.

I’ve never really lost anyone close to me before. My grandparents had all passed away by the time I was 16 and lived farther away. I’ve been very fortunate to have avoided grieving and losing a close friend or family member for 23 years.

A few weeks after he had passed away, a friend of mine sent me this article about the ball and the box. It goes something like this:

This is a ball in a box. There is a red button. When the red button gets pushed, it hurts. It makes you sad, it brings back all of the grief and sorrow, it brings pain and tears.


When you first lose someone or something, the ball is BIG. It is HEAVY. The ball sits on the button and brings unrelenting pain. It feels like the ball will always be this big and this heavy. The button is pushed over and over.


As time goes on, the ball gets smaller. The button is pushed often but it does let up sometimes. The ball isn’t as big or as heavy but still hurts just as bad when the button is pushed but you can move the box without pushing the button.


Once the ball becomes smaller, you can go about your day without fear and function day to day until the button gets pushed out of nowhere. It hurts just as bad as when it first got pushed and can bring you to your knees. But now, you have more time to recover in between hits because the ball is smaller and might not hit again for awhile.


The ball never fully goes away. It fluctuates in size and weight. Sometimes it is smaller, sometimes it is larger. It might be larger around holidays, birthdays or anniversaries.

My family sometimes uses this when we don’t want to talk about it. When they ask me “What’s wrong? Why are you crying in the middle of a perfectly normal afternoon?” I can tell them without further explanation: “My ball is really big this week.” or “My button just got pushed.” Or it can be a great conversation starter. I’ve found that if my ball is big and heavy that my family might also have a big ball this week.

This explanation really helped me when I was trying to explain my grief to others and I know it helped my family be able to describe their grief as well.

Please feel free to share this with someone who might also be struggling with grief or loss.

Thank you for sharing this with me Karinne <3

Happy 58th Birthday, Dad

Today was kind of sad. I’ve had this written in my calendar for weeks:

I didn’t know what that meant or what we would do but I know I wouldn’t let the day pass without recognizing it.

We’ve had a mysterious fever floating around the Kramer house. Craig, Kelli, and Karl have all had a headache with a fever this week – Craig still had a 102 temp when he woke up this morning.

I worked overnight Thursday night. About 2 am I could feel it sneaking in. I thought to myself “my head hurts…my neck hurts…ugh my back hurts…my legs just ache…maybe this is body aches?

By 5 am I was considering calling someone in early – I was ready to be done! I finished my shift anyway.

I slept all morning until 2 pm when I had to pick up the boys and take them to their well child check.

And we got our flu shots! Have you gotten yours? Influenza is getting an early start this year! I’m suspicious that maybe be the fevers going around…

Carver was so good we got to stop at the farm and see daddy on the way home and meet his favorite steer Old Red.

Craig is so funny – I asked him to clarify his relationship with Old Red – he is NOT Craig’s favorite steer but his friend from pen 5. Craig reminded me,”I have friends in every pen dear.” 😂 he is so funny

Anyway, when we got home I was still not feeling well. Gannon and I napped on the couch and I woke up to a steak supper and Craig made a cake.

I’ll be honest – it wasn’t intentionally for dad’s birthday but KUDOS because it turned out great .

Carver and I made mom’s best frosting – cream cheese butter vanilla and powdered sugar.

We picked out candles – obviously not 58 candles but 5 candles and 8 candles 😉🎂

And we sang happy birthday. And I cried. And Carver asked me why I was sad when we were all done. I told him I wished papa Moo was here to eat his birthday cake. Carver gave me a hug like Carver does and told me he missed him too.

(Some technical difficulties getting the video to load – check back soon!)

After supper I sat on my couch to write this post. I rewatched the birthday video. My jaw hit the floor. Tears immediately started flowing. I want you to watch closely. Do you see what I see? Orbs.

I used to be hesitant to share this but I believe in orbs. I don’t know how they happen or where they come from but they always appear when I need to feel dad’s presence the most.

Sometimes no matter how hard I try when I visit him at the cemetery I can’t get a single picture without an orb.

Most of these examples were taken on separate days of visiting at the cemetery.

And then tonight, this happened between 8 seconds and 11 seconds:

You can see them throughout the video. Wowza. Tears are flowing over here. No doubt dad was right there with us tonight.

As Carver says “Papa Moo is always with us in our hearts.” Granted I’ve coached him to say that but I love hearing it come from him right when I need to hear it most.

So happy 58th birthday dad. Thanks for the visit.