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Lisa & Gary Kremer: "It’s just this very large reset and reminder of every day – of counting every day."

The back of two radio producers are facing you. Between them you can see two standing audio booths - a black soundproofing box on a tall pole - and the individuals who stand within them.
Becca Newton
The Missouri on Mic team has been traveling all over the state during 2021 - gathering the stories of Missourians at events like the Missouri State Fair in August.

Lisa and Gary Kremer spoke with KBIA’s Missouri on Mic team at the Missouri State Fair back in August.

They reflected on how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the way they live their lives, and Lisa reflected on losing her mother in the winter of 2020 to the disease.

This piece aired as a collaboration between KBIA's Missouri on Mic and Missouri Health Talks.

Missouri Health Talks gathers Missourians’ stories of access to healthcare in their own words.

Lisa Kremer: Well, I lost my mother [on] November 3, 2020, to COVID – even though I don't want that to define her or her life – it certainly has been a moment of pause for me in losing her that way.

I am so sorry for the suffering that I have seen, and the pain I've seen in others.

Becca Newton

Gary Kremer: COVID has caused me to live with a fear and anxiety that I'm not used to – especially worried about our children, our grandchildren, and that takes a toll.

Lisa: My story is not unique.

My mother was in a care center, and so for months and months before – I visited her on the outside through the window, and my mother was healthy.

The week before she was fine. We were talking certainly, but on the Sunday before she passed away, I went Sunday morning to visit her outside, and I was beside myself because something was terribly wrong.

Well, I went back Sunday night, and she was just asleep – just kind of non-responsive in her bed. Again, seeing her through the window.

And then that Monday, I was on my way to work, and they called, and she had tested positive for COVID.

And because the situation was so great, they let me put on all of the gear – the N95 and the goggles and the gown and the gloves and all of it – and allowed me to be with her. They thought 30 to 40 minutes was about the max because we were very concerned that I might bring that home to Gary.

Becca Newton

And she, mother hung on.

My daughter was outside her room on the grass outside – she was on a blanket. She had lit some candles, and I went out. I went to her, of course I didn't get near her, and then I went on home.

And it was just 20 minutes or so, and Becky called – my daughter – and said that she was gone.

Well, I think it shifts our priorities. It crystallizes for us what is truly important in this life. We get so caught up in our work and our jobs and all of the day-to-day, and it is our family, at least for me, that is so grounding to us.

Other things pale by comparison to what those we love, those that know us the most, know us the best – what that means to us.

So, for me, it’s just this very large reset and reminder of every day – of counting every day.

Production on this Missouri on Mic & Missouri Health Talks collaboration was done by KBIA’s Rebecca Smith & Logan Franz.

Logan Franz is a student producer from Chicago studying broadcast sports journalism with a minor in English at Mizzou. His passion for radio came from listening to podcasts and he hopes to one day produce his own podcast.
Rebecca Smith is an award-winning reporter and producer for the KBIA Health & Wealth Desk. Born and raised outside of Rolla, Missouri, she has a passion for diving into often overlooked issues that affect the rural populations of her state – especially stories that broaden people’s perception of “rural” life.