What was the beginning of ALS like for Bryan and you?
What?? ALS?? I was thinking he just needed back surgery….
September 2020 our journey began with the diagnosis of ALS. Once we got the news, we called our three kids, we cried in the parking lot, we hugged each other in the parking lot, we prayed in the parking lot, and just said, Lord you’re going to have to walk beside us on our ALS journey.
As we drove to Holyoke, Colorado that day we promised each other we would go through this together, put our Faith in Christ, and be the best witnesses we could. The verse: Acts 20:24 became our mission statement: However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task. The Lord Jesus has given me-the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace. My Honey lived his life this way.
We arrived home and knew everything would be different…. run the race set before us and finish strong. Our community started organizing a fundraiser for us. They sold bracelets that said Acts 20:24 Bryan Kroeger ALS Strong, there was a live action, silent auction and a meal. Our first concern was how are we going to live in our home when the disease progresses? Within a few months remodeling was beginning, and we remember the words so well from Dr. Laura Foster, do as much as you can now, and do the things you want to do now as the disease will progress. Remodel if you can now so it won’t look like such a burden for My Honey if we wait till it’s something that he absolutely has to have. Travel, work on the bucket list while you can, as today is Bryan’s best day. The disease will get worse.
What was Bryan like? Any fond memories?
A little bit about Bryan Kroeger:
- He lived his life for Christ,
- He accepted the things you can’t change
- Found positive in each day
- He sang at numerous funerals & weddings;
- We were in the ministry where he performed many weddings, funerals, dedications, and counseling
- Supported and helped in youth groups and nursing home ministry
- He could do several impersonations very well so was asked to entertain at events
He also spoke at numerous churches. In the last two years his messages would talk about ALS: All Lives Sin, All Lives Suffer, All Lives Saved. Whether you met him once or he was a lifetime friend of yours he left an impression and always took the time to hear your story. Friends would say Bryan is the real deal.
When the diagnoses came, that’s when he decided it was time to be intentional, to Live Intentionally For Eternity L.I.F.E. Bryan brought out the best in everyone and they even had shirts made that said #belikebryan. He liked Krispy Kreme donuts and wearing bib overalls. Dr. Foster and My Honey would talk about eating Krispy Kreme donuts. He told her the reason why he was eating them, was because he was doing a study to see if they would cure ALS, so many funnies regarding Krispy Kreme donuts.
He was such a people person and gave unselfishly to everyone. And, maybe that’s why we had over 850 attend his funeral and over 300 watched it online. He even recorded a message that we played at his funeral regarding the disease. Also, at his funeral, there were two songs from two individuals whose lives he impacted. The one song was recorded by Jula. My Honey and her had many conversations about ALS and why Bryan? Jula has a beautiful voice and My Honey asked her to sing this particular song at the funeral, she even had it professionally recorded. The second song called ‘Have Mercy on a Cowboy’ (Brian’s Song) now on You Tube was sung by Colby, a 22 year old that Bryan encouraged back in junior high. He kept telling Colby to get his guitar out, you have a gift. And now years later, he wrote this song as a tribute and sang it at the funeral. … You will want to get your Kleenexes out when you listen to it.
Last moments you would like to share about Bryan?
When we decided it was time to go to the hospital in Holyoke, My Honey new his race was about over. So many friends came and shared with Bryan how much he meant to them, how much he helped them, how his words changed their lives. He knew the end was soon for him, his Faith was still so strong. He would tell everyone that came into the room he was ‘Almost Home’ and kept reminding the rest of us that our day would come. He wanted to make sure we all knew Jesus. He convinced the hospital staff in Holyoke to have a Bib Overall Day, everyone wear their bibs and the Kroeger’s would bring donuts. It happened and over 23 employees wore bibs. If Bryan was here today giving his own speech. He would want to thank every one of you for your part in trying to cure ALS. He would share with you he was at peace because he knew he would be home soon with Jesus, to stay strong in your Faith under all circumstances, to be kind.
A Thank You from Tammy
Dr. Laura Foster, with tears … I will never be able to THANK YOU and your team for all you did for My Honey, myself, our kids and our entire family to make the last 2 ½ years the best we could make it. And to Megan and the Rocky Mountain Chapter, for all the extra support you provided. We felt we were ready to conquer each progression, we felt there was honesty as to how the disease was going to progress, we just didn’t know the timeline. Dr. Laura Foster, you walked us through a journey that we knew someday would end. That, in itself must be a challenge for you and your team and all of you who see patients with this disease knowing their time is short with no cure yet. To watch the progression and then towards the end have the conversations about making decisions regarding end of life. As My Honey told you at every visit, God has put you in the ALS ministry!!!
Thank you so much for honoring My Honey tonight.
– Tammy Kroeger