A TikToker says that when her family unexpectedly lost her brother, they already had a non-refundable waterpark trip planned. So, they went while grieving.
Katie Kremer (@katesgreats), who has amassed over a million TikTok followers for her videos about her job as a home cleaner, announced earlier this month that her brother, Ryan, had passed away after battling addiction for over 15 years.
Kremer, who received thousands of comments with condolences, gave viewers a peek into her and her family’s grieving process. The TikToker said they went on a non-refundable trip to a Kalahari waterpark a week after her brother died.
In a TikTok posted on Sept. 11, Kremer says that she and her sister promised their “grieving mother” that they would still go on the trip. Her video shows Kremer and her sister standing stone-faced under a waterfall and in the waterpark’s wave pool. They drift down the lazy river and slide down a water slide—all while frowning.
“It’s OK to laugh,” Kremer wrote in her TikTok’s overlay text. In the video’s caption, she wrote that her brother would have “laughed hysterically” at the video.
On Tuesday, Kremer’s TikTok had over 7.5 million views.
@katesgreats this is for my brother Ryan, who would have laughed hysterically @kludelhoven #kalahari #iwannagohome #siblings #trending ♬ I Wanna Go Home – Fat Cat
In the comments on her video, Kremer shared that her decision to go to Kalahari was impacted by her and her sister’s children, who had been “excited to go for several months.” She also wrote that the waterpark was a “wonderful distraction.”
Many commenters offered condolences and noted Kremer’s use of dark humor to cope with such a horrific loss.
“Dark humor is my favorite coping mechanism,” @rachelpcoolman commented.
“Definitely laughed and I’m sure Ryan enjoyed it too,” @tacocreep wrote.
“Laughing is sometimes the only way through hard times,” @desertdazedk commented.
Others shared their experiences of going on vacations and/or big life events that occurred shortly after loss.
“Mom had a plan to go to FL, died, and so my siblings & I made the trip,” @threecatsandawoman commented. “We called it Grief Tour 2019. Similar energy.”
“My grandfather died the week of my parents wedding and my dad was like ‘well we can’t cancel this cost thousands,'” @ketchuprocket wrote.
“Found out my bf died on the first day of my ‘vacation,'” @mad_starz commented. “I would not be here without that vacation.”
The Daily Dot reached out to Kremer via email.
Update 3:28pm CT, Sept. 18: In an email to the Daily Dot, Kremer said that she decided to make the TikTok because it “aligned with her brother’s sense of humor.”
“We worried people would think it was in poor taste, but this video was for us and our version of a tribute to Ryan,” Kremer told the Daily Dot. “We definitely didn’t think it would go viral.”
Kremer said she shared the loss of her brother with her followers, many of whom are in recovery from addiction like herself, because she knew they would be able to relate to what her family had been through.
“Their support and love has helped me through this,” she said.