Time just seems to fly by after you lose someone. I am having a hard time wrapping my mind around the fact that my father-in-law, Walt Schulenberg has been gone now for two years. Sometimes, I think that our minds blur things, because it’s easier for us to deal with things that way.
My father-in-law was a hard working man, to whom family meant everything. I remember when he found out that he was going to be a grandfather for the first time. It was the next logical step in his life, but to him it almost seemed like he felt like the first person to ever become a grandparent. I can relate to that, because that is almost how I felt when I became a grandmother. I really wish I could take those early days back sometimes, because it is so hard to have people pass away. Time marches on, and the lifetime of one family member begins, while the lifetime of another ends.
My father-in-law was born in Forsyth, Montana, which is a small town between Billings and Miles City. Many of the people who live there come from long standing family lines in the area. Unfortunately for his family, there was not much work there in the 1950s, so the family moved to Wyoming. For me, that was a good thing, because that is the only way I would have met my husband and married into this great family. For my father-in-law, the simple things in life were the best. He didn’t require expensive or fancy things, just the love of his family and the joy of spending time with them.
My father-in-law had one sweetheart…my mother-in-law, Joann Knox Schulenberg. I truly think he loved her from the time he first met her when he was just four years old and she was two. When they married in June of 1949, he set a goal to take care of her for the rest of her life. Even when she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease, he patiently cared for her until he could no longer handle it alone. Then, his family stepped in to help him with her care, and to keep them in their home as long as possible. In the end, he would go home before she would, but she continues to believe that she is still taking care of him. Alzheimer’s Disease can be kind in that way. They are gone, but not for the one who has Alzheimer’s Disease. No, for my mother-in-law, he is simply in the garage, or at Walmart, or visiting the neighbors. And maybe it would be nice if we could all think that way. It has been two years since you went home. We love and miss you Dad.