Loss

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When we think about the enemies of war, we usually think of two nations that unequivocally hate each other. It is thought that every member of teach nation totally hates every member of the other, but that is not even logical. It doesn’t matter what nation you are talking about, the people of those nations are thoughts to hate each other, and many of them do, but nt all of them do. Not everyone loved war, and not everyone loves killing.

World War II was the deadliest wars in world history. It seemed that everyone hated everyone else, or at least that those from the one side (the Allied Powers) hated the other (the Axis of Evil). That wasn’t true either. The leaders probably hated each other, but the people of the nations were caught in the middle of the hatred of their leaders. Many of the people, civilians and military alike were family people, they had a love of others. Many of the people who fought in World War II had no idea of the horrors that were taking place. When they finally found out about it, they were absolutely horrified.

Still, those who fought in the war, knew some of the casualties of the war. A fighter pilot can’t fly over an expanse of an ocean battlefield and not see the losses taking place. For a fighter pilot or a bomber crew, it was not only possible to see the devastation, but they could also imagine what was going on below them as ships sink so quickly that the men onboard cannot escape. To add to the horror, the fact that these ships were his by torpedoes, bombs from the planes, bullets from the planes, and the planes themselves brought the added horror of fire and burning bodies. If a pilot let himself think about it, I think it would be possible to become physically ill at the thought of the horrors going on below them.

One fighter pilot felt that very deeply. During a sea battle in the Pacific Ocean in December 1940, two Royal Navy ships, the HMS Prince of Wales and the HMS Repulse were sunk by Japanese fighters. The scene must have been horrific for the pilots above, whether they were British or Japanese, they knew that men were dying horrific deaths below them. The loss of life so impacted on Japanese fighter pilot that he came back to the spot the next day and dropped two wreaths on the water. His action was to commemorate the dead from both sides during WWII. Japanese Flight Lieutenant Haruki Iki flew to the location of the battle and dropped the two wreaths over the seas. It was a simple act, but it was also a profound act. It showed that while the nations were enemies, the people of the nations were not necessarily enemies too. It also showed that even enemies can have compassion on the other side. War is not all about hate, it is also about being caught in the middle, with no way out but to fight.

Life isn’t always easy, and it doesn’t always go the way we thought it would go. Even spending many good years together, doesn’t guaranty that we will have many more. For Pearl Hein, who loved her husband Eddie Hein so much, the end came far too soon, but in a loving marriage, the end always comes too soon. No matter how many years you have been together. Then, it is up to the one left behind, to go forward, because their spouse would want them to continue living. Such was the case with Eddie. He wanted Pearl to live on.

Since Eddie’s passing, Pearl has done a little traveling. With her daughter, Kim Arani and her husband, Michael living in Texas, Pearl has become a bit of a traveler…maybe not a world traveler, but a traveler nevertheless. I have been very happy that Pearl is spending time with Kim and Michael in Texas and their place in Florida. She really needed the time away from the cold weather in Forsyth, Montana where she lives, and after losing her son, Kim’s brother, Larry Hein too…just three months after his dad, things have been very sad for Pearl over the past

I know she had a lovely time visiting Kim and Michael, and I am so happy for them all. They needed The time together so they could begin to heal. One of the best ways to heal after a loss is to take the time to share the memories of the past. I’m sure Kim and Pearl did a lot of reminiscing during Pearl’s visit, and I’m sure it was a great healing process. I know that Eddie and Larry would both be very glad Pearl went to Texas. I know it was hard for her to move on alone, but it is what they would want her to do.

I remember watching the newer version of “Titanic” and when Rose survives the sinking, she goes on to live a full life, because Jack told her to live on. Life after loss is never easy, but it can be rewarding. People are meant to survive and to thrive. We are wired to grieve and to move forward with our lives. That doesn’t mean that it is an easy thing to do, but it is a necessary thing to do. I’m glad to see that Pearl is making that transition. Today is Aunt Pearl’s birthday. Happy birthday Pearl!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

Hurricanes were not always given names, but rather years ago, they were given a number. In 1935, on September 2nd, then Hurricane Three became the Great Labor Day Hurricane of 1935. The hurricane was the most intense Atlantic hurricane to make landfall on record in terms of pressure. It tied with Hurricane Dorian in 2019 as the strongest landfalling Atlantic hurricane for maximum sustained winds. The hurricane had winds of 185 miles per hour. When Hurricane Ida hit Louisiana on the 29th of August, on the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, I was thinking about how bad it was, but Ida was only a Cat 4, with 150 mile an hour winds. That is really nothing compared to 185 mile per hour winds.

Hurricane Gilbert finally passed the Great Labor Day Hurricane as the most intense Atlantic hurricane on record in 1988. The fourth tropical cyclone, third tropical storm, second hurricane, and second major hurricane of the 1935 Atlantic hurricane season, the Labor Day hurricane was one of four Category 5 hurricanes on record to strike the contiguous United States, along with Hurricane Andrew in 1992, Hurricane Camille in 1969, and Hurricane Michael in 2018. In addition, it was the third most intense Atlantic hurricane on record in terms of barometric pressure, behind Hurricane Gilbert in 1988 and Hurricane Wilma in 2005.

The Labor Day Hurricane intensified rapidly as it was passing near Long Key on the evening of Monday, September 2nd. Southern Florida was swept by a massive storm surge as the eye passed over the area. After carving new channels connecting the bay with the ocean the waters quickly receded. Gale-force winds and high seas prevented rescue efforts into Tuesday. The storm continued northwestward along the Florida west coast, finally weakening before its second landfall near Cedar Key, Florida, on September 4th.

The Labor Day Hurricane was quite compact and intense. It caused catastrophic damage in the upper Florida Keys. The storm surge of approximately 18 to 20 feet swept over the islands. Nearly all the structures between Tavernier and Marathon were destroyed by the hurricane’s strong winds and the surge. The town of Islamorada was wiped off the map. Portions of the Key West Extension of the Florida East Coast Railway were severely damaged or destroyed. Sadly, many veterans died in work camps created for the construction of the Overseas Highway, in part due to poor working conditions. The hurricane also caused additional damage in northwest Florida, Georgia, and the Carolinas. In all, the hurricane took 23 lives before it dissipated on September 10, 1935.

Whenever I have to say goodbye to someone…no matter what the reason, I find myself thinking about how hard it is to say goodbye. It doesn’t matter if it is because of a death or because of a long parting. It’s just hard. My husband, Bob Schulenberg and I spent the last two weeks visiting with our daughter, Amy Royce and her family, and the goodbyes, which started Sunday night and continued to Monday morning, when we actually left to head home we’re tear-filled and full of heartache. You would think that I would be used to these goodbyes, but the fact is that you never get used to the goodbyes. Every goodbye includes a little bit of mourning.

Every time I think of Amy’s family, if feel a little sadness, because there is so much I miss and so much I miss out on. I’m happy that they are happy where they are, but sad for us. I have known that Amy wanted to live near the ocean, from the time she graduated from high school. That was hard, and I’m thankful that they waited until their kids were grown, so that I could be close to Shai and Caalab. Now they all have careers they love, and the girls are even insurance agents, just like I was. My grandson, Caalab has found the love of his life there. We all love Chloe Foster so much. And we couldn’t be happier about their relationship. The whole family is all happy there, and that is what matters. Amy hated the winters here, and sometimes, I can fully understand that. They can be brutal. The climate in western Washington is much milder.

Nevertheless, it is just so hard to say goodbye and leave them there…so far away. We love to go for visits, and we always have such a great time. In Washington, we can do so many things that we can’t do in Wyoming. They have taken us on whale watching tours, and harbor cruises. We like to go to the beaches, and sometimes the cities too, but the congestion in the roads is not so fun. In Wyoming, we have wide open spaces and a beauty of a different kind. We have the ease of life that comes from living in a less populated state. I could go on and on about the differences, pluses, and minuses of each state, but the reality is that half my family is in Washington and half is in Wyoming, and every time the two halves meet, there is a goodbye that follows. It is never easy to say goodbye. In fact it is just so hard to say goodbye, and I really hate goodbyes. I always will, but I love my family, and I will always accept the goodbyes, if it means getting to see them. That’s all that matters. Seeing my kids.

I am so proud of my niece, Lindsay Moore. She has grown so much in the Lord, really all her life, but even more so in recent months. Lindsay and her husband, Shannon have been through so much over the past few months. They were expecting their second daughter, when they found out that she would have some health issues to face. They prayed and began to trust God for the solution. Then their daughter Hallie Joy came early, and soon after her birth, Hallie went home to be with the Lord. It was a devastating loss to the family, but Lindsay and Shannon stood firm in their faith, and continue to serve the Lord.

Recently, her pastor’s wife asked Lindsay to speak at a women’s event at their church, Harvest Church in Laramie, Wyoming. The women’s event was about being a champion. I was so glad they decided to record the entire event, because while I could not be there, I was able to watch the event and Lindsay’s presentation. Prior to the presentations, they held a praise and worship service and then the men in the church, Shannon served the women dinner and dessert. It was a lovely gesture for the men to show such care for the women. Then, Josie Calderon, the pastors wife gave a presentation on being a champion and then, Lindsay gave her presentation which was called “Being A Champion In Every Circumstance.”

Lindsay had been preparing for her presentation for about a month, and I know that parts of her presentation were very hard for her to share. She spoke of her daughter and her homegoing, and I know that was one of the hardest part of her presentation. Nevertheless, My sister, Allyn Hadlock, Lindsay’s mom said, “Lindsay was so peaceful and relaxed throughout her presentation, and she really connected with her audience. Lindsay’s message just ministered to me and I’m sure to everyone there! Lindsay had this peace that passes understanding! I was just so pleased and proud of her. It reminded me of the verse in 3 John 1:4 that says, ‘I have no greater joy than to know that my children walk in truth.’ The Lord has helped her and brought her forward into a whole new place of peace and joy and He is showing her how to be a champion!” I would have to agree, and you didn’t have to be right there to be ministered to, because the Lord brought Lindsay’s peace and the spirit of her message out even when you were listening on YouTube.

Lindsay has spoken some other conferences for work and she used to teach at South Dakota State University, so she has some public speaking experience, but this was something different. This was Spirit Filled, this was the Lord speaking through Lindsay to get His message out to the people. The women’s event had a presentation from a boxing school in Laramie and they showed how to train and prepare so you can knock the enemy out before he can get to you. They had boxing gloves they gave away for a couple of prizes to remind us of our status as champions every day and also small boxing gloves that would be like on a key chain, but the real message was that we all need to stay in the word and in prayer, because God is the true answer to all our needs. The conference was amazing for all of the women who attended, and Lindsay has shown such amazing strength. She really is a champion, and God will see her through the tough times in her life. God has great things in mind for Lindsay, and for Shannon too, and they will see little Hallie again in Heaven. We are all so proud of them both. Today is Lindsay’s birthday. Happy birthday Lindsay!! Have a blessed day!! We love you!!

My grandfather, Allen Luther Spencer, was a man who lived a hard life. Early in his first marriage, he and his wife, Edna Stanton Spencer, lost their daughter, Dorothy Spencer, who was my half-great aunt. She was just over 5 months old. It was a devastating loss for them, and the beginning of the end of their marriage. They were either pregnant then or got pregnant shortly after Dorothy’s passing, because my half-uncle, Norman Spencer was born just 9 months after Dorothy’s passing. Unfortunately, that was not enough to hold the marriage together, and the couple divorced a short time later. My grandfather married my grandmother, Anna Schumacher Spencer, and they had four wonderful children together, which is, of course, why I exist. My dad was Allen Lewis Spencer, one of those four children. I have always felt sad at what my grandfather went through in his life.

Grandpa struggled with some things in his life, but his children loved him. He was a stern parent, but that was truly a part of the times. Many stern parents came out of that era, and while some of the children didn’t like it, they turned out to be great adults, and I suppose that they would have to say that in part their dad had something to do with that. Their mom, my grandma, was a much more gentle person, but make no mistake, she could be stern too if the situation warranted it. Grandma was a gentle person, but she was also a very strong person…physically and emotionally. She ran the family farm while grandpa was away working on the Great Northern Railway as a carpenter, and she did an excellent job.

I never really knew either of these grandparents, because my grandfather passed away October 19, 1951, about a year and a half before my parents were married, and 4½ years before I was born. My grandmother passed away 6 months after I was born. I will have to get to know them when I go to Heaven, but when I look at their pictures, I see people who lived during hard years in our nation’s history, and came through it successfully to raise the wonderful children I now call my dad, aunts and uncles. Sadly, they too have all gone to Heaven now. I can imagine the happy times they are all having up there…no more sadness, loss, or tears. They can spend time together, getting to know their half-sister too, and there is no distance to cross. Today is the 142nd anniversary of my grandfather’s birth. How could it possibly be that many. Nevertheless, it is, and I know the party is on up there. Happy birthday in Heaven, Grandpa Spencer. We all love you very much, and can’t wait to meet you in Heaven one day.

Whether you prefer tall people or short people, you can’t help but be interested in the very tall or the very short. When I think of tall, I think of over 6’5”, but some people think of someone over 7’ tall. I suppose many people think that’s not so tall, but when you’re 5’2” tall, 6’5” seems very tall, and 7’ is a giant. The tallest person in recorded history was Robert Pershing Wadlow, also known as the Alton Giant and the Giant of Illinois. He was an American man who was irrefutably the tallest person in recorded history, and of that there is irrefutable evidence. He was born and raised in Alton, Illinois, a small city near Saint Louis, Missouri. Nevertheless, he did not marry the tallest woman. The tallest married couple ever recorded was Anna Haining Swan, who was 7’11” tall and Martin Van Buren Bates, who was 7’9” tall. The pictures of their wedding show people attending the wedding, who were probably quite tall, but they looked very short next to the Bates couple.

It is believed that Anna Swan was born at Mill Brook, New Annan, Nova Scotia. At birth she weighed 16 pounds, which is a large baby. She was the third of 13 children, but all of the others were average height. Anna grew quite quickly, reaching 4’6″ by her fourth birthday. On her 6th birthday Anna was measured again. She stood 5′ 2″ tall, just an inch or two shorter than her mother. She stood 6′ 2″ tall and weighed 203 pounds on her 11th birthday. By her 15th birthday Bates was 7′ tall. She reached her full height of 7’11” three years later. Her feet measured 14.2 inches long.

Martin Van Buren Bates was born on November 9, 1837, and was known as the “Kentucky Giant.” By the time he as full grown, he was 7’9″ and weighing 380 pounds. Bates’ growth rate didn’t jump until the age of six or seven, but he was over 6′ tall and weighed over 200 pounds by the time he was twelve years old. He served in the Civil War, and returned to Kentucky after the war. Before the war, his first occupation was as a schoolteacher, but upon his return, he began travelling with a circus. When the circus was in Halifax Martin Van Buren Bates met another enormously tall person…Anna Swan. She was attending the circus, and was spotted by the management and hired on the spot. The giant couple became a touring sensation and eventually fell in love. They married on June 17, 1871, in Saint Martin-in-the-Fields in London, in a highly publicized wedding. The ceremony drew thousands of people, due to both the uncommonness of the spectacle and the good nature of the pair. Queen Victoria gave them two extra-large diamond-studded gold watches as wedding presents.

Martin and Anna moved to Ohio in 1872, settling in Seville. On May 19, 1872, Anna gave birth to a daughter, who weighed 18 pounds. She died at birth. The couple built a large house to accommodate themselves comfortably. Martin wanted to be a farmer. The family did well, but not in the area of children. A baby boy was born on January 15, 1879. He weighed 23 pounds 9 ounces, and was 28′ long. He was posthumously awarded the world record according to the Guinness Book of World Records. Their son only lived 11 hours. Anna Bates died on August 5, 1888. Martin ordered a statue of her from Europe for her grave, sold the oversized house, and moved into the town. In 1889 he remarried, this time to a woman of normal stature, Annette LaVonne Weatherby and lived a mostly peaceful life until his death in 1919 of nephritis. He was buried beside his first wife and their son in Seville.

While riding the 1880 Train on the last day of our annual trip to the Black Hills, Bob and I were sitting back, relaxing and enjoying the ride. It is a favorite part of our trip each year. One of the things that I like to do on these train rides, is to listen to what the people around us think of the journey. When you ride the train every year. You know the area, and while it is still very interesting to me, I do know the area. Others don’t, so it’s interesting to see what they think of this area I love so much. I almost feel like a local listening to the tourists who are viewing this place for the first time.

This trip’s most profound conversation was a little different, and it really made me think. The train has a recorded narrative, and a little boy, about 5 or 6 years old was listening to it. So often, children don’t really listen to such things, but this little boy was rather intently listening to the message. So as he listened, the narrator said that the train was in use during World War I and World War II, and the boy said, “What’s a war?” That really made me wonder…how nice it would be, not to know what war is. Yes, there have been wars in his lifetime, and indeed, we are in one even now, but this little boy is too young to really fathom the meaning of the word…war. He still possessed an innocence when it comes to war, killing, and death. That innocence is about to end, I suppose, because once his aunt or mother answered his question, he will forever know what a war is. He cannot go back to that innocence again. It is gone.

I came away from that experience a little sad. Children have such an innocent joy, and for this boy, that is changing. True…he won’t fully lose that innocence in one explanation, and it will depend on how much the adults with him can soften the truth for him, but no matter what we do or say, war and death go together, and death by war is not pretty. This boy has an imagination, and if he continues to question the adults in his life, he will begin to get a clear picture of war, and what it really is. Then, as he grows, that picture will become more and more vivid. He will know what death by war means. War is a part of life, and eventually we all know what war means, but for me, the question felt sad, because I was witnessing the beginning of the end of his innocence. It’s a moment I wont easily forget either.

My grandfather, George Byer was the only grandfather I ever knew. My dad’s dad had passed away before my parents were married, and all of my great grandfathers passed away long before I was born. It was not something I ever felt cheated about then, it was just the way it was. Of course, now I wish I had been able to know the other grandfathers, as well as some of the grandmothers. I did get to know my grandpa’s mother, but I don’t recall my grandma’s mother, because I was only three when she passed away. Grandpa was such a gentle man and I loved him very much. We all did.

I remember one afternoon when Grandpa stopped by our house. My mom was on the phone, so she told her dad to just come on in. She went on with her conversation, and Grandpa stood there. When she realized that he hadn’t come in, She again motioned him to come on in. Again she went back to her conversation, and again, Grandpa stood there. Finally my mom realized that something was wrong. It was then that she saw our German Shepherd dog, King was standing at the door. He wasn’t exactly growling or anything, but Grandpa knew that he had better not come inside, because King was guarding the door. Mom said, “King!! You let him in!!” King looked at Mom sheepishly, and literally smiled. Mom said it was the first time she had ever seen a dog smile. King turned and stepped away, allowing my Grandpa to come inside. I really miss that dog!! And I really miss my grandpa. I’m sure that Grandpa got a kick out of the whole thing…later, but at the time, he knew better than to test the dog. The funny thing is that King really wouldn’t have hurt him. King really did have a sense of humor. Some dogs do, you know.

If you ask me, I had the very best grandpa in the world. He was the best and sweetest grandpa ever. All of his grandchildren loved him, and his kids always felt like they were given the very best life ever. Grandpa may not have been rich, but he was rich in love for his family. He would have give everything he owned to make sure that they were ok. Together with our grandma, Hattie Byer they showed their generosity to anyone who needed it. No matter what Grandma was cooking, and how many extra people showed up, it seemed like there was always enough to feed everyone. They really were both amazing people. Today is the 128th anniversary of Grandpa’s birth. That was a wonderful day for our family, even if no one knew it then. Happy birthday in Heaven Grandpa Byer. We love and miss you very much.

We all have them. Days when we really miss a loved one who has passed away or even a love one who lives far away. These are days when thoughts of our mom, dad, spouse, sibling, child, grandparent, or even great grandparent, so fill our minds that it brings us to tears. We push through the sadness and try not to let the tears spill over, but it is so hard, because our heart has a mind of its own sometimes, and those tears just won’t listen to our pleas to stop. Reaching out to others does little to help us, and even posting on social media doesn’t help, because it is our own sadness, our own sorrow, and we have to live it alone. Truly, our only help comes from God, who sees our every tear, and has sent the Comforter to us for just such a time as this.

The thing is that we know where our love one is, and that they are happy, but that doesn’t make it easier for us to move out of our own sadness, because the true sadness of losing someone is not sadness for them, but rather for us. And for those who know someone who is going through this sadness, there is a feeling of helplessness. We love the grieving family member or friend, but we don’t have the words or the ability to make it better for them. All we can do is to pray over them and let them know we love them, and hope it is enough to ease their pain. Of course, for many of us, their pain is shared by us because we love both them and their loved one.

No matter how painful those “miss you” days are, we must understand that they are also important, because we would never want to forget our loved ones. Their memory, while painful considering the loss, is so important considering our love for them. Unfortunately, once a loved one is in Heaven you can’t have one kind on memory without the other kind.

Missing the loved on who lives far away is different, but when you suddenly realize that it has been a year since you saw that parent, grandparent, sibling, or child, your heart goes through that same pain and sadness. The heart somehow doesn’t fully understand the difference between a loved one being in Heaven and a loved on being across the country. Yes, the heart understands that the one who lives far away will be seen again on Earth, but it still feels that pain of missing that loved one terribly…especially when you had lived so close before, even in the same house. The heart just doesn’t totally understand the feeling, it just knows that it is painful, and it brings those dreaded tears. It’s all a part of “miss you” days.

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