love of his life
The loss of a loved one, at any age is terribly hard, but when the loved one is only 45 years old, it is even harder. My sister-in-law, Rachel (Franklin) Schulenberg was a sweet, kind, and compassionate woman, who was loved by all who knew her. She married my brother-in-law, Ron Schulenberg on June 12, 2010. Rachel was the love of Ron’s life, and she brought with her the family he didn’t have. Rachel’s daughter, Cassie Iverson had married the week before Rachel and Ron, and she and her husband, Chris would remain in Powell to raise their family, as the children Lucas and Zoey came along. Rachel and her sons, Riley and Tucker, moved to Casper where Ron lived. Rachel and Ron met through her best friend, and his niece, Machelle Moore. It was a match made in Heaven and their wedding was the greatest moment of their lives. Another of the greatest moments of their lives, was when Ron adopted her youngest son, Tucker. The other two children were grown, and Tucker’s dad was unable to be a dad to him, and gave up his rights. Tucker became Tucker Schulenberg, and it was a day of celebration for the whole family.
Rachel was a great mom. She wanted nothing more than to see her kids live out their dreams. She was their biggest cheerleader, and also their greatest comfort. She was there for them, no matter how good things were, or how bad things were. Rachel knew that life happens and everyone makes mistakes, but that never changed the way she felt about the people she loved. She was the kind of person who was there to help them pick up the pieces and make the future better. She was also there to rejoice with them when things were great. Rachel was became a grandmother in 2011 and again in 2015, and those were two of the greatest moments of her life. Her grandchildren, Lucas and Zoey made her life complete. Of course, she always wished they lived a little closer, because she didn’t get to see them as much as she would like, but she saw them as much as she could.
Rachel worked at Walmart for the past year and a half, and she was such a blessing there for coworkers and customers alike. My grandson, Chris Petersen and his fiancée, Karen had the great blessing of seeing her there whenever they shopped for groceries. Rachel was quick to help them with anything they needed, and just to visit with them for a few minutes. She would even step away from her breaks, giving up her breaktime to spend a few minutes with them. It was something that very much endeared Rachel to both of them and to their children. She was their aunt, but she was also their friend. I know many other friends, family members, and customers have the same stories of Rachel’s kindness, helpfulness, and her great smile of greeting.
Rachel was Ron’s other half. She completed him, and gave him the happiest ten years of his entire life. Their marriage on June 12, 2010 filled all of us with gladness, because Ron had found his soulmate…and so had Rachel. They were perfect for each other. Their lives had purpose and most of all love. All too soon, their plans to grow old together were taken from them when Rachel was suddenly taken home to Heaven on January 19, 2021. It was far too soon, as passings are. We will all miss her terribly, and we look forward to seeing her in Heaven when we are reunited there. Rest in peace dear sister. We love and miss you very much.
My grand nephew, Jake Harman has gone through some life changing events over the past few years. He got married to a wonderful girl named Melanie, and gained a sweet daughter, named Alice Green, who was Melanie’s daughter from a previous relationship. Then, they had another sweet daughter, named Izabella Siara. What more could a man ask for…right? Well, in Jake’s case, it would be the son who will be joining the family soon. I don’t think they thought they would get a boy, but they are very excited that they are. For Jake, it’s like a dream. He has wanted to have a family for quite some time now, and suddenly, he finds himself living right in the middle of the very dream he had in mind. It is such a cool thing, to watch your dreams come true.
Jake’s daughters think he pretty much hung the moon, and their eyes light up when he is home. I love the pictures of him with the girls, because you can just see the joy and happiness in their faces. And, I can picture how things will be in the future. Jake and his son outside playing catch, or some other sport, and the girls will be the cheerleaders. There is a contentment that will dwell over their house…until the teenage years hit anyway. I have to wonder if Jake will be the kind of dad, who is sure that no guy is good enough for his girls, and remember that these are beautiful girls, so there will be no shortage of guys wanting to take them out for the evening. But, I suppose that is a story for another day. For now, Jake gets to enjoy the childhood years and just how perfect his life is at this moment.
It hard for me to believe that Jake is not only grown up, but a family man, but it isn’t hard at all to see why he picked Melanie to be his bride, however. She is so sweet, and they just compliment each other perfectly. She really is his soul mate, and the love of his life. I love to watch them together, because they are so cute. Jake, like most men, will probably never grow up, but Melanie loves him just the way he is, so that’s ok. Their dream life is moving full steam ahead, and I am so happy for them. Life is good, and we can’t wait to meet their little boy!! Today is Jake’s birthday. Happy birthday Jake!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
Yesterday, my grand nephew, Jacob Vincent Harmon married the love of his life, Melanie Cossabone in a cozy little setting in front of their families. The wedding was held at the home of the groom’s parents, Chantel and Dave Balcerzak, with a family dinner afterward. Jake and Melanie were both so happy and the ceremony was perfect. It’s hard for me to believe that Jake…my first grand nephew is old enough to be married, but of course at 25 years old, he is. It’s strange how someone can go along and not know that something is missing, until they find that one person who completes them. That is really how it is for Jake and Melanie. They are so perfect for each other, that it is hard to think of one without thinking of the other.
Jake and Melanie met through a mutual friend, and they knew that they really liked each other immediately. Before long, they knew it was love. Now they have married, and are ready to start the rest of their lives. They have two sweet little daughters, Alice, who is Melanie’s from a prior relationship, and Izabella who arrived on December 21, 2015, as an early Christmas present to them. Life is perfect for them now, and it is easy for the rest of us to see just how very happy they are.
Melanie is a perfect fit in our family too. Many times, family members really don’t like the person their kids choose to marry, but we all love Melanie. She is the perfect mix of funny and sweet, and that is just perfect for Jake, who is a big jokester, with a sweet side of his own. Melanie adds a bit of balance to their lives too. She is always there for Jake. She takes care of their daughters and makes a wonderful home for Jake. That, in itself, makes the rest of the family think that she is very special.
So, yesterday, their wedding day, was the perfect next step for this sweet couple, and we all want to congratulate then and wish them all of God’s greatest blessing, as they start their new life together. I believe they will have the happiest of marriages, blessed in every way, and that they will live happily ever after. Melanie and Jake…you make a beautiful couple. Congratulations!! We are so happy for you!!
When my Uncle Larry Byer, married the love of his life, Jeanette Morton, she became the first daughter-in-law my grandparents had. They had nine children and of those, just two sons, Larry and Wayne. Larry was the oldest boy, Wayne the youngest boy, with three girls before Larry, and three girls after Wayne, and my mom, Collene Byer Spencer in the middle.
My grandparents were used to girls, with all of their mixed emotions, but prior to Aunt Jeanette, the additions had always been men…husbands for the daughters. I’m not sure, but I have to think that it must have been a little bit of a culture shock to add another girl to this mix. When your family has an over abundance of girls, adding boys seems to calm the whole world down some, because suddenly the emotions of those girls settle down too. I suppose they probably thought that adding a daughter-in-law could possible bring a new surge of emotions, but they couldn’t have been more wrong. Aunt Jeanette has always seemed like a very calm, mellow person to me…with a wonderful laugh that brings a smile to everyone’s face. Of course, I don’t remember a time when I didn’t have an Aunt Jeanette, because she married my Uncle Larry back on February 11, 1956, and I wasn’t born until the following April.
Aunt Jeanette has always been such a kind and thoughtful person. I’m sure that is what attracted her to Uncle Larry too. Aunt Jeanette had been a friend of the family for a while before she and Uncle Larry started dating, and so in many ways, she just fit right in with the rest of the family. Nevertheless, Aunt Jeanette brought a sweetness to the family all her own. She is one of the few people these days who always sends out Christmas cards, because she wants those she loves to know that she is thinking about them. That is just the kind of person she is and always has been.
Aunt Jeanette has long been the only sister-in-law in the family, but in reality, she is more like a sister than a sister-in-law to the rest of the siblings. She has endeared herself to them in many ways. Her kindness and generosity are well known to anyone who ever had a need. She is quick to offer words of comfort, and just to let you know that no matter what you need, she will be there for you. Today is Aunt Jeanette’s 79th birthday. Happy birthday Aunt Jeanette!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
Around 6 years ago, my brother-in-law, Ron Schulenberg began making these mysterious bi-weekly or even more often, trips to Powell, Wyoming to spend time with his sister, Debbie Cook and her family. Ron had gone up there before, but never to the constant degree that these trips were quickly becoming. That was what made the trips so mysterious…but not for long. Pretty soon, it became quite obvious to anyone who looked at Ron, that he was quickly falling in love with a girl he met in Powell…with a little help from his nieces, Machelle Moore and Susan Griffith. Ron’s new girlfriend, Rachel Franklin had been a friend of the girls from their high school days, so they decided to do a little bit of match making. Little did they know that would lead to a beautiful friendship and later a companionship to last for the rest of Ron and Rachel’s lives. And little did they think that their friend was now going to also be their aunt.
Flash forward now five years, and you will find a couple who are very good together. Where once there had been two people who had been burned by love…two people who were lonely and incomplete…now you find two people who complete each other. Ron had spent a number of years feeling alone and incomplete, and Rachel makes him happy. He has someone to make his house a home…to make it a warm and welcoming place to be. Bachelor pads are ok, when a guy is young, but after a while, they need a woman’s touch. That was really where Ron found himself when he met Rachel. And I believe that Rachel was at the point of needing a man in her life too. There is simply a completeness that comes when you are with the right companion.
Since her marriage Rachel has become a grandmother to Lucas Iverson, her daughter Cassie and son-in-law, Chris Iverson’s son. That was a very exciting time in her life. Of course, her two boys, Riley Birky, who isn’t so little anymore, and Tucker Birky, who is growing up fast too, keep her very busy. Riley is into sports, and I’m sure Tucker is not far behind him. Rachel works for a local eye doctor, and really enjoys her job, and the new friends it has brought with it. I’m sure the move from Powell to Casper, Wyoming was a little intimidating, because she really knew very few people, but she has made the transition well, and is quite happy in her new life. Today is Rachel’s birthday…the Big 4-0!! Happy birthday Rachel!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
Time flies by so fast sometimes, and suddenly we find ourselves a year out from an event that shook our world…the death of a loved one. It was one year ago today that my father-in-law, Walter Schulenberg passed away. He was a quiet, gentle man who loved his family more than anything else in the world. He hated the years when his job took him away from the family, because watching his children grow up was so important to him. From the time they were dating, he talked about when they would start having children. He knew that he wanted a little girl, just like his soon to be sister-in-law, Margee, who was just six months old when they got married. Of course, he wanted sons too, but he was smitten with those girls, and while his boys were his helpers, and he was very proud of both of them; his little girls were always his little princesses. That seems to be the way life is for daddies of daughters, and he was no exception to that rule.
I never met someone who was more excited to be a grandfather. When I was pregnant with Corrie, his first grandchild, he seemed to have been transferred back all those years to when his children were little. He often asked me how I was doing. He wanted to be sure I was comfortable…because I was carrying his first little grandbaby. He made it such an honor, both times I was pregnant. His children and grandchildren were so important in his life. In fact they were the most important things in his life…with one exception…the love of his life, my mother-in-law, Joann Knox Schulenberg.
From the time they started dating, he knew that there was no other girl for him. I have had the opportunity to read some of the letters they wrote back and forth while they were dating, and he was working in another town. He wanted nothing more than to marry her and take care of her for the rest of his life…and that was exactly what he did. All those years that they were together, he made sure she had what she needed. When she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease, he gave up much of what he would like to have done, so he could take care of her. She was his world, and to him, giving up a few little things to make sure she was going to be alright, was only natural. As the years flew by, he devoted more and more time to taking care of her, and did more than he should have in those later years…I couldn’t get him to stop overdoing it. To him, it was so important that she was always going to be ok.
The hardest thing I think he ever had to do was when we had to put her in the nursing home. It had become obvious that we couldn’t keep her safe at home, and there was no other option. He really took that hard. He was so lonely. We did our best to take him to see her, but that was hard on him too. Then he went through a series of hospital stays in a short period of time, and they left him very weak. The hospital suggested that he go into a nursing home, and he was very much against it…at first. Then I talked to the nursing home my mother-in-law was in, and they said they could take him too and they could share a room. It was a perfect plan. He could see her, stay with her, and make sure she was alright, all while he was taken care of too. It seemed the perfect plan, and in a way, I guess it was…except for the fact that he just couldn’t bounce back from those bouts in the hospital, and would return 3 more times before it was over. The thing that was good for him was the fact that, not only could he be near the love of his life, but before he left us, he was able to see that she would be alright. He could see that the staff took good care of her. That last year was a really hard one for my father-in-law. He was getting tired of fighting COPD. It was a fight for every breath, and he knew he was losing that fight. Still, he could not go, without knowing that those he loved…especially the love of his life, were going to be ok. Dad left us a year ago today, and while we know that he isn’t suffering anymore, we still miss him very much. We love you Dad.