loss

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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!!

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.

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.

My niece Cassie Iverson is spending her first birthday without her mom. My sister-in-law, Rachel Schulenberg went to Heaven on January 19, 2021, after suffering a stroke. It’s been a hard year for Cassie so far, as anyone who has lost a parent can attest. Really that first whole year is the hardest. All the firsts without your parent. Cassie and her mom were just the two of them from the time her mom was 16 years old. They were so close. I could say that they were best friends, but they weren’t Rachel was the mom and Cassie was the daughter. They were closer than just friends could be. A person has enough friends, and can always make more, but a mother is a treasure, and you truly only get one.

Life changed, as life does. Rachel got married and had two sons, Cassie’s half-brothers, Riley and Tucker. Then they divorced and Rachel was a single mom again. Just her and her kids. Cassie was older then, and she and her mom grew closer. Rachel watched as her beautiful daughter grew and found new interests. Sure, there were difficult times…teenaged years, sibling fights, and such, but Rachel loved her kids and they all knew that they were going to be ok.

When Cassie got married and had babies of her own, Rachel was so proud. She loved her grandchildren beyond measure. Rachel was also very proud of her only daughter. Cassie is a very talented photographer, and Rachel would often tell me about her photography trips. She was just so proud of Cassie. She was also so proud of the mother Cassie was. She watched as Cassie raised Lucas, who was born with Down Syndrome. Cassie became the best advocate for her son. Cassie is a real fighter when it comes to her children, Lucas and his little sister, Zoey, and that made Rachel so proud. She knew that Cassie would give her children the best life she possible could. Cassie learned about being a mom from the best…her own mom, Rachel.

Life without her mom will never be the same for Cassie…she will always miss her mom. It is impossible not to, but I hope she also knows just how proud her mother was of her. Often when we spoke on the phone, Rachel would tell me, with pride in her voice, about the wonderful accomplishments of her daughter. Photography, kids, camping…another thing they both loved, and so much more. Cassie, your mom is in Heaven, but she is still watching over you, and she is still so proud of everything you have accomplished. I know this year is a tough one, but remember that she lives on in your heart. Today is Cassie’s birthday. Happy birthday Cassie!! Have a great day!! Your mom would want that for you. We love you!!

After his dad, Eddie Hein passed away from a heart attack, our cousin Larry Hein, did his best to run his business, while helping his mom where he could. His sister, Kim Arani helped too, but she lives in Texas and the rest of the family lives in Montana. Things seemed to be going ok, but then, just a little more than three months later, Larry also suffered a heart attack, and passed away at just 50 years of age. It was a devastating blow to the family, who now had to pick up the pieces yet again.

Larry was a good kid. I first got to know him when my husband, Bob Schulenberg and I took our girls for a visit to his grandparents, Walt and Vina Hein’s ranch outside of Forsyth, Montana. Larry was just a young boy then, but he was good to his grandparents and his parents too. He also spent time entertaining our daughters, Corrie Petersen and Amy Royce, as will as his little sister, Kim. Grandma Hein loved having Larry come for visits. He used to help out aren’t the place, and anyone who has ever run a ranch can tell you that you can never have enough help around the ranch.

Larry’s expertise did not lie in ranching, however. Larry was a mechanic. and Larry also loved to tow vehicles to his shop for those repairs. A number of years back, Larry fulfilled his life-long dream of owning his own shop. It wasn’t far from his parents’ home in Forsyth, and he did a bang-up business. The lot was always full of vehicles waiting to be worked on. Being a mechanic’s wife myself, I can tell you that the mark of a great mechanic is the number of vehicles waiting in line. If the mechanic isn’t good they will go elsewhere. If he is good, they will wait in line rather that letting someone else touch their vehicle. Well, at Larry’s shop…there was always a line.

It’s hard to believe that Larry and his dad have been in Heaven for over a year now. It just doesn’t seem possible, but I’m sure that is what his mom and sister think too. Time just flies after a loved one has passed away. Before we know it ten years have gone by. The human mind struggles to take it in. Today would have been Larry’s 52th birthday. Happy birthday in Heaven, Larry. I know you and your dad are having the time of your lives. We love and miss you very much.

My Uncle Larry Byer was talented in music. He played the guitar, the mandolin, and the piano. My grandfather, his dad, George Byer played the mandolin and the violin. My dad, Al Spencer and my Uncle George both played guitar. They had a regular band, and their jam sessions were like a big party at the Byer house. The kids all had friends who came over as much as they could to listen to the concerts. There were others that joined in sometimes playing the instruments they knew too. It made for a great Saturday night hot spot. Uncle Larry, Grandpa, my dad, and Uncle George are all in Heaven now, and I’ll bet they are all still having those jam sessions, and enjoying the fun times. A Heavenly Band is always in demand.

Uncle Larry was also a funny guy. He loved a good joke, as well as pulling a few pranks now and then. You never knew what he might do, and that was part of his charm. Together with my mom, Collene Spencer and my Uncle Wayne Byer, there was never a dull moment. What one didn’t think of another did. They were truly like the Three Musketeers!! My grandma, Hattie Byer was often forced to give them an “attitude adjustment” to straighten them out. All in all, they were good kids though…just mischievous.

When he grew up, Uncle Larry served in the United States Army, in the Korean War. While fighting a war would b the pits, my guess is that Uncle Larry took his famous humor with him, and was probably a great asset to the morale of the troops. In fighting a war, it helps to have a little humor. I helps the soldiers to let off steam. War is an ugly event, and sometimes a good laugh is very much needed. In those cases, Uncle Larry would have been the man for the job, in my opinion. Still, Uncle Larry could be serious when it was required of him, and he was a great soldier too. He served his country honorably, and when he was honorably discharged, he came home and rekindled a friendship with his future wife, Jeanette Morton, who had been a family friend for years. They married on February 11, 1956. Their son Larry Wayne Byer was born a year later on February 9, 1957, and daughter Tina followed on November 12, 1958. Their family was complete…until the grandchildren came along that is. Uncle Larry left us for his Heavenly home on December 22, 2011. Today he would have been 87 years old. Happy birthday in Heaven, Uncle Larry. Strike up the band and have a great party. We love and miss you very much.

I can’t believe that it has been eight long years since my father-in-law, Walt Schulenberg passed away. He was such a big part of my life, and the lives of his whole family. His sense of humor and wit brightened our days, and made us laugh. He loved hearing the laughter of his family. It just seems impossible that he has been gone for eight years already. I really miss him very much.

Dad was a very talented man. He really got into the craft things later in his life. He did some large craft things like remaking lawn chairs, and his whirlygigs, but he made some small things too, like a puzzle made out of nuts and bolts, that you had to untangle, or the little novelty items made out of beans and coal. I don’t recall what those were exactly, but they usually had some funny little saying on them and a joke about the items glued on the card it was all put together on. In reality, they were little nothings, but they were funny, and the people at the craft fairs bought that stuff. I never could figure out how that stuff sold, but I suppose that it wasn’t the item itself, but rather the comedian selling the stuff that made it sell.

Dad was creative in so many other ways though, that were not funny…they were beautiful. He made steps for friends in Arizona when they used to spend the Winter in Yuma. He couldn’t stand to just sit still. He had to stay busy, and that was a great thing for the people he made things for. He would also go out into the desert to find things he could use for his crafts. I was always a little nervous about him wandering around in the desert, but he knew his way around, and his adventures were always fruitful. He found great stuff, and his artistic side turned the stuff into something that some one would like.

The people who knew him lost a great man eight years ago, and that is something that has left a hole in our lives. I miss his smile, and his welcoming ways. I feel very fortunate to have been able to call him my father-in-law, and my second dad. I know that many people don’t like their in-laws, and I find that very sad, because most in-laws have so much to offer to the people their children have married. I suppose you have to be willing to look at the gift you have been given, and be thankful for it, and I am so thankful for the gift of my father-in-law (and my mother-in-law), because they were awesome. I wish they were still here with us, because I miss them both very much.

I can’t think of anything that is harder for a mom than watching your child go through some of the worst events of their lives. Many people who go through that kind of thing, would sit down and stew in their depression, but not my niece, Chantel Balcerzak. The past year has been harder on her and her daughter, Siara Olsen than it was for a lot of us. On January 25, 2020, Siara’s three month old son, Alec passed away after a short illness. On top of that her marriage fell apart, and she got divorced. It was the worst time of her life, and she needed the love and support of her family. Chantel stepped in and Siara moved home for a time of comforting and support from her parents. Both of these girls are strong women, and they were not going to sink further into depression. Instead, they supported each other, encouraged each other, and made a plan to have a year of self improvement. Chantel’s husband and Siara’s dad, Dave Balcerzak was right there too. Giving the girls the extra support they all needed. They were all hurting, but they had to move forward.

The girls took a look at themselves, and saw that as many people had done, during the Covid-19 shutdown, they and added a few pounds and lost some muscle, and they decided it was time to get back on the right track. So they began working out over Siara’s lunches, and even set a goal for them selves. They had seen a commercial in which some chipmunks who were out of shape decided to go for “All Buff ~ No Fluff” and they made that their goal. Siara has spent a number of years in high school and college as a cheerleader, and of course, she is 23 years younger than her mom, but she tells me that sometimes Chantel beats her when they are doing pushups, so that is really cool too. Chantel doesn’t do girly pushups anymore either. They do the hard kind where you are on your hands and toes. I believe the girls will reach their final goal of looking amazing. They have already come a long way.

Siara tells me that her mom was always there for here throughout this hard, hard year. She was there to comfort her and take her mind off of her troubles, and give her advise when she needed it. When Siara moved out again and got a place of her own, Chantel was there to help her decorate it and make it her own. Chantel is an artist, so of course, Siara’s place is incredibly beautiful, and that is a gift in itself. When the chips are down, Chantel is really the person you want to have in your corner. I’m very proud of her and Siara too. Today is Chantel’s 50th birthday. It’s a milestone, and she looks incredible for it. Happy birthday Chantel!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

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