Every life and family has its ups and downs, and its major challenges. The way those challenges are handled tells you what kind of a family they really are. Sometimes, the losses, hardships, tragedies, or illnesses can break a family. They fall apart and they are unable to survive as a family. Even if that family survives, it is never the same again, but when a family is dedicated to each other, and wants the very best for each other, they will not only survive, but they will thrive. When a family is filled with love for each other, and they stubbornly refuse to give up, the truly miraculous can happen. Such a family can pick each other up after anything, and turn their lives around so that they are on solid footing again. And they will stick to it, no matter what sacrifices have to be made.
When my great grandmother, Henriette Schumacher was 50, she was struck with debilitating arthritis, that would put her in a wheel chair…off and on at first, but in the end, for fifteen years continuously until her death in 1936. In all, she would spend nineteen years in the wheel chair, during which time, my great grandfather, Carl Schumacher, along with his daughters, Bertha and Elsa took care of her. The girls were so dedicated, that they sacrificed their own chance to have children. Still, they never complained, for as Bertha said, “God gave them the children they missed, in Mina’s little daughter, Paula, and her four dear children.” Henriette never had the chance to feel like she was a burden, because of the love they showed toward her all those years. There were no regrets, because they still had their dear mother.
Bertha and Elsa spent many happy years in the company of Mina and John Spare. They had a great love for their sister and brother-in-law, and later their daughter and grandchildren. Their lives were richly blessed with their niece, and her little babies. After spending many years helping their dad care for their mom, it looked as if they would never marry, and the dream of having children of their own was now long gone. After their dad passed away on January 2, 1933, the girls continued to take care of their mom until her death on July 11, 1936. They stayed for a time in Fargo, North Dakota before moving to Boulder, Colorado. By 1948, both girls were married. Elsa married Frank Lawrence on April 29, 1944 in Boulder, Colorado. Bertha married Arthur Hallgren on May 12, 1948 in Boulder Colorado. But, the time for them to have children had come and gone. Then, Arthur Hallgren passed away just three years and seven months after they were married. It was a devastating blow, and Bertha would not marry again, but rather would spend her time with her family, especially her niece, Paula and her children; and writing her wonderful journal so that her legacy could be passed on to so many other family members. I don’t know when Elsa’s husband, Frank passed, but Bertha passed away December 22, 1984 and Elsa passed away November 23, 1992. They may not have had children, but their lives were very important to the family members whose lives were greatly enriched by the dedication of these two amazing women.