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Make Sure Max Is Not Alone This Holiday Season

Your contributions to Max's journal this year made sure that they never felt alone. Your tax-deductible donation in Max's honor will make sure that Caringbridge continues to bring hope and healing to those who need it most.

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Carol Solovitz
Carol Solovitz
Dear Tom, Mel and loved ones,


On January 16, I read an article in our local Lakeland, FL, paper about the flu and children. I was stunned to see the name Max Schwolert. When FIower Mound, TX, and Amery, WI, were mentioned, I knew the pain dealt to you by his death just after Christmas. As Christ entered our earthly existence, Max entered Christ's eternity. A cruel battle, even though the victory was won.  I have prayed and cried for you. Please know that my virtual arms are around you. A snail mail is on its way.


In faith, hope, and grace ~ Carol Solovitz


 
Marilyn Sharpe
Marilyn Sharpe
Dearest Schwolerts,

I'm just guessing that this was the nature of Jesus' life ... not fitting into the world as it was.  Thank you, Phil, for naming this dislocation for all of us, for letting us gather to feel all of our feelings.

Thanks to all of you for allowing us to be on this wrenching journey of love and faithfulness, anger and sorrow, with you.

There is no moment that you are not all held in loving thoughts and constant prayers,
Marilyn
Kelly  Thomason
Kelly Thomason
Thank you, Phillip Schwolert, for touching my heart today with your words. I'm right there with feeling this is truly not my home. Felt that way ever since I let Jesus into my life way back in 1984. I taught Max when he was in 5th grade, and I knew he was different, in a good way, from the other 11 yr old boys in that class. As I have shared with his parents, I have vivid memory of him saying to me one day, "Mrs. Thomason, I'm glad that you believe in God." He felt the need to come over to my desk to tell me that, with a sincerity and depth that I have not seen with any child that I have ever taught in my 17 yrs of teaching. Now I know it is not in his nature to blurt this statement out, but instead he said this quietly and calmly, with a kindness in his tone. God reminded me of this so profoundly when I heard the news of his passing. I believe that He gave me this memory to share with Tom and Melanie. I could have shared it with them way back then, but instead it was kept locked away to share when it was most needed to be heard. I'm thankful that God gave me that. Max was a rare gem in a tough group that year. I'm glad that I was able to cross paths with him on this side of heaven.
Patricia Fick
Patricia Fick
Uncle Phil,


Thanks for what you wrote.  Indeed, we will never feel right in this world because it is not our real home.  We are wearing our LOVE TO THE MAX T-shirts today at Concordia University, Texas.  May God be with all of Max's family and friends as they continue to grieve, love, and look forward to the greatest reunion ever in heaven.  Thank you Jesus for this sure hope!
Terri Elton
Terri Elton
Phil -
Beautiful post, and right on brother!
Right on relationally, right on psychologically, and right on theologically.

I couldn't help but think of a parallel story as I was reading about "you all" fishing. The story is at the end of John's gospel. Jesus has died, and risen, and how what? So, "the brothers" go fishing. I'm not sure they texted those not with them and I'm not sure what "equipment" they used, but they tried to move forward...numb, in disbelief, saddened...and perhaps hopeful...but clearly without direction...so they returned to something familiar in hopes of discovering a path.

I'm not sure what the connection truly is between your story and the story of the disciples, but I do know returning to what we know, as we try to discover a way forward, numb and in disbelief,  does describe my world...because nothing is the same. I can't watch the news, attend a high school event, have dinner with my family, or go to worship without the last few days of 2012 and Max's unexpected death coming to the forefront of my mind. I can't forget your family - thinking about you and praying for you - even as I can't even begin to know the grief you are all experiencing. Many have been changed by both Max's death and his life and words don't capture what my soul knows to be true.
Please keep sharing your story, for perhaps as you invite us in a path with emerge.
Prayers continue!
Terri Elton
Monica Jinright
Monica Jinright
I read your post Phil.  It made me smile.  I no longer live in Flower Mound but continue to read the posts made by people from all over.  It gives me a sense of peace knowing that Max is still being lifted up.  Max came into our lives about 7 years ago.  When they moved to Flower Mound.  I was talking to Tom about my son who I just couldnt get involved in church.  Tom said he had a son Nic's age and that we should introduce them.  They became fast friends - and Max did get Nic very involved in the youth.  That was the first gift Max gave to my family.  Only he didn't stop there.  The last 4 years they have had classses together.  It was Max who would say, "Will you be at Faithwalk tonight Nic? and Will I see you Sunday, Nic?"  Every class every week - that was Max's gift.  An unrelenting presense of God in Nic's life to help keep him strong in the Faith.  Nic and Max had an Economics class this semester together. Monday Nic forgot his pencil and he turned to Max's chair (cause Max always had extra pencils) and he realized once again Max wasn't there.  Nic said, "It was hard Mom, Max is really gone."  Max may be gone but he will never be forgotten in our families eyes.  We talk about him at our new church and pray for the family in our new Sunday School Classes.  Max's dream and passion to keep God always in our presense will never fade.  Today Nic finished his last class at Marcus High School.  I know Max will be with him silently asking him every Sunday, are you going to be in church today Nic?  Cause that is what Max always did for him!        
Lynn Lurvey
Lynn Lurvey
Dear Family,I love to read the updates and devotionals reflecting on this journey that is so difficult.  You are all in my thoughts and prayers.  What great sorrow.  May our sweet Savior bring you peace and comfort moment by moment.I am praying for you right now.Love, Lynn
Diane Sponheim
Diane Sponheim
Dear Schwolerts, all,

Thank you for your continued BEAUTIFUL witness throughout this entire ordeal. You have all shined so brightly with God's unquenchable light, while being so blessedly honest about your pain and loss. My heart continues to be with you, and again, thank you for being vessels of God's goodness and love. I pray that as things quiet down now, God's love and peace will rush in like a wave to fill the Max-sized void in your lives.

Peace, dear friends,
Stacy Kovach
Stacy Kovach
Beautiful words and message. Your family continues to be in our daily thoughts and prayers, and you are an inspiration to us. We admire your love and steadfast faith. Our prayers are for the Lord to wrap you all tightly in His loving embrace, pull you close and comfort you.
May God bless and be with you always~
Jeff, Stacy, Riley, & Olivia
Jim Moeller
Jim Moeller
Max,

Not much sense in writing this, because you are watching our every move anyway as of now. How is that omniscience, anyway? Do you like the view?

My life is changed now. And the change for my life is for forever. And it is because of you, Maxwell. Powerful one. I think that's quoting your father. I'd like to know, when I do finally meet you--whether you truly saw me from your hospital bed before they put you under...I think that was Weds nite, if I recall correctly. Maybe we can chat about it then. I was the guy in the hall, behind a person or two, that raised both hands above my head when I saw you.

And then I'd like to know the answer to that sort-of-cliche question about whether you can truly hear us when you're under anesthesia. We spoke to you, many of us. Maybe you heard every word? Maybe just for a while...perhaps there's a certain # on the screen we should pay attention that indicates when you can hear us...wish we knew for sure. Again, we can chat about it then.

And I would imagine your TiVo up there's got a pretty cool rewind button. You can go back over any detail now that you've achieved omniscience... So at least now you know that Matt and I struggled with some fumbling through scripture from a bible and a bible-iPhone app. Did you hear it then, too? I also talked with you about how I might have coached you differently, had I known you were to grow into that massive 6'4" body. Many more George Mikan drills, right? Did we go over that enough when Jankowski and I coached you at Forest Lake Elementary? Did we play you at the Center/forward/power-forward position? Actually these days you could be a shooting guard too, at that height. Anyway, I think we could've improved our coaching of you, son. And I'm sorry about that.

I'm also sorry that I chose not to visit you in Amery on Christmas Eve. So sorry, now.

You know my heart now Max. And you know I could go on and on and on. But I am tired and there is no sense because you know my heart. And my loved ones on this side of heaven are worried about me. So please help me sleep tonight. Please quiet my soul.

I love you, Maxwell Schwolert. I love you!
Jane Charlesworth
Jane Charlesworth
Dear Schwolerts all,
My name is Jane Steege Charlesworth and my heart is broken with the news of Max's death. My aunt Marie Steege Schwolert and Uncle Walt and my cousins Norm, Marion and Paula entertained the huge Steege clan on so many occasions. They are my most cherished childhood memories.
Cousins Norm, Marion, and Paula grew up in the parsonage I remember so fondly. We would gather around the diningroom table for saurbraten and katuffleklassen and the apple pie I still bake today.
Norm moved with Ruth to Texas and I never crossed paths with them again but the richness of those memories move me to connect today. I never met any of Norm's children or his grandchildren. For that I am sad. But I did know the Schwolerts and knowing them was, as my father Ted Steege would have said, "Like Heaven on Earth!" There is, for sure, a special room in heaven for the Steege/Schwolerts and Max will be greeted and embraced by all of them. What a family reunion!
I hope you feel the loving embrace of our HUGE family from the West Coast to the East Coast.
Love, Jane
Caesar Campbell
Caesar Campbell
To the Schwolert family,
My sincerest prayers go out to you and your family.  While I did not know Max or the Schwolert family personally.  While watching CNN the news grabbed me as if it were someone in my own family.  Tears running down my face I just felt compelled to write and donate.  Your sons pictures display a loving, kind and gentle spirit.  My prayer is that God will continue to provide strength and support for your family. 
I hope when I reach heaven I get a chance to meet your son, from just hearing about your loss and reading the kind messages he sounds like an outstanding young man!
May God bless you and keep you!
Caesar
Kelly  Thomason
Kelly Thomason
Thank you, Phillip Schwolert, for touching my heart today with your words. I'm right there with feeling this is truly not my home. Felt that way ever since I let Jesus into my life way back in 1984. I taught Max when he was in 5th grade, and I knew he was different, in a good way, from the other 11 yr old boys in that class. As I have shared with his parents, I have vivid memory of him saying to me one day, "Mrs. Thomason, I'm glad that you believe in God." He felt the need to come over to my desk to tell me that, with a sincerity and depth that I have not seen with any child that I have ever taught in my 17 yrs of teaching. Now I know it is not in his nature to blurt this statement out, but instead he said this quietly and calmly, with a kindness in his tone. God reminded me of this so profoundly when I heard the news of his passing. I believe that He gave me this memory to share with Tom and Melanie. I could have shared it with them way back then, but instead it was kept locked away to share when it was most needed to be heard. I'm thankful that God gave me that. Max was a rare gem in a tough group that year. I'm glad that I was able to cross paths with him on this side of heaven.
Terri Elton
Terri Elton
Phil -
Beautiful post, and right on brother!
Right on relationally, right on psychologically, and right on theologically.

I couldn't help but think of a parallel story as I was reading about "you all" fishing. The story is at the end of John's gospel. Jesus has died, and risen, and how what? So, "the brothers" go fishing. I'm not sure they texted those not with them and I'm not sure what "equipment" they used, but they tried to move forward...numb, in disbelief, saddened...and perhaps hopeful...but clearly without direction...so they returned to something familiar in hopes of discovering a path.

I'm not sure what the connection truly is between your story and the story of the disciples, but I do know returning to what we know, as we try to discover a way forward, numb and in disbelief,  does describe my world...because nothing is the same. I can't watch the news, attend a high school event, have dinner with my family, or go to worship without the last few days of 2012 and Max's unexpected death coming to the forefront of my mind. I can't forget your family - thinking about you and praying for you - even as I can't even begin to know the grief you are all experiencing. Many have been changed by both Max's death and his life and words don't capture what my soul knows to be true.
Please keep sharing your story, for perhaps as you invite us in a path with emerge.
Prayers continue!
Terri Elton
Lynn Lurvey
Lynn Lurvey
Dear Family,I love to read the updates and devotionals reflecting on this journey that is so difficult.  You are all in my thoughts and prayers.  What great sorrow.  May our sweet Savior bring you peace and comfort moment by moment.I am praying for you right now.Love, Lynn
Diane Sponheim
Diane Sponheim
Dear Schwolerts, all,

Thank you for your continued BEAUTIFUL witness throughout this entire ordeal. You have all shined so brightly with God's unquenchable light, while being so blessedly honest about your pain and loss. My heart continues to be with you, and again, thank you for being vessels of God's goodness and love. I pray that as things quiet down now, God's love and peace will rush in like a wave to fill the Max-sized void in your lives.

Peace, dear friends,
Stacy Kovach
Stacy Kovach
Beautiful words and message. Your family continues to be in our daily thoughts and prayers, and you are an inspiration to us. We admire your love and steadfast faith. Our prayers are for the Lord to wrap you all tightly in His loving embrace, pull you close and comfort you.
May God bless and be with you always~
Jeff, Stacy, Riley, & Olivia
Jane Charlesworth
Jane Charlesworth
Dear Schwolerts all,
My name is Jane Steege Charlesworth and my heart is broken with the news of Max's death. My aunt Marie Steege Schwolert and Uncle Walt and my cousins Norm, Marion and Paula entertained the huge Steege clan on so many occasions. They are my most cherished childhood memories.
Cousins Norm, Marion, and Paula grew up in the parsonage I remember so fondly. We would gather around the diningroom table for saurbraten and katuffleklassen and the apple pie I still bake today.
Norm moved with Ruth to Texas and I never crossed paths with them again but the richness of those memories move me to connect today. I never met any of Norm's children or his grandchildren. For that I am sad. But I did know the Schwolerts and knowing them was, as my father Ted Steege would have said, "Like Heaven on Earth!" There is, for sure, a special room in heaven for the Steege/Schwolerts and Max will be greeted and embraced by all of them. What a family reunion!
I hope you feel the loving embrace of our HUGE family from the West Coast to the East Coast.
Love, Jane
Carol Solovitz
Carol Solovitz
Dear Tom, Mel and loved ones,


On January 16, I read an article in our local Lakeland, FL, paper about the flu and children. I was stunned to see the name Max Schwolert. When FIower Mound, TX, and Amery, WI, were mentioned, I knew the pain dealt to you by his death just after Christmas. As Christ entered our earthly existence, Max entered Christ's eternity. A cruel battle, even though the victory was won.  I have prayed and cried for you. Please know that my virtual arms are around you. A snail mail is on its way.


In faith, hope, and grace ~ Carol Solovitz


 
Marilyn Sharpe
Marilyn Sharpe
Dearest Schwolerts,

I'm just guessing that this was the nature of Jesus' life ... not fitting into the world as it was.  Thank you, Phil, for naming this dislocation for all of us, for letting us gather to feel all of our feelings.

Thanks to all of you for allowing us to be on this wrenching journey of love and faithfulness, anger and sorrow, with you.

There is no moment that you are not all held in loving thoughts and constant prayers,
Marilyn
Patricia Fick
Patricia Fick
Uncle Phil,


Thanks for what you wrote.  Indeed, we will never feel right in this world because it is not our real home.  We are wearing our LOVE TO THE MAX T-shirts today at Concordia University, Texas.  May God be with all of Max's family and friends as they continue to grieve, love, and look forward to the greatest reunion ever in heaven.  Thank you Jesus for this sure hope!
Monica Jinright
Monica Jinright
I read your post Phil.  It made me smile.  I no longer live in Flower Mound but continue to read the posts made by people from all over.  It gives me a sense of peace knowing that Max is still being lifted up.  Max came into our lives about 7 years ago.  When they moved to Flower Mound.  I was talking to Tom about my son who I just couldnt get involved in church.  Tom said he had a son Nic's age and that we should introduce them.  They became fast friends - and Max did get Nic very involved in the youth.  That was the first gift Max gave to my family.  Only he didn't stop there.  The last 4 years they have had classses together.  It was Max who would say, "Will you be at Faithwalk tonight Nic? and Will I see you Sunday, Nic?"  Every class every week - that was Max's gift.  An unrelenting presense of God in Nic's life to help keep him strong in the Faith.  Nic and Max had an Economics class this semester together. Monday Nic forgot his pencil and he turned to Max's chair (cause Max always had extra pencils) and he realized once again Max wasn't there.  Nic said, "It was hard Mom, Max is really gone."  Max may be gone but he will never be forgotten in our families eyes.  We talk about him at our new church and pray for the family in our new Sunday School Classes.  Max's dream and passion to keep God always in our presense will never fade.  Today Nic finished his last class at Marcus High School.  I know Max will be with him silently asking him every Sunday, are you going to be in church today Nic?  Cause that is what Max always did for him!        
Jim Moeller
Jim Moeller
Max,

Not much sense in writing this, because you are watching our every move anyway as of now. How is that omniscience, anyway? Do you like the view?

My life is changed now. And the change for my life is for forever. And it is because of you, Maxwell. Powerful one. I think that's quoting your father. I'd like to know, when I do finally meet you--whether you truly saw me from your hospital bed before they put you under...I think that was Weds nite, if I recall correctly. Maybe we can chat about it then. I was the guy in the hall, behind a person or two, that raised both hands above my head when I saw you.

And then I'd like to know the answer to that sort-of-cliche question about whether you can truly hear us when you're under anesthesia. We spoke to you, many of us. Maybe you heard every word? Maybe just for a while...perhaps there's a certain # on the screen we should pay attention that indicates when you can hear us...wish we knew for sure. Again, we can chat about it then.

And I would imagine your TiVo up there's got a pretty cool rewind button. You can go back over any detail now that you've achieved omniscience... So at least now you know that Matt and I struggled with some fumbling through scripture from a bible and a bible-iPhone app. Did you hear it then, too? I also talked with you about how I might have coached you differently, had I known you were to grow into that massive 6'4" body. Many more George Mikan drills, right? Did we go over that enough when Jankowski and I coached you at Forest Lake Elementary? Did we play you at the Center/forward/power-forward position? Actually these days you could be a shooting guard too, at that height. Anyway, I think we could've improved our coaching of you, son. And I'm sorry about that.

I'm also sorry that I chose not to visit you in Amery on Christmas Eve. So sorry, now.

You know my heart now Max. And you know I could go on and on and on. But I am tired and there is no sense because you know my heart. And my loved ones on this side of heaven are worried about me. So please help me sleep tonight. Please quiet my soul.

I love you, Maxwell Schwolert. I love you!
Caesar Campbell
Caesar Campbell
To the Schwolert family,
My sincerest prayers go out to you and your family.  While I did not know Max or the Schwolert family personally.  While watching CNN the news grabbed me as if it were someone in my own family.  Tears running down my face I just felt compelled to write and donate.  Your sons pictures display a loving, kind and gentle spirit.  My prayer is that God will continue to provide strength and support for your family. 
I hope when I reach heaven I get a chance to meet your son, from just hearing about your loss and reading the kind messages he sounds like an outstanding young man!
May God bless you and keep you!
Caesar
Carol Solovitz
Carol Solovitz
Dear Tom, Mel and loved ones,


On January 16, I read an article in our local Lakeland, FL, paper about the flu and children. I was stunned to see the name Max Schwolert. When FIower Mound, TX, and Amery, WI, were mentioned, I knew the pain dealt to you by his death just after Christmas. As Christ entered our earthly existence, Max entered Christ's eternity. A cruel battle, even though the victory was won.  I have prayed and cried for you. Please know that my virtual arms are around you. A snail mail is on its way.


In faith, hope, and grace ~ Carol Solovitz


 
Kelly  Thomason
Kelly Thomason
Thank you, Phillip Schwolert, for touching my heart today with your words. I'm right there with feeling this is truly not my home. Felt that way ever since I let Jesus into my life way back in 1984. I taught Max when he was in 5th grade, and I knew he was different, in a good way, from the other 11 yr old boys in that class. As I have shared with his parents, I have vivid memory of him saying to me one day, "Mrs. Thomason, I'm glad that you believe in God." He felt the need to come over to my desk to tell me that, with a sincerity and depth that I have not seen with any child that I have ever taught in my 17 yrs of teaching. Now I know it is not in his nature to blurt this statement out, but instead he said this quietly and calmly, with a kindness in his tone. God reminded me of this so profoundly when I heard the news of his passing. I believe that He gave me this memory to share with Tom and Melanie. I could have shared it with them way back then, but instead it was kept locked away to share when it was most needed to be heard. I'm thankful that God gave me that. Max was a rare gem in a tough group that year. I'm glad that I was able to cross paths with him on this side of heaven.
Monica Jinright
Monica Jinright
I read your post Phil.  It made me smile.  I no longer live in Flower Mound but continue to read the posts made by people from all over.  It gives me a sense of peace knowing that Max is still being lifted up.  Max came into our lives about 7 years ago.  When they moved to Flower Mound.  I was talking to Tom about my son who I just couldnt get involved in church.  Tom said he had a son Nic's age and that we should introduce them.  They became fast friends - and Max did get Nic very involved in the youth.  That was the first gift Max gave to my family.  Only he didn't stop there.  The last 4 years they have had classses together.  It was Max who would say, "Will you be at Faithwalk tonight Nic? and Will I see you Sunday, Nic?"  Every class every week - that was Max's gift.  An unrelenting presense of God in Nic's life to help keep him strong in the Faith.  Nic and Max had an Economics class this semester together. Monday Nic forgot his pencil and he turned to Max's chair (cause Max always had extra pencils) and he realized once again Max wasn't there.  Nic said, "It was hard Mom, Max is really gone."  Max may be gone but he will never be forgotten in our families eyes.  We talk about him at our new church and pray for the family in our new Sunday School Classes.  Max's dream and passion to keep God always in our presense will never fade.  Today Nic finished his last class at Marcus High School.  I know Max will be with him silently asking him every Sunday, are you going to be in church today Nic?  Cause that is what Max always did for him!        
Diane Sponheim
Diane Sponheim
Dear Schwolerts, all,

Thank you for your continued BEAUTIFUL witness throughout this entire ordeal. You have all shined so brightly with God's unquenchable light, while being so blessedly honest about your pain and loss. My heart continues to be with you, and again, thank you for being vessels of God's goodness and love. I pray that as things quiet down now, God's love and peace will rush in like a wave to fill the Max-sized void in your lives.

Peace, dear friends,
Jim Moeller
Jim Moeller
Max,

Not much sense in writing this, because you are watching our every move anyway as of now. How is that omniscience, anyway? Do you like the view?

My life is changed now. And the change for my life is for forever. And it is because of you, Maxwell. Powerful one. I think that's quoting your father. I'd like to know, when I do finally meet you--whether you truly saw me from your hospital bed before they put you under...I think that was Weds nite, if I recall correctly. Maybe we can chat about it then. I was the guy in the hall, behind a person or two, that raised both hands above my head when I saw you.

And then I'd like to know the answer to that sort-of-cliche question about whether you can truly hear us when you're under anesthesia. We spoke to you, many of us. Maybe you heard every word? Maybe just for a while...perhaps there's a certain # on the screen we should pay attention that indicates when you can hear us...wish we knew for sure. Again, we can chat about it then.

And I would imagine your TiVo up there's got a pretty cool rewind button. You can go back over any detail now that you've achieved omniscience... So at least now you know that Matt and I struggled with some fumbling through scripture from a bible and a bible-iPhone app. Did you hear it then, too? I also talked with you about how I might have coached you differently, had I known you were to grow into that massive 6'4" body. Many more George Mikan drills, right? Did we go over that enough when Jankowski and I coached you at Forest Lake Elementary? Did we play you at the Center/forward/power-forward position? Actually these days you could be a shooting guard too, at that height. Anyway, I think we could've improved our coaching of you, son. And I'm sorry about that.

I'm also sorry that I chose not to visit you in Amery on Christmas Eve. So sorry, now.

You know my heart now Max. And you know I could go on and on and on. But I am tired and there is no sense because you know my heart. And my loved ones on this side of heaven are worried about me. So please help me sleep tonight. Please quiet my soul.

I love you, Maxwell Schwolert. I love you!
Patricia Fick
Patricia Fick
Uncle Phil,


Thanks for what you wrote.  Indeed, we will never feel right in this world because it is not our real home.  We are wearing our LOVE TO THE MAX T-shirts today at Concordia University, Texas.  May God be with all of Max's family and friends as they continue to grieve, love, and look forward to the greatest reunion ever in heaven.  Thank you Jesus for this sure hope!
Lynn Lurvey
Lynn Lurvey
Dear Family,I love to read the updates and devotionals reflecting on this journey that is so difficult.  You are all in my thoughts and prayers.  What great sorrow.  May our sweet Savior bring you peace and comfort moment by moment.I am praying for you right now.Love, Lynn
Jane Charlesworth
Jane Charlesworth
Dear Schwolerts all,
My name is Jane Steege Charlesworth and my heart is broken with the news of Max's death. My aunt Marie Steege Schwolert and Uncle Walt and my cousins Norm, Marion and Paula entertained the huge Steege clan on so many occasions. They are my most cherished childhood memories.
Cousins Norm, Marion, and Paula grew up in the parsonage I remember so fondly. We would gather around the diningroom table for saurbraten and katuffleklassen and the apple pie I still bake today.
Norm moved with Ruth to Texas and I never crossed paths with them again but the richness of those memories move me to connect today. I never met any of Norm's children or his grandchildren. For that I am sad. But I did know the Schwolerts and knowing them was, as my father Ted Steege would have said, "Like Heaven on Earth!" There is, for sure, a special room in heaven for the Steege/Schwolerts and Max will be greeted and embraced by all of them. What a family reunion!
I hope you feel the loving embrace of our HUGE family from the West Coast to the East Coast.
Love, Jane
Marilyn Sharpe
Marilyn Sharpe
Dearest Schwolerts,

I'm just guessing that this was the nature of Jesus' life ... not fitting into the world as it was.  Thank you, Phil, for naming this dislocation for all of us, for letting us gather to feel all of our feelings.

Thanks to all of you for allowing us to be on this wrenching journey of love and faithfulness, anger and sorrow, with you.

There is no moment that you are not all held in loving thoughts and constant prayers,
Marilyn
Terri Elton
Terri Elton
Phil -
Beautiful post, and right on brother!
Right on relationally, right on psychologically, and right on theologically.

I couldn't help but think of a parallel story as I was reading about "you all" fishing. The story is at the end of John's gospel. Jesus has died, and risen, and how what? So, "the brothers" go fishing. I'm not sure they texted those not with them and I'm not sure what "equipment" they used, but they tried to move forward...numb, in disbelief, saddened...and perhaps hopeful...but clearly without direction...so they returned to something familiar in hopes of discovering a path.

I'm not sure what the connection truly is between your story and the story of the disciples, but I do know returning to what we know, as we try to discover a way forward, numb and in disbelief,  does describe my world...because nothing is the same. I can't watch the news, attend a high school event, have dinner with my family, or go to worship without the last few days of 2012 and Max's unexpected death coming to the forefront of my mind. I can't forget your family - thinking about you and praying for you - even as I can't even begin to know the grief you are all experiencing. Many have been changed by both Max's death and his life and words don't capture what my soul knows to be true.
Please keep sharing your story, for perhaps as you invite us in a path with emerge.
Prayers continue!
Terri Elton
Stacy Kovach
Stacy Kovach
Beautiful words and message. Your family continues to be in our daily thoughts and prayers, and you are an inspiration to us. We admire your love and steadfast faith. Our prayers are for the Lord to wrap you all tightly in His loving embrace, pull you close and comfort you.
May God bless and be with you always~
Jeff, Stacy, Riley, & Olivia
Caesar Campbell
Caesar Campbell
To the Schwolert family,
My sincerest prayers go out to you and your family.  While I did not know Max or the Schwolert family personally.  While watching CNN the news grabbed me as if it were someone in my own family.  Tears running down my face I just felt compelled to write and donate.  Your sons pictures display a loving, kind and gentle spirit.  My prayer is that God will continue to provide strength and support for your family. 
I hope when I reach heaven I get a chance to meet your son, from just hearing about your loss and reading the kind messages he sounds like an outstanding young man!
May God bless you and keep you!
Caesar