A Mother’s Day Tribute: A Love of 48 Years in Sickness and in Health

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SCHOOLCRAFT, Mich. (May 11, 2014) – Bob and Gloria Aspergren celebrated 48 years of marriage April 28.

They live what they call a “simple life,” but their lives seem anything but that. Together they wove a selfless love throughout their close-knit family, who now cares for them when they need help the most.

Bob wished his wife Gloria, “Happy Mom’s Day,” and kissed her while they were sitting next to each other on their deck.

“I only hope that one day I can have a love like my grandparents share,” said Brooke Munson, a granddaughter.

In 1975 Bob and Gloria bought 40 acres of land after setting their sights on farmland in Schoolcraft. Gloria recalled a yellow peace rose that bloomed there during November that year, and called that the foundation of their family home: peace.

“We have made so much out of these years, and our love has gotten so much stronger than it ever would seem possible through this disease,” said Gloria.

Her husband and father of two daughters, Bob, was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2010. Then, just months ago, their family learned Bob is also battling brain cancer.

“Hopefully, a little bit of God gives us a little push now and then. We’re going to make it,” said Bob.

Then in February, Gloria underwent her second, recent heart surgery after having a stroke; but Gloria says she is determined to care for her husband in their home, together.

“For Bob it is a place that I would like him to stay until the end, and hopefully God’s going to let us do that,” she said.

Their daughters, Michelle Sremba and Jill Wood, said Gloria was always a caregiver. They called their mother their “rock” who has never-ending strength.

“She was always taking in somebody that needed help: that extra bedroom upstairs always went to whoever needed a place to stay; whether it was a couple weeks, a month, a year, it was there,” said Jill.

And Gloria’s loving spirit is ingrained in their grandchildren. Two granddaughters smiled through tears, as they remembered countless shopping trips for nearly every dress they’ve worn.

“Why am I happy all the time? Because of my grandma: She always looks at the positive things in life, and makes the best out of everything. That’s what I’ve learned to do,” Hannah Sremba said to her grandmother.

Now family friends ask for help for Bob and Gloria now, because they say they never would.

“Caring for somebody who is terminally ill, and caring for them at home, is unimaginable for people like you and I,” said family friend Robin Feist.

Loved ones ask for prayers and for strength, to allow Bob and Gloria to be together, and stay the “hole-in-one” golfing and motorcycle racing couple that they are.

“If He needs to take Bob to heaven, when He does He will, and I told him he’s got to find the best golf course in the world and meet me at the gates with the cart. So that’s our goal, right?” Gloria said while laughing and in tears to her husband.

The Aspergrens said they thank God and are working towards their goal: they pray for Bob to be healthy enough to attend their granddaughter Brooke’s graduation from Schoolcraft High School June 1.

Robin said Bob and Gloria need a new stove and a refrigerator. Already the community has stepped up to help the family; in fact, a contractor already offered to repair a leaky window.

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