June's Faith - Crossing Over
- Published on Thursday, 28 January 2010 17:25
- Written by Stanton O. Berg
This article for and of June consists of a collection of events relating to June's life of faith, events relating to "Crossing Over" and to the "Unseen World."
June has been a lady with a strong Christian faith for all of her life. She was born in a loving Christian family and, raised in a Christian Lutheran environment. June has been a strong believer in Jesus and the Christian faith. I have never seen June's faith waver. She has always practiced her faith and has been deeply involved in the Lutheran Church for all of her lifetime. June loved Gospel music. She was a member of the Redeemer Lutheran Church for over 50 years. It was only when Alzheimer's took away her memory and gradually took over her life, that she slowly slipped into another world and eventually went to her heavenly home. Her favorite Bible verse was:
"John 3:16 (KJV): For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life."
An article that reviews June's life in the Redeemer Lutheran Church can be found by clicking this link:
As I write this essay on June, I note that it was only a few days ago on 26 January 2010 that the 12th anniversary of June's Alzheimer's Diagnosis took place. For me this was an emotional, sad and melancholy day.
During that day, I listened to two (2) Gospel songs sung by Jimmy Swaggart who I consider to be one of the greatest singers of Gospel Music. Many people would only think of Swaggart as the Evangelist who was involved in a personal scandal in 1988....I believe his greatest talents are not as an Evangelist but as a singer and player of gospel music. (He is the past winner of numerous "Male Vocalist" and "Grammy" awards.) I have seen his music talent described as: "No one can sing Gospel like Jimmy Swaggart". I would agree.
Both of the songs were written by Thomas Dorsey who was the father of Gospel Music and in fact Dorsey coined the term "Gospel Music". He was an African American who was a genius as a song writer. His two songs are my favorites of all Gospel songs. Both of these beautiful songs were sung at June's funeral...("Peace in the Valley" and "Take My Hand Precious Lord".) "Peace in the Valley" was also sung at my mother Ellen (Nedland) Silbaugh's funeral just one year before June died.
Both June and my Mother were victims of Alzheimer's. Dorsey was also a victim of Alzheimer's, and died of this terrible disease. He died 5 years to the month and year (January 23rd, 1993) prior to the date that June was diagnosed and he died on the exact same day of the month (23rd) that June died. Many will say these three (3) references are all just coincidences...Perhaps...
Of these two songs, my very favorite song (and a favorite of June's) is "Take My Hand Precious Lord"...Dorsey wrote this song immediately after his wife Nettie and his infant son died in childbirth. It was first recorded August 16th, 1938...the day and month of our anniversary....another coincidence? This song has been said to be the greatest of all Gospel songs. It was published in 40 languages and made a part of the Christian Music Hall of Fame. Not only was it sung at June's funeral but also at Martin Luther King Jr. and President Lyndon Johnson's funerals.
My focus on the song "Take My Hand Precious Lord" dates to late 2007. One afternoon as June was napping, I was sitting outside of the small Chapel (Holy Spirit Chapel) at the Benedictine Health Care Center having a cup of coffee. This was only a week or so after my mother’s funeral in late October 2007. Fran O'Connor, the Chaplain was playing some hymns on the Chapel piano. One hymn she was playing I recognized as a favorite of June's but could not put a name to the tune or recall the words. The Hymn was beautiful. It caused me to become very emotional. When Fran finished playing the hymn, I asked her what the name was. She told me it was “Take My Hand Precious Lord.” I then recalled the name and some of the words.
I subsequently obtained a CD recording of this song by Elvis. ("Elvis Presley - Amazing Grace - His Greatest Sacred Performances - 2 CD's") I then used this CD to play for June every day when I was at the Benedictine Health Care Center as June was nearing the end of her afternoon nap. I had a copy of the lyrics and would sing along with the recording... (I am not much of a singer but the recording effectively concealed my musical shortcomings.)
June's Spirit as a Bird at her Funeral
As indicated above, "Take My Hand Precious Lord" was one of the songs that we arranged to have played by violin and a vocalist at June's funeral...My daughter Julie said that as the song was ending, and out of the corner of her eye, she thought she saw a bird fly across in front of the alter....Her first reaction was to wonder what was a bird doing in the church sanctuary. If Julie really did see a bird, then I am sure it was June's spirit on it's way to heaven. Although no one else reported seeing a bird does not mean Julie did not see one...We do not all perceive the same.. We are not all endowed with or have the same powers of observation or perception. I recall that Julie mentioned the event to me immediately after the funeral service...I have thought of it often over the ensuing months...just a few days ago I again asked her about it and she reaffirmed the event. She reported what she saw was a movement from her right to her left. (She was sitting with the family in the front row on the left side of the church.) She recalled looking around to see if anyone else had noted it. After the service she even asked one of her friends Pam Stenstrom, who also served as a pall bearer, if she had seen anything unusual. She described the movement as a short period of time, similar to what one sees in the reflection and movement of a car headlight on a dark bedroom ceiling at night...
I mentioned this event to Erma Jean Yates, an ordained lady Minister from Tennessee, now retired. This lady visited June's web site a short time ago and experienced a startling and unusual vision of receiving a rose from June. (This story is related below in this collection of events.) Her reaction to Julie's story was:
" It is very interesting about the bird your daughter saw flying across the alter. I believe her 100%. My brother died one year ago tomorrow of cancer. We were very close although he was the baby boy. I went to Ohio, two days before he passed, he called my name and woke me from sleep. It was all very painful. I returned home after a week. Each evening and morning I'd cry for him. I could not believe he was gone. ...I was laying in bed crying for him. A bird came to my bedroom window and starting singing.. more a call than singing... loud and clear, almost urgently.. Immediately I begin to smile. It was Ronnie, my brother! I jumped out of bed, trying to see the bird... then I ran through to the patio and there this big bird sat, calling and looking me in the eye. "Oh, Ronnie, thank you" I replied. "I won't cry anymore." The bird came each morning, waking me up with his call...I don't know what kind of bird it was; I showed him to Jarrelle. (Grandson) We looked for him on the internet, couldn't find one like it...This went on for about a week and then the bird stopped coming. I have No doubt that it was my brother...If we trust God to show us, He will show us wondrous things in the most simple ways. We must allow our soul to be open and available, like a child, to hear beyond hearing and to see with more than eyes."
Here is the link below to the song "Take My Hand Precious Lord" as done by Swaggart:
Below is the link to "Peace in the Valley", also by Swaggart:
June appears in a vison to Rev. Erma Jean Yates!
Rev. Erma Jean Yates is an interesting lady, not only because she is a retired Minister, but also because she, like June, was a lady of very humble beginnings. Erma Yates was born in Hickory Ridge Township, Arkansas on 28 January 1945, as the daughter of an African American share cropper and a blacksmith. Her mother was a blend of Cherokee/Native American and African American. Erma was the 7th child of 11 children. The family later moved to Ohio where she completed High School. She was able to enter Livingstone College in Salisbury, North Carolina where she studied for the Ministry. Erma's uncle was the head of the Seminary. This same uncle was also the Pastor of the largest African American Church in Greensboro, NC. (Mt. Olivet African Methodist E. Zion Church.) She completed her education at Roane State College in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.
Rev. Erma Jean was ordained and licensed as a Minister in Tennessee, with a Ministry that covered all of east Tennessee. Formerly associated with the Mt. Sinai Baptist Church, Clinton, Tennessee. She has a sister Lana who is a minister in Beverly Hills, CA. Rev. Erma left the Ministry following a physically abusive marriage that ended in divorce. I thought it was interesting to note that Rev. Erma was/is a collector of Angel Dolls just as June was an enthusiastic Angel Doll collector.
Rev. Erma is a surviving victim of breast cancer.
Rev. Erma has had a number of unusual lifetime experiences and visions, some of which are documented in this article. Rev. Erma appears to possess a very unique and rare sensitivity and perception of the "unseen world" found in very few people. Below is Rev. Erma's story of her unusual connection with June...Rev. Erma (4/15/2010) also tells me that when she visits June's web site:
"Now sometimes when I go to a specific section of June's site, I am hearing music as I read... For you and June's I hear "Tennessee Waltz..", for the memorials I hear "Take My Hand.." and all the others songs the two of you loved so much... playing quietly in the background in the various sections."...Erma.
Rev. Erma originally visited June's website on 17 December 2009. As a result of that visit, Rev. Erma left a very touching and kind note in June's Guestbook. (Reproduced below.)
I could not contain my tears at what a wonderful, loving site you have made for June... everything is so beautiful, so loving and precious...This shall always be with me...I have seen with my eyes how life is meant to be, the love and caring between a couple. You are both so very beautiful in the photos...I can see and feel love radiating. You are both so cute... I'm so happy for what you had... which can never disappear...so very happy for you. You are blessed.
God then arranged a special meeting of June and I with the Reverend Erma Yates in cyber space…I had just gone online to write a thank you note to the Reverend Erma Yates for her kind guest book entry and discovered that Rev. Erma at that same moment was also online…
We then started a real time internet written exchange online…Reverend Erma who had noted that I frequently gave June Roses, was telling me that she Erma, had never received a gift rose or roses in her lifetime...she told me of her own divorce from a severely physically abusive marriage...I then decided that in June’s behalf, I would arrange to have roses delivered to Reverend Erma and told her so…as she protested that this would not be necessary the following startling event then took place…
God and June took over…
This is word for word the email response received from the Reverend Erma:
"Henceforth, whenever I see a rose, I will think of June...
Something just fluttered in my heart...
in a quick vision... I saw her, June, giving me a rose... she is so beautiful... Oh, my God!! It seems I KNOW her! ... OH my God... Now I am crying..."
"The rose is a Christmas gift for me"
"She is happy, loves you, very bright and happy.."
It appeared to me that June had intervened in our email exchange and presented Erma with a Rose. Needless to say, this left me very emotional...
Later in early January, Rev. Erma reaffirmed what had happened and added that June had smiled at her as she handed her the rose during the vision that flashed in her mind. Yes, a radiant smile was always June's signature!
I brought this rather unusual event to the attention of our Redeemer Lutheran Pastors.
Our senior Pastor at Redeemer Lutheran Church in Fridley is Dr. David Glesne, a native Minnesotan who received a B.A. from Concordia College, Moorhead, Minnesota, a M. Div. from Luther Seminary, St. Paul, Minnesota, and a D. Min. degree from Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, California.
He has been a pastor of churches in Illinois, California and Minnesota. He also serves on the faculty of the Master’s Institute, a graduate level seminary in the Minneapolis – St. Paul area.
Pastor Glesne made the following comment:
"Stan, I believe in a God that can reveal things like this to us at junctures of our lives. Take it as another confidence that God is with you and June is with him.
Subsequently our Redeemer Lutheran associate Pastor, Scott Nocton also made a comment:
"Stan, I would accept what she says as a gift. Pastor Scott"
Editorial Note:I mentioned earlier that Rev. Erma Jean Yates has had many interesting personal experiences and visions that suggest God's presence through his angels.The following will serve as a good example of one such experience that I feel is worthy of documenting in this article.
"Years ago, I (Rev. Erma Jean Yates) was very ill and admitted to the hospital where I worked. I had a cardiac emergency. I remember my sisters and mother standing around as they raised the foot of my bed very high because my blood pressure was dropping. I remember the emergency cart being pulled over to my bed and doctors and nurses running around the bed.
I awoke in the middle of the night. My family was gone and standing near the side of my bed was a black lady dressed in green scrubs similar to a nurse's aid. She wore one of those old fashioned white ruffled caps... she had her hand on my forehead and said "Erma Jean do you want to live?" I said yes. She then said "you are going to have to drink all this water if you want to live." I said I would. Through out the night, she gave me sips of water which was cool and sweet tasting. Whenever I opened my eyes she would be there, holding my head up saying "drink this water if you want to live." Sometimes she put cold towels on my head. I was burning up with fever. Once I asked her where did my mother and sister go and she told me they were down the hall.
When I woke again, it was morning, I could not sit up but could see an RN sitting at the foot of my bed which was not longer raised. I looked around the room for the nurse's aid that had taken care of me. The RN said that no one had taken care of me except her. she said that nurse's aides did not work with intensive care patients, only RN's and she had been mine for the night. I told her what the lady had said, how she was dressed. She replied: "No, Erma, first of all, you're NPO, "nothing per oral", especially water.. that's why we have these IV fluids going. - I am the only one who has been in here last night. You were probably dreaming."
As soon as my mother and sisters came in, I told them about the woman and how she was dressed. Immediately my mother asked - "What did she look like". I said "In a way, she looked like you Momma, but darker skin, somewhat short, a little plump, thin lips and pretty eyes. My mother replied "That was my mother taking care of you." I believe it "- my deceased Grandmother appeared as an angel to take care of me during the night." (Erma had never known her maternal grandmother and no family photographs were available.)
Historical figures in an event suggesting a lifting of the veil of "God's Unseen World"
The post death Vision of C.S. Lewis (Novelist, Poet, Lay-Theologian): - John Bertram “J.B.” Phillips The Bible Translator, writer, clergyman and close friend of C.S. Lewis reported that while at his home in Oxford, Phillips had a vision of his friend Lewis that appeared to him while in his chambers behind closed doors. At the time of the vision Lewis was said to have already just died at his home at “The Kilns” miles away and a short time before his appearance to Phillips!
At the time of the vision, J. B. Phillips was in a deep depression…He refused to leave his chambers, refused food or exercise, and seriously questioned his faith in God. It was during this time of depression that suddenly, Lewis stood before him, as a “healthy Lewis, hearty and glowing” as Phillips later recorded the incident.
In this vision, Lewis was said to have spoke only one sentence to Phillips: “‘J.B., it’s not as hard as you think”.’ Lewis then disappeared. The effect of the short visit and remark was to snap Phillips out of his depression and resulted in the restoration of his faith.
When Phillips later emerged from his chambers, he found that Lewis had died shortly before this appearance. His death took place at the Lewis home in "The Kilns”,miles away after collapsing in his bedroom. Phillips is said to have considered the “wonder” of this event and never returned to his depression and continued his Christian work.
It has been suggested that this was a case of God giving a detour to a soul on the way to heaven by way of a special friend, to save him. It has also been suggested that this is recorded evidence of the highest order, by persons of the highest order: (Lewis and Phillips.) The story not only a benevolent story, but redemptive suggesting an element of authenticity. The death took place on 22 November 1963, the same day as the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. ("The Ring of Truth", J. B. Phillips, 1967)
© 2010 Stanton O. Berg
Dona Gondwe - London, United Kingdom - (29 August 2012): "A very moving article on a very moving site. Thanks for sharing."
Paula Orman Hall - Memphis, Tennessee - (19 september 2013): "I believe ALL of these things happened."
Donald Hiatt - Clovis, California - (19 September 2013): "Stan, you have done a yeoman's job of recording some of God's handiwork. I am convinced that God interacts with us in many ways, and regularly. To often we want to write off His actions as coincidence. The beautiful thing is that while He is comforting us here, He is preparing a place for us in heaven. I have enjoyed several excursions through June's website, and I am looking forward to meeting her in heaven one day. Blessings and Peace...Don."
Marsha McKneely Ault - Nacogdoches, Texas - (19 September 2013): "...Wow...This is for Stan.!
(Marsha is a poet friend from Texas who was also a caregiver for her Dad who later passed on from Alzheimer's ...)
Marsha also has her own a page of poetry on June's website...her page of poetry is located under the drop down menu "Tributes"....
Moses’ hand lifted his rod to part the sea.
The children of Israel crossed over to be free.
A coincident? Insignificant?
Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego refused to bow
in the fire not a hair singed. . .how?
A coincident? Insignificant?
The tomb stench confirmed Lazarus was dead,
yet the Savior called him forth from his bed.
A coincident? Insignificant?
At June’s farewell, her daughter glimpsed a bird fly
“Precious, Lord, take my hand”, as she bid good bye.
A coincident? Insignificant?
Nay! It was done in the Lord’s way.
Marion Reinartz - Cologne, Germany - 20 September 2013): "Yes Stanton, Dementia is also an unseen Spirit World, I mean too ... a world nobody knows, until ... Love to you ... Love to June ...... I hope you and your Family are fine ... look after yourself ... may God bless you all! Lots of Love to you and your friends over the ocean ... I am thinking of you very often ..."
Bonnie Seip - Ottsville, Pennsylvania - (21September 2013): "I read Junes page and I was in tears as I read every word ... The day my Dad passed away I was a complete mess it was unexpected and I was in shock ... At his funeral I sat in a very numb position unaware of what would happen next . At the service the Pastor asked if anyone would like to say anything about Mr Barry Sullivan who was my dad ... As I sat in the front row with my family I felt someone push me from behind to get up and speak to the many friends and family who were present . And I did. The force of someone pushing me from behind made me get up ... Unprepared as to what I would say I only remember bits and pieces of what I said but it is the fact that someone pushed me from behind to this day I believe it was my Dad ... I spoke for approx 10 mins but I know in my heart God and my Dad were there to help me through his loss. God wanted to comfort me and Dad wanted me to say a little something in his memory...it is not about a bird or a rose it is a fact that our father exists and people have to realize there is life in the after world . My husbands Dad had been taken to the hospital for severe abdominal pain unbeknown to us he had a aneurysm and could not be saved . As we sat on the second floor waiting in the family area a Bird hit the window...with that my Husband said "Bon my dad just passed away".... The bird was telling him that...shortly afterwards the Dr came out of the OR and said I'm very sorry but your father just passed away .... The Bird was telling us this as he hit the window .... May God Bless you and yours ....What a Beautiful women ..... I wish I would of known her I'm so sure she has touched Many Many lives. I know she would of touched my life . God Bless her ..."
Richard Criscione - Cliffside Park, New Jersey - (21 September 2013): "Stan, I read; June and the miracle of the bird and the roses. Without doubt there are miracles or events that happen often,that are so profoundly connected to other events or times, that we marvel at , and,yes, I believe God's hand is in on it for us to enrich our faith in Him. August 16 ,by the way is the day my Father was born,so, another "coincidence "has occurred. The day before, and, the day that my Father died suddenly, a mourning dove sang in the tree outside, in my backyard. Was he telling us there would be mourning of a soul the next day? Perhaps ? It certainly frightened my Grandmother at the time, who ,was a religious, churchgoing (everyday) person. Each day God speaks to us, but as mortals, we don't always hear Him. But if we hold his love close to us, the frequency of our vision of His love becomes 20/20. Thanks for sharing your story... Richard."
Christine Pickard - Lincoln, Lincolnshire, United Kingdom - (24 September 2013): "This is an amazing journey, when your loved one has Alzheimer's, it is one you never forget, we do this out of love, at times it is very, very, hard, and with gods help, and prayers, this gives some comfort.With June ,she was a special lady, her faith was with love and dedication, it was her life, with Stanton, they are Soul mates. I would have loved to have met June ,happy ,caring lady, Who made people feel at ease ,and comfortable...... the dratted dementia took over June's life ,a very brave lady !!!! the stories about june while she had Dementia, was a learning one, and i understood, as my lovely mum, has Vascular Dementia, and now lives in a nursing home, and is happy there, she still knows me .....With June she is now at peace, and the Angels are around, june is not suffering now, but keeping a close eye on her husband Stanton, Who was a caring, gentleman, who did his very best and still does to this day, by helping people, with June's Page...Thank you, god bless ..."
Maura Buddy Bear - Dublin, Ireland - (24 September 2013): "Stan I too believe that your daughter saw a bird at June's funeral, when my father died I slept in his bedroom because I wanted to feel close to him. I closed the bedroom window before going to bed and the next morning when I opened the curtains there was a bird behind the curtains. It was a strange looking bird one that I did not recognise and it wasn't a small bird . That night when I was going to bed I checked behind the curtain to check there was no bird there and the next morning when I pulled back the curtain the bird was there again. There was no open window and it was beyond belief how the bird got in. It was only later that I thought this was some sort of a sign from my father."
Kaley Johnson - Duluth, Minnesota - (20 February 2014): "Thank you for sharing. Just wonderful!"
Sylvia Sharon Ferguson Helton - Leader, Saskatchewan, Canada - (21 September 2014): "Brother Stanton.. I always enjoy your writings about your beautiful wife, June...you gave her a love that few women ever have...a GODLY love...and I am so thankful that you share her here also,... Many Blessings upon you, Dear Brother."
Stefanie Irwin-Bates - Nanaimo, British Columbia - (23 September 2014): "Lovely Stan."
Catherine Jones-Hatcher - Richmond, Virgiania - (23 September 2014): "I returned to this page tonight. I remember reading of the bird before and believing Julie's account. I must not have read further because I do not remember Erma's story. Both the rose and the visit from her grandmother really touched me. What a sweet connection."
Connie Lowers O'Brien - Decatur, Tennessee - (6 November 2014): "This is a beautiful story!"
Susu Ibie - London, United Kingdom - (27 Janaury 2015): "Very moving Stanton. She sounds like a very nice person. (Rev. Erma) May God keep you alive longer than you dare to live in Jesus name."
Nancy Carrillo - New Bedford, Massachusetts - (27 January 2015): "Wow that gave me chills just wonderful."
Maureen Elcome - London, United Kingdom - (27 January 2015): "Another wonderful story."
William Wilson - Rhyl, United Kingdom - (27 January 2015): "Hi Stan. A Wonderful True Story. Cheerio Bill."
Sherrie Penner Terning - Cokato, Minnesota - (27 January 20150: "Awesome. .. That's the only word I can come up with right now!"
Barbara Rayner - Leigh-on-Sea, United Kingdom - (28 January 2015): "This has bought a smile to my face the same time as tears are rolling down my face. God bless you Stan, June and the Rev. Erma."
Janet Tervit Hart - Glasgow, United Kingdom - (28 January 2015): "Beautiful and uplifting story Stanton...always makes me happy and sad bless you."
Lauren Champkin - London, United Kingdom - (28 January 2015): "Lovely story ."
Debbie Reid - (13 June 2015): "Very interesting. I really needed to hear this story."
Joyce Dunne - Liverpool, United Kingdom - (13 June 2015): "I went to see him (Lewis) when I was a child ,I went with my Sunday school."
Ruth Hart Moulton - Turkey, North Caroling - (16 March 2016): "She paid you an 'indirect visit'.....love the story."
Jackie Irving - Liverpool, United Kingdom - (24 September 2016): Absolutely fascinating story Stan ...I loved it ...how kind of you to to send her cards and gifts ...it's a privlidge to call some people our friends isn't it... hope your well Stan ....take care Stan and God bless ."
Alicia Vargas - Tucson, Arizona - (25 September 2016): 'It takes but one person to make a change in ones life and she was blessed with it being you! What an amazing story! Blessings to you both!"
Ena Castle - Brisbane, Australia - (26 September 2016): "How very awe inspiring .Thank you Stanton."
Donna J. Burtch - Columbus Ohio - (17 December 2016: "And, this was lovely. Birds have played prominently in my family funeral stories. June, as I shared once before, was my mother's name...is my middle name. She was also a victim of crappy Alzheimer's. Thank you for sharing June with us."
For a discussion of Spirits of the “Unseen World” not of God but of the realm of Satan, the Devil and their kingdom of non believers, see the essay on a series of incidents that have involved the Berg-Rolstad Family and found on this website. These are incidents relating to the past farm home of Haldis and Henry Rolstad east of Cameron (June’s Mother and Father) and the current home of Julie Berg in Columbia Heights. (June’s youngest daughter.) - Click on the below link:
After battling Alzheimer's for almost 12 years, an exhausted June was finally called home by God on October 23rd, 2008. Her funeral notice as published in the Minneapolis Star in October 2008 can be seen on this website under the "In Memoriam" label - Click on:
June's Favorite Home
For the story of June’s favorite home at 6025 Gardena Lane and the poem I wrote about this home during a day of deep sadness, click on the below link. This home was June’s home for almost 40 years. It was constructed shortly after the previous home was severely damaged in a tornado. 6025 Gardena Lane was the first home the June participated in the selection and purchase of a lot on a small hill, helped with the design of the home and watched it being constructed. 6025 Gardena Lane had a special place in June's heart. as it does mine: