My Last Birthday Card From June - 2003
- Published on Saturday, 26 July 2008 01:38
- Written by Stanton O. Berg
(June in Philadelphia - May 2003 - City Tavern - George Washington's Favorite)
My last birthday card (2003 - 75th Birthday) from June was undelivered and unsigned - another casualty of Alzheimer's.
June loved cards and whenever a card shop was nearby, June would soon be browsing it. While the cover would first attract her attention, it was the inside words or verse that determined if she would make it hers. This last birthday card may have been purchased during our visit to Philadelphia for the Forensic Firearms Conference during the month of May 2003.
This was June's seventh (7th) year of Alzheimer's. June was still doing well but Alzheimer's was rapidly closing in on her. This was the last year that we would be comfortable in traveling to forensic conferences. It was in the fall of 2003 that our attendance at the Minnesota State forensic conference (MN Division IAI) at St. Cloud, would be the last conference that we would be able to attend. June's early stage of Alzheimer's was rapidly drawing to a close.
The following year 2004, saw June entering middle stages of this cruel disease and many sad changes in her personality began to take place. I am thankful that we were able to do so much and have so many joyful adventures together in the first 7 years of her journey into the dark storm clouds and shadows of the relentless Alzheimer's.
The photo at the bottom of the page shows June and me at our daughter Julie's home on Christmas Eve. One can already see that June's face has taken on a faded look and much of the light is gone from her signature smile! There is a significant difference in June's face from earlier in the year to the year end.
I found this last birthday card in 2005, shortly after June left our home to live in a nursing home. (16 March 2005) I found It mixed in with a pile of other new but miscelaneous cards that June had purchased. I assume that it was intended for 2003 - my 75th birthday, and that it was purchased that year but with her memory problems, it was never delivered. It was a sentimental and emotional moment.
Being the sentimental old fool that I am, the beauty of the words caught my breath - how could I have been so richly blessed as to have June and her love for a lifetime....
(Below is the cover of this last undelivered birthday card.)
(Below is the inside of the card and the words.)
(Photo below - June and Stan - Christmas Eve - 2003 at daughter Julie's home.)
Note to the Reader: To review copies of the actual letters sent to June's children during the year 2003, describing june's 7th year with Alzheimer's, click on the below link:
Sue Jeffers - Valparaiso, Indiana - (6/14/2012): "That is a beautiful thing to raise awareness! Oh loved the red birthday card story that got lost in June's memory, what a nice surprise for you to find it at a later date, enjoyed the story!!!”
Isabel Harper - Belfast, UK - (6/14/2012): “The sentiment of the words inside the card tug at my heartstrings...I think you were a gift from God to each other...”
Patricia Higgins - Glasgow, UK - (6/14/2012): “Beautiful Stanton and what a life story…touched me so much…because Robert and I have the same love for each other too.”
Ursula Zarecki Sypniewski - Toms River, New Jersey - (6/14/2012): "Stan, you have touched so many lives with your dedication to spreading awareness and your amazing love story about you and June! It had reached people worldwide! That is a great achievement! Hope you have a Happy Birthday today! Your beauty June will be celebrating with you! I know you will feel it in your heart!"
Tara Lodzinski - Kamloops, BC, Canada - (6/14/2012): “June always looks pretty in all the photos I've seen.”
Amy Stiel Almas - Waterford, Michigan - (28 June 2013): "So sweet, Stan!"
Dianne Cogar - Springfield, Ohio - (28 June 2013): "...another year having you to love." What a beautiful and selfless way of sharing a birthday with your "one and only." In June's message that "you are a gift to her," this just goes to show how greatly cherished you were, and how meaningful she thought your lives together was. How happy she must have been loving you! Marriage should ONLY be like the one that you and June pledged to, and so openly professed all those years."
The "Memoriam" article published in the Minneapolis Star - Tribune following June's death in October 2008, can be seen on this website by clicking the below link. It can also be found on the website on the top navigation strip of the home page under the "In Memoriam" label: