My Last Gift From June - 2003
- Published on Thursday, 26 June 2008 04:00
- Written by Stanton O. Berg
(October 2003 - June and Stan at June's Class of 1946 Reunion, Colfax, WI)
Early into the year of 2003, June was entering the 6th year since she was first diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in January 1998. but in her 7th year of the disease. This was a year in which changes in June’s cognitive condition were easily recognized as Alzheimer’s began to take more and more control of her life.
This would be the last year that Alzheimer's would permit June to purchase a gift for me on her own without help of others.In March of 2003, June purchased a little booklet for me as a gift. June would frequently buy me spontaneous little gifts from time to time with out any special occasion prompting such a gift. I looked at them all as love gifts.
The little booklet that she bought for me was titled “To My Very Special Husband.” “To Give and To Keep.” On the back cover the contents are described as: “A collection of some of the kindest and warmest things that have been written about men.”
The title page states: “Keep this little book somewhere ordinary, where your eyes may fall on it a dozen times a day. So that, wherever I am, you will be reminded of me – and of how much I love you.”
I find that I cannot read the above instruction without getting all emotional and choked up.
Inside the cover was a place to enter the name of the person receiving the gift, the name of the person giving the gift and the date of the gift. When I received this gift from June on March 15th, 2003, she had not filled in this gift information in the spaces provided. Because of the significance of this gift and of the timing of the gift, and knowing that perhaps it would be the last such gift from June, I requested that she complete the filling in of the gift information. She did so very carefully and slowly because of her Alzheimer’s handicap. Even so, we had to white out an error she had made in the year of the gift. June was then able to correctly enter the proper year. It was only two years later, almost to the day, that June was placed in the care of an Alzheimer's facility on March 16th 2005.
This little booklet has 24 un-numbered pages that contain 45 love notes, poems and writings by many authors. All are writings and words of love!
Examples of some of the writings - On opening the first two pages and the next two pages one sees these words of love:
"He lights my world with love and laughter. He
gives to all my days the warm promise of Spring,
and because of him I am every young. So,
Darling, for yesterday, today and all my tomorrows,
my love and my thanks." -
"He's the guy who makes me say to God every day,
"Thanks for this guy, God;" -
On the last two pages of this little book of love are these beautiful little writings:
"My husband is humble and when he says,
Why do you love me? I am so ordinary",
It hurts because I can never find the words to tell
him he is my whole world."
(V. M. Hales)
"Your presence pervades the house.
Even when you are away I find myself listening for you.
I Open every door, half expecting to find you there -
Turn to speak and feel my heart die a little in the silence.
You are in my mind and in my heart.
You are in the very air I breathe.
Your are part of me. Forever."
"I love thee with the breath, smiles, tears, of all my life"
(Elizabeth Barrett Browning)
Almost immediately after giving me the little booklet, June presented me with a cute little "I Love You" frog, book page marker.
This little booklet gift remains on the night stand next to our bed. I see it at least a few times every day, touch it daily and read it often. .As this is my last gift from June, it is one of my most treasured and valued possessions. The little frog book marker is kept by the little booklet, also as a treasured possession. I am sure that June would never have thought that this little set of inexpensive gifts would become of such importance and such a treasure to me or that they would be looked at and touched by me on a daily basis!
(Below - photo of cover of this little book and the inside page showing gift details and date in June’s handwriting)
(Below is the "I Love You" Frog book page marker)
(Below - Photo of June and Stan at last forensic conference together - 2003)
To read the letters to the Children for the year 2003, reflecting the progress of Alzheimer's in this 6th year from diagnosis, please click on the below link:
Donald Hiatt - Clovis, California - (30 April 2014): "It's an amazing little book. You are blessed to have a wonderful memory of receiving it, just as I'm sure June was blessed in the giving. Grace and Peace...don."
Bridie Breen - Manchester, United Kingdom - (1 May 2014): "Stan, that is very touching story. Isn't it amazing how the smallest thing can matter so much. I have a picture of my mum on the mantelpiece. I doubt if my own children notice it any more but every day there will be occasions when my eyes drift to it, she is always close in thought. Comparing yours and Junes time in 2003, to similar period in my life.... I became separated that year, divorced year later. Horrible time for number of years after that, health in particular. Yet many good things too. I wear a single silver ring where my wedding rings were, as I felt the loss .It was my mother's Rosary prayer ring, she used it to pray and it is comforting.I am certain June's gift to you brings heartfelt warmth. Many go through this life without ever feeling love at all."
Amy Stiel Almas - Waterford, Michigan - (1 May 2014): "This brought tears to my eyes..."
Melissa Vaughan - Newburgh, Indiana - (1 May 2014): "Be sure Stan that you make it known that this book goes to someone special after you are gone...its story needs to keep going..."
Fallon Flowers - Daleville, Alabama - (22 September 2015): "Stan, thank you for sharing such a beautiful memory!"'
Deborah Jay - Fair Lawn, New Jersey - (22 September 2015): "WHEN YOU LOSE THE LOVE OF YOUR LIFE, BELIEVE IT OR NOT THEY BECAME YOUR ANGEL UNTIL YOU BOTH MEET AGAIN. GOD BLESS...TO FIND TRUE LOVE LIKE THIS **IS NOT ON THIS PLANET**! GOD BLESS THEM FOREVER! AMEN"
Anne Donnelly - Belfast, United Kingdom - (22 September 2015): "She's the love of your life Stan I'm sure you miss her deeply . And miss her so much .it's very hard to lose ones so dear. Bless you Stan."
Helen Kiely O'Regan - Cork, Ireland - (22 September 2015): "It's important to have things like this to cherish. My husband has dementia and isn't able to get me cards or little gifts anymore either. So I treasure all the cards that he got me before. We are only together for 6 years and married for 3."
Lesley Pedder - Milton, Keynes, United Kingdom - (22 September 2015): "Oh, to have found love like that!"
Donna Dischert Blake - Havertown, Pennsylvania - (22 September 2015): "Your stories are magical. You are blessed in a special way. God Bless."
Vicki Cadogan - Limerick, Ireland - (22 September 2015): "Beautiful Stan."
Linda Brannan - Glasgow, United Kingdom - (23 September 2015): "Treasured little things with so very much love behind them which makes them priceless."
Paula Valentino - Palm Harbor, Florida - (23 September 2015): "The best any of us can hope for is to half 1/4 of the relationship you and June had. You were both so lucky..."
Toots Scudder - London, United Kingdom - (23 September 2015): "Oohh Stanton, the love the love the love the love wonderful."
Marsha McKneely Ault - Nacogdoches, Texas - (23 September 2015): "You and June touch something very deep inside of my heart. . . .I think I could write and write of your forever love. You are an inspiration in a world where true, real, selfless love rarely exists any more. Thank you my friend.
June’s Last Love Gift
Something so small,
seemingly so insignificant
placed upon my night stand
fills me with such joy,
such incredible delight.
Sometimes a mere touch
comforts my lonely heart,
recharges my weary bones,
and gladdens my soul.
Other days I read
the small booklet
from the front cover
to the very last page.
As I rub my fingers
over her signature,
from my eyes
and trickle down
Her priceless gift
given so long ago
Neila Kepley - Mount Pleasant, North Carolina - (24 September 2015): "I can tell what a loving and kind woman she was Stanton. I feel the same way about my husband of 21 yrs now. He gives me the sweetest most special gifts. I would not take a million dollars for them. Your love story is one that really touches my heart. One day we will all be up there with June and what a great time we will all have. Sending thoughts and prayers to you for the good Lord to give you great comfort and peace knowing that we will be reunited. Love you my friend."
After an almost 12 year journey into the shadows of Alzheimer's, early one morning in late October 2008, an exhausted June felt God's gentle touch on her shoulder and heard the words: "Come Home June!" As June lay like a wounded soldier on a battlefield, it was God's Angels that ushered June into a Heavenly Kingdom to the sound of a chorus of Angels...and into June's new home, a "Mansion on the Hilltop", where there is no pain, nor illness nor tears...June's funeral notice as published in the Minneapolis Star in October 2008 can be seen on this website in the drop down menu under the "In Memoriam" label - just Click on: