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Missing June...In My Heart and on My Mind at Christmas Time!

June in Christmas wreath

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Today was another one of those many days…those days in which I have been missing June…today is December 10th in the year 2013...5 years since June was called home to Heaven...while June is always in my heart and on my mind, this is especially so now that we are into the Christmas season…this is the time of the year that June said she wished Christmas came twice a year…Sitting by the gas fireplace and listening to one of the many Christmas music CD’s that June bought for the Christmas season…playing them on the inter room stereo system that June had installed and paid for from her own savings…and the gas fireplace that June also had installed and paid for from her own savings...

6025 Gardena Lane was a lonely place on Christmas Eve 2013, 2014 and 2015 with no visitors...Earlier in the day (noon) on Christmas Eve day 2015 we had grandchildren visitors...grandson Erik and granddaughter Emily with three great grandchildren (Erik's) Owen, Katrina and June...June is named after her great grandmother June.

Christmas Wreath

This is also the season of the year that we think of gift giving…June's last gift to me was not at Christmas time however…Alzheimer’s is not a respecter of the Christmas season…Alzheimer’s shut down June’s gift giving ability at some unknown time before Christmas arrived in the year 2003…June at Christmas time 2003 was late into her 7th year of this terrible disease..

The last gift that June gave me was an impromptu gift on March 15th, 2003…no special occasion…she just wanted to give me a gift…this sweet and touching gift would be the last gift that I received from June before Alzheimer’s took over her life…it was a little book titled:

 To My Very Special Husband”

June's last gift to Stan 

 

On the back of the book it says:

“A collection of some of the kindest and warmest things that have been written about men.”

Just glancing through the pages of this special book I saw this writing that spoke to my heart and to my feelings in a very direct and special way…it explained the mood of my mind today…while originally written by a women to a man, (Rosanne Ambrose Brown)  today it reflects my feelings about June:

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 "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."

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June and mother Ellen by the fireplace

(Christmas time in 2000 at 6025 Gardena Lane. June is sitting in front of the Christmas tree with my Mother Ellen (Nedland) Silbaugh sitting in the chair. This is the last tree that June decorated before Alzheimer's begin to take control of her life. This tree decorated by June, has remained up continuously all year round since this Christmas in 2000. Both June and my mother Ellen have since passed on as victims of Alzheimer's.  It is my intention to keep this tree up until I am no more! June was in her 4th year of Alzheimer's in the year 2000.) 

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*This Christmas season 2014, will be the 15th year and 15th Christmas that June's last decorated Christmas tree has remained up year around continuously since that day in December 2000...

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June's Alzheimer's

It was on a sad day in January 1998, that June was first diagnosed with Alzheimer’s…June had noted short term memory problems in the previous year 1997...Mayo told us we would have a few good years before the disease would take control of our lives...

I decided that June and I would make the most of those remaining good years...I had no intention of subjecting June to such things as Memory Cafe's and the like where everyone is a constant remeinder that one and all are sick with a terminal disease...June and I made our bucket list of all the things we had put off doing during our life together, and in the next six years while June was still able, we did them all!… of course there were sad moments and reminders along the way...we lived a fast paced and interesting life...included was a final goodbye visit to London in 1999 to visit our English friends in Bexley, Kent south of London...this timing was included the Sherlock Holme’s Festival…most of our friends were not aware of June's diagnosis in those early stage years of the disease.

June and Stan Christmas 2003

It was in the years seven and eight that June’s Alzheimer’s took control of June's mind and our lives. The photo on the right is June and Me at Christmas time in the year 2003...this is late in the 7th year and June's million dollar smile had already lost most of its luster...it was in March of this year that June gave me the last  gift...in this 7th year of her journey, June still knew me, still said she loved me, still rested her head on my shoulder and still cupped her hand over  mine...the day would soon come when this would all change...all would be lost!

Early in year 9, June went into an Alzheimer's facility to assist with her further care...thereafter I slowly lost June, tear drop by tear drop...June eventually  in years 10-11, slipped into a world of darkness where she could no longer be reachedAfter an almost 12 year journey into the shadows of Alzheimer's, early one Thursday morning in late October 2008, an exhausted June felt God's gentle touch on her shoulder and heard the words: "Come Home June!" God took June home on Thursday morning, 23 October 2008.

I continues to travel life’s journey alone in a world without June…a lonely world but a world filled with June’s Memories…there will never be another  June…

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June's Charitable and Purple Angel Ambassador Programs

Purple Angel Ambassador

June is a continuing inspiration to me in promoting Alzheimer's awareness that is connected with charitable programs that reflect God's love. Three of the dozen such programs are Christmas related.  1. Redeemer Lutheran's Ladies Christmas Dinners, with free tickets from June to those ladies who cannot afford their own. 2. The Gifts of chocolate candies to the residents of the Benedictine Nursing home as gifts from June including a Christmas card from June. 3. Christmas cards and a small gift from June to waiters, waitresses and servers at June's favorite restaurants...June and Stan first met while June was working as a waitress in a small restaurant in Barron, Wisconsin in 1951. These programs are funded from June's share of Stan and June's life savings during their marriage years...so they really are gifts from June!. All these activities are a part of June's official Purple Angel World Ambassador Dementia-Alzheimer's awareness programs.

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June at Christmas time 1996

(June at Christmas time December 1996)

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 © 2013 Stanton O. Berg

 

Readers's Comments

Chris Hodge  - Wrexham, United Kingdom - (10 December 2013): "My thoughts and blessings my friend."

Julie Blacksmith  - Deer Park, Texas - (10 December 2013): "Yep, I understand, especially since this is my first Christmas without David!  Hugs Friend!"

V. Ray Kicker  - Nashville, Tennessee - (10 December 2013): "Stanton, Thank you for sharing.  I'm sure June is somewhere waiting on you to join her.  Your story was touching and loving.  Too many people never find love so true.  June was a luck woman to have found you as you are finding her.  God Bless you and may the many memories of June bring you JOY in this Christmas season."

Valeria Blajan  - Lincoln, Nebraska- (10 December 2013): "So sad and so nice."

Debbie Larsen  - Buffalo, Minnesota - (10 December 2013): "So beautiful , Stan Merry Christmas . You will be together again, and that love will be ten fold."

Tena and Dustin Delatorre  - Desaca, Georgia - (10 December 2013): "Miss my daddy even if i'm 55 years old I'm still daddy's girl."

Marsha McKneely Ault  - Nacogdoches, Texas - (10 December 2013): "Wish I could lift you in some way my friend."

Melissa Vaughan  - Newburgh, Indiana  - (10 December 2013): "This will be my first Christmas without my mom...and my birthday Is coming up...a year of firsts without her...."

Heather Jane Black  - Manly, New South Wales, Australia - (11 December 2013): "God bless you, ... Sisterly hug."

Jane Moore  - Camelford, United Kingdom - (11 December 2013): "June will be in many hearts this Christmas Stan and continues to give her gift of love."

Linda Finnigan  - Motherwell, North Lanarkshire, Scotland - (11 December 2013): "A big scottish hug to you."

Patricia Higgins  - Glasgow, United Kingdom - (11 December 2013): "God  bless... June will always be with you."

Bridie Breen  - Manchester, United Kingdom - (11 December 2013): "Love is boundless and eternal."

Mimi Taylor Nataro  - Hicksville, New York - (11 December 2013): "Stan, many of us who now know you will be thinking of you this Advent & Christmas season.  It is hard to go through a special time of year without the loved one who made it special.  My Mom was a Christmas person; she made it all so wonderful & I have never lived up to her magic.  It is hard for me to now "do it right" for her, but I try & will be with her on the 25th.  I will be thinking of you too & June and your advocacy for Benedictine & your help to all of us "dealing".  As sad as it is & can be : FEEL the Christmas love around you.  I need to do the same.  Thinking of you now & often."

Carol Man Utd Bevin  - Manchester, United Kingdom - (11 December 2013): "Sending big hugs..."

Bernadette Brady  - Dublin, Ireland - (23 December 2013): “To Stan: Christmas Blessings and Best Wishes for the Coming Year…“I hope that you are feeling well Stan and that you will have a nice Christmas. Thank you for the wonderful posts on Facebook for the past year, for sharing beautiful June with us, and for working so hard to spread awareness about Alzheimer’s. Thank you also for your prayers for patients and caregivers all over the world. I am honored to be remembered in your prayers and they mean a great deal to me and to my Mom. “Wishing you a very happy Christmas and New Year…Best Wishes and Prayers across the miles from Ireland to you…Bernadette.”...“PS: You have been in my thoughts a lot as Christmas approaches. Your work to spread Alzheimer's awareness is inspirational and has helped me so much, and so many others. I will be remembering yourself and June during the holidays.”...Stan's Note: Perhaps the nicest or one of the nicest Christmas Cards I have ever received, came today (23 December 2014) airmail from Bernadette Brady of Dublin, Ireland…what a wonderful gift and a huge lift to my flagging Christmas spirits…the above message was in the card...(See: Card below)

 Bernadette Brady's Christmas Card 2014

Judith Brownstein  - Buffalo, New York - (27 December 2014): "Merry Xmas Stan. The June Star burns brightly on my tree (I made one). I'm having a rough time with David this holiday. He is here but I miss him. I hate when I feel he is mentally absent on purpose. I know better. Love to you and June."

Dianne Cogar  - Springfield, Ohio - (28 December 2015): "I'm certain the "poems about husbands" were carefully chosen by June...and in her heart every single word rang true. My guess is that her love for you is as strong and heart-felt today, being sent from the heavens high, as it was through all those beautiful years you were together. There's an angel in your presence always! You are a very blessed man indeed! "

Jackie Irving  Liverpool, United Kingdom - (28 December 2015): "This is such a lovely and also sad story Stan ...its so agonizingly painful to see someone you love disappear in mind but still be here in body ...I'm so glad you both completed your bucket list...the poem from the book June gave you is beautiful.....no other word for it ....it says exactly how you feel about being without June....the photo of you both shows just how happy you were together ...thank you for this lovely post Stan ...God bless."

  

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June's Passing

June 1994

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 and into Jesus presence to the sound of a chorus of Angels...and 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:

 

"June K. (Rolstad) Berg - In Memoriam"