My Last Valentine from June - 2003
- Published on Thursday, 26 June 2008 02:58
- Written by Stanton O. Berg
"My Last Valentine from June"
(Photo - June and Stan - May 2002)
The below series of three cards demonstrate the progressive destruction of the mind by Alzheimer's so that a simple love note with signature becomes a matter of great difficulty in formulation and proper word usage or even the order of word usage.
The last Valentine that June purchased for me in 2002 was unsigned and undelivered until 2008. Quite by accident I found it just before Valentines Day 2008. June had purchased it apparently in 2002, intending to give it to me for Valentines’ Day in 2003.
In 2002, June was into her 6th year with Alzheimer’s...Valentines Day in 2003 would have been her start into the 7h year of Alzheimer’s. On Valentines Day in 2003, June was already entering into the middle stages of this terrible disease and was not able to follow her plans of the year before. When June purchased the Valentines for use in the year in 2003, she placed them into a 6” by 9” manila clasp envelope. On the top edge of the envelope June had written in red ink “Valentine’s for next year 2003.”
Although when June made the purchase in the year 2002, her writing was still remarkably steady and clear. The year 2002 was the year that June and I celebrated our 50th Anniversary. Unfortunately her condition deteriorated rapidly during the coming year and Alzheimer’s took control of more and more of her life. As a result, the first Valentine was never delivered. Two years after this 2003 Valentines Day, June was placed in the care of an Alzheimer's facility (March 16th, 2005)
June loved to buy cards of all kinds for her family, friends and relatives. This year (2008) I decided to look at June’s previously purchased cards and see if June had purchased any Valentines. If I found any, I intended to send them out to her family and any one else appropriate as a Valentine from June. My search revealed the manila envelope stuffed with valentines.
As I looked through the new but unused Valentines, I found the Valentine that June intended to give to me. It was a very emotional moment. The verse was very beautiful and moving. Finding it just before Valentines Day 2008, made it even more special. I cannot help but wonder if this was God at work. I have always said “Do not believe in coincidences and you will be right most of the time.”
Immediately below are photos of the front cover of the unsigned Valentine and the inside page with the verse. The front cover has a beautiful layered construction. The roses and the guitar are all cut out of cardboard and glued on the face of the card. The top of the envelope June used to save them in is also shown.
Note: Below this card are two other cards that June gave me around this period of time but they have no dates and I can only guess that they represent the same general time period. the first one has a short love note from June and her signature. You can see her Alzheimer's handicap at work in the misuse of one word. The second card also has a short love note from June but it is also a more severe example of Alzheimer's at work. The words are not appropriate nor are they in the right order. June also signed it more formally with her complete name. It is however, one of the most beautiful and sentimental of all of the cards that she has ever given me! It humbles me every time I read it.
June's Very Special Card - Purchased by June in 2002 to be Used in 2003.
Alzheimer's changed the delivery date to 2008, 5 years later when I discovered it among June's other Valentine's Day Cards...
Below: This is the first of the signed cards that June gave as described above. Timing is around 2003. June and I would frequently exchange more than one card on such occasions. It is not known if the below card was a second card purchased for the year 2003 - Due to her Alzheimer's , June would not have remembered buying other cards. June tried to put a short note above her signature but because of her Alzheimer's handicap the note did not come out as she had intended. The front of the card shows a typical June added touch where she has designated the chairs by our names.
I am sure that June intended to say 'My" instead of "Our" in the note below but became confused with her note of love and it just came out wrong. In the last two years before June had to go into a facility for care, she was having great difficulty and many frustrations in signing cards. It was very sad especially at Christmas time. Again a card from June that makes me emotional on again reading the words...again the words bring tears of gratitude to me eyes no matter how often I read them...
Below is the second card referred to above. This card shows the extreme difficulty that June was having in writing a love message above her signature and making it come out in an appropriate manner. I am sure that June meant "Our Live Me, to my Husband!" to read instead - "My love to my Husband!" She also signed it formally with her complete name instead of her usual of "June." The card is however, one of the most beautiful and sentimental of any card I have ever received from June.
I do not think I have ever received a card that has more humbled me than her sentiments in this card.
(Note that this is a three page card!)
(Below is the second - folded page)
(The last page below is the center page of the card.)
June and Stan - 50th Anniversary 2002
Tracy Hubbard - Kidgrove, United Kingdom - (17 February 2015): "What a lovely and moving tribute to your beloved June. There is not many married couples that can claim so much love for each other after so many years of marriage. I am sure June is proudly looking down on you and gratefully thanking you for keeping her memory alive."
Louise Ann Howard - Batemans Bay, New South Wales, Australia - (17 February 2015):"So lovely Stan. One thing I thought of years ago when I knew the reality of my life threatening allergies and General health not so great was to look at the years ahead of loved ones. While I was well I had it in my mind I would be prepared thus do a similar thing write letters, do Christmases, birthdays, life events. So glad you found a card my dear friend mate. Having them still in a very different way...love all your posts. I hope one of your family is always helping you as I hope your not going through this all on your own. Hope your family helps out on their mothers web site too. It is all so special. Thanks so so much."
Mary Ayers - Madison, Alabama - (17 February 2015):"Love this story, Stan. My parents got married on Valentine's Day after my dad returned from WWII. My mom kept a journal during the war and also kept EVERY letter including all cards not only from Dad but from her 4 children throughout her life. Imagine my surprise when I found all the letters I had written during our overseas tours! Their marriage was cut short when Dad died 10 days before his 70th birthday in 1990. I have the cards in special box and I don't have the heart to get rid of them. I am the sentimental one also As sad as the loss of a loved one is I find comfort in the memory of their deep and enduring love they had for each other. You life with your beloved June always brings back memories of my dear Mom and Dad."
Karen Glover - Oakdale, New York - (17 February 2015): "Beautiful memory of your sweetheart June."
Lyn Young - Aberdeen, United Kingdom - (17 February 2015):"Valentine's is special day for me too! It is our wedding anniversary however my husband died nearly seven yrs ago! So special memories for me!!. This year was different as new chapter for me with new boyfriend! It doesn't take away from our memories. I feel it validates them more!! Onwards and upwards! Our memories help us to be the person we are to day! Cope with our loss."
Stefanie Anderson - Brooklyn Park, Minnesota - (19 February 2015): "Just wanted to thank you for sharing your story. I lost My Grandmother to Alzheimer's in 2013 at 86 years young. I was the first grandchild so I had a special relationship with her. And miss her a lot. But listening to you talk of your strong marriage and love in your story made Me smile. I have a failing marriage so your story made me think of my Grandmother and our special memories instead of my day just being another day. I will visit your web site to read of your life and journey together thank you for sharing and GOD BLESS."
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: