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"A Way to Survive!"

Stan and June 2012

A Way to Survive

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Ray Price – 1961 Hit Song

 (Written – H. Cochran and M Carpenter. Revised by Stan Berg 2012.)

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June, I look at your picture too often,

 It helps me keep your memory alive!

 It's not healthy they say to recall yesterday,

but for me June, it's the way to survive!

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 I must cling to what's gone if I've to go on.

 I can't face the future I've tried!

 Perhaps for the rest,  looking back isn't best,

 but for me June it's the way to survive!

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 My heart aches June,  when I read your love notes.

 But it helps me to keep your memory alive.

 They say I can't last if I live in the past,

But for me June it's the way to survive!

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I must cling to what's gone if I'm to go on,

I can't face the future I've tried!

Perhaps for the rest, looking back isn't the best,

 But for me June it's the way to survive!

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Ray Price - "A Way to Survive" Live - 2008

(Performed the year June Died!

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"A Way to Survive"

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June and Stan 2002

(June and Stan in May 2002 - 6th year Alzheime's - 50th year of marriage

 

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The first line in the song  "A Way to Survive" talks of "I look at your picture too often!"...I have a framed picture of June that I take with me when ever I dine out...I place it on the table so June is with me as I have my meal...our bedroom at 6025 Gardnea has the walls covered with framed pictues of June as well as June and our married year's pictures...our living room wall has two huge framed pictues of June on the north wall.

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The above poem/song refers to my "Love Notes" from June...yes there are such notes...below is a link to my collection of such notes and to be found on June's web site:

Love Notes from June

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June's Alzheimer's

June’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis came in late January 1998. June was concerned about short term memory problems noted in  1997 and brought the matter up at her annual physical examination in December of 1997. .Subsequent examinations at the University of Minnesota, resulted in a diagnosis of early stage Alzheimer's.

June in her role as a nursing home visitor, knew at a very early date, the blackness and the depth of the distant approaching Alzheimer’s storm clouds. June displayed a concern for me. I remember well that Sunday (Ca. 1999) when June brought home the “Care Notes” pamphlet from our church - “Handling Grief as a Man.” She said nothing; just left it out for me to find and to read. I also remember the time that she detected one of my episodes of emotional sadness as I watched her illness progress. She tried to console me by saying “Don’t worry, I will be alright Stan!” I am sure at the time, we both really knew otherwise.

Thereafter, I lost June slowly, tear drop by tear drop during her long and exhausting journey into the shadows of Alzheimer’s...a journey that lasted for almost 12 years...as June slowly disappeared into a world that I could no longer reach.

For the first 8 plus years I took care of June at our home. The first 6 years of these years were relatively easy years that only required accommodation for her short term memory problems. We continued to travel extensively and did the many things we had put off in past years. We made up our "Bucket List" and we did them all. In Years 7 and 8 the disease started closing in on us as we saw June’s personality change and eventually hallucinations and behavioral changes. In year 9, June went into a nursing home. As the disease progressed she had seizures, lost ability to walk or talk, or smile, had difficulty swallowing, eating, and became incontinent. During the last year, June rarely opened her eyes or even responded. Aspiration pneumonia, a common Alzheimer’s complication finally ended her life.

June gave me a lifetime of unconditional love during our 56 year’s marriage and a life with only the regret that it is now over and that June has had to suffer the horrors of Alzheimer's. I owe June and God an unending debt for the many blessings of our marriage. For me, meeting June was like a "Divine Appointment." It was as if I had won the grand prize in the Lottery of Life. June's passing was as if a most beautiful symphony that played during our life together, had now ceased to exist!

Before June's Alzheimer's diagnosis, our world and her character and personality were represented by a vast sea of bright and beautiful lights. After her Alzheimer's diagnosis, these bright lights all begin to slowly dim. As June slowly slipped deeper into the shadows of Alzheimer's, the lights gradually flickered out one by one. Eventually the time came during the last two years of her life, when the brightness that marked our world and June’s life was replaced by one of darkness.

During the last year of her life, a physically incapacitated June rarely ever opened her eyes to a world that was then alien and strange to her. June had become so tired, exhausted and weary that in the last year of her life she lay like a wounded soldier on a battlefield. It was early one Thursday morning that June felt God's gentle touch on ther shoulder and heard the words: "Come Home June!" God mercifully took June home on the 23rd of October 2008.

June's favorite clothes still hang in our closets...all of June's notes, knacks and photo's still adorn the refridgerator door exactly as they were the day June left our home forever...all reminders of the "best thing that ever happened to me."

I am reminded of the lines from the Poem of "Love" by John Frederick Nim:

 

"For should your hands drop white and empty - All the toys of the world would break."

 

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Ray Price's Death

Ray Price the country western legend with 100 hits songs and a friend of Hank Williams,  died on Monday December 16th 2013 at age 87 of pancreatic cancer…Ray was born in Perryville, Texas on January 12th, 1926.

Ray Price did a final recording/album a few months before he passed on called “Beauty Is”…the recording/album is dedicated to his wife Janie…when the new recording was sent to Ray to review shortly before his death…He listened to it with his wife Janie…but first he told her:..

"All these years, you've asked me if I really loved you, and I have been remiss in telling you how I feel…I've done this for you. I want you to have it to listen to when I'm not here, to hear me telling you how much I love you. "

Ray Price

Janie Price also advised that Ray had a "final message" directed to his fans shortly before his passing:

 "I love my fans and have devoted my life to reaching out to them. I appreciate their support all these years, and I hope I haven't let them down. I am at peace. I love Jesus. I'm going to be just fine. Don't worry about me. I'll see you again one day."

Ray Price’s hit song in 1961 “A Way to Survive” became the focal point of this page on June’s web site.

I have modified his hit song into the above poem about June and I…

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Reader's Comments

 
Melissa Vaughan  - Newburgh, Indiana - (4 December 2012): "The night my dad died I was getting ready to go to bed and it hit me...mom was at her house alone...without my dad...I remember calling her, it was about midnight and she answered the phone very quickly...I said mom, Im so so sorry, you are alone...without dad...do you want me to come over...she said, oh Missy...I am so lonesome already and he has just been gone a few hours...Im so so lonesome."
 
Dianne Cogar  - Springfield, Ohio - (4 December 2012): "Yours is a Beautiful, Big, Caring and Remembering heart...So  it's no wonder you're feeling this void so deeply as you're missing June the way you do. Because she loved you just as much, June took with her half of your heart and soul; each equally filled with all the affection the two of you once shared. And I believe, though this void leaves you in sorrow, this was Junes way to stay connected with you while finding some comfort for herself so long as the two of you are apart. One day these two halves of a beautiful and dynamic life you once lived and remember will reunite... and then  the Love and joy you have never forgotten will be restored purely to what it once was, and without either of you ever again having those feelings of a broken heart. It is here that you'll love with only bliss and contentment in your world forevermore."
 

Jennifer Dabney  - California - (16 February 2013):I can't even begin to imagine how dark and lonely it is for you. The winter months seem difficult for some, even in California, in our nursing home. I am always happy when Spring comes around, full of promise and and a rebirth. It sounds pollyannish, but try to hang on to the promise of warmth and rebirth..."

Sally Gore  - Mason, Ohio - (16 February 2013): "You have a wonderful spirit, and the way you talk about June. It is very wonderful to see."

Karen Maxwell-Cress  - Liberal, Kansas - (16 February 2013): "I know night time is hard for Daddy. He and Mom were married 57 years and like you said Stan, a 24/7 mate....and now Mom is at the nursing home and he is all alone. Daddy stays busy too..but nothing fills the void. Bless your heart....my prayers are with you."

Tina Marie Luckey O'Brien  - (16 February 2013): "It may seem that you're alone, you're not.  And while we, your supporters will never come close to filling the void in your heart of June or your son, we are always here.  Many blessings Stan."

Vivienne Davies-Quarrell  - Chester, Cheshire, United Kingdon - (17 February 2013): "Thnking of you Stanton. Such true words. Winter turns to spring in many different ways."

Donald Hiatt  - Clovis, California - (13 August 2013): "I listened to the song right after reading your rendition.  I like the way you personalized it.  It made the song come alive  Thank you for sharing...Blessings...Don."... (8 September 2013): "Your mourning is elegant, just like your love for June...Blessings and Peace...Don."

Alzheimer Society of Newfoundland and Labrador, Inc.  - Mount Pearl, Newfoundland - (14 August 2013):"Thank you so much for sharing and for your dedication to our cause.  - Amelia White, Events Coordinator."

Martina Kaut  - Furtwangen, Germany - (8 September 2013): "Everybody who knows you, knows that this is your way to honor the love of your life, and ( as you very aptly said ) to survive ...Those who feel uncomfortable with your behavior might never have made a similar experience in their life ... so they are not able to walk in your shoes ... they simply can´t understand what it means for someone,to have to remain back without the love of life ... Real friends simply *know* ( regardless of whether family, friends or strangers, or whoever ...) your behavior is L.O.V.E in it´s purest and deepest form !... I bow humbly ...Stanton, please never doubt  in your life! Hold on ... exactly the way you do!"

Christine Pickard  - Lincoln, Lincolnshire, United Kingdom - (8 September 2013): "Yes ,Stanton ,I think what you do is amazing ,and you have survived ,and it works for you.I'm proud of you."

Joe Geror  - Mandan, North Dakota - (8 September 2013): "You can never look at the one you love too often...your love for your wife is one i have searched for for years!!and what i continue to hope for..."

Mimi Taylor Nataro  - Hicksville, New York - (8 September 2013): "I think what you do is lovely!"

Gill Denman  - Ireland - (8 September 2013): "Nothing wrong with what you are doing, it is rather wonderful in fact, maybe a few more people should do this, there would be much more compassion in the world if they did.  The only time I would worry about this is if you believed it was more than June's spirit which was dining with you, to have the spirit of a loved one close to you shows humanity - and it may well prompt people to ask about the pictures - that way the message is spread a bit further, it makes people reflect on their own mortality, no better way to focus the mind - or the loss of it."... I believe in what you are doing.  If people object then query what they are doing to help.  No-one knows better than us how dementia seperates you from the world, most people look the other way, no amount of education will alter that.  You are doing no harm, June is continuing to do good works even from the other side.  What difference is there between this and, say, a charitable foundation set up in a person's name.  If June had been  a music superstar or senior politician, you would have been lauded by all and sundry.  You & June are doing work that othes are too ignorant to do themselves."

Gilda Yen Torino  - Manila, Philippines - (8 september 2013): "Thanks Stan for sharing your thoughts.  Now I felt a bit of a relief that I am not alone.  I've been doing the same thing and even more.  Hugs to you my friend."

Linda Casey-Overholt  - Coshocton, Ohio - (8 September 2013): "Have been MIA for a couple crazy months, but I love to read your posts, and miss your loving, Beautiful, Inspirational, Tributes to your Wonderful June!!!!!  I applaud you for continuing to spread awareness in her honor/absence--Sure she is smiling from above – as I have told you often,  my dear friend...I'm repeating myself, but I feel that you are a wonderful inspiration...Keeping yourself busy, spreading the word of June's awful disease, her/ your  perseverance and tenaciousness, Keeping up with your Lutheran church associations--Like his and my mom's family for generations, tithing,  and charities, &  Realizing even though your kids are busy and far away, they're busy with their own lives – which is no reflection of their love and devotion to you &  June!!!  Some people from other Groups or in the community might not understand, but my hats are off to you for all you do – keep on keeping on. Ohio prayers..."

Isabel Harper  - Belfast, United Kingdom- (8 September 2013):"I sometimes wish I'd been blessed by meeting a man who'd love, honour and cherish my memory even a fraction as  much as you do your beloved June. You are an inspiration Stanton and anyone who is offended by what you do has never known love in it's truest form. God bless you."

Natalie Jacobs  - Waldwick, New Jersey - (8 September 2013): "I was just thinking...ya know, we are each here for a short period of time and then one day we are gone, and when the people who outlive us, who knew us, die, we are pretty much forgotten and its almost as if we never lived. I hear stories about a great grandma or great great grandma, but its really meaningless. I mean, its a nice story, or a not so nice story, but I never knew the person, theyre just a story. I know they lived, just like I know im loving now, but all the people who knew them and liked them or lived them, are gone. theyre just a story now.  just like I may be a story many many years from now, maybe. the reason I say this is...Stanton...if you wanna bring that picture to a dinner table with you, or to the movies, or in the car, or ANYWHERE, YOU DO IT! this is your time now, and you choose to remember june! for as long as you live, and you want to, bring her picture wherever you choose! does it make you happy to do so? DO IT! I, for one, totally undertand the gesture and the need. YOU GO FOR IT."

Bonnie Seip  - Ottsville, Pennsylvania - (18 December 2013): "That's very sad ... He was a Awesome Country western singer along with Hank Williams ! I grew up to this music my Parents and Grandparents always had this music on ! I enjoyed it just as much as they did !  Respect I guess to my wonderful Parents & Grandparents ! Mr Berg you always share such interesting memories which is why again you are such an...man ! God Bless you ..."

Louise Ann Howard  - Batemans Bay, New South Wales, Australia  - (2 October 2014): "Love it Stan. Lovely page you have there mate."

Lusekelo Chirwa-Kalindawalo  - Cheltenham, United Kingdom - (13 January 2015): "Beautiful poem. God bless you for sharing late June's journey with Alzheimer's disease. Stanton; June forever lives in your heart."

Mary Ayers  - Madison, Alabama - (6 March 2015): "I have learned so much in regards to grief and the grieving process. There is no set time to grieve, it takes as long as it takes. Everyone grieves differently, some use work to "distract" them and avoid fully grieving. Grieving the loss of a loved one is such a personal thing I would never suggest to someone they weren't grieving "properly" no more than I would want someone to assume they know what is best for me!! You do whatever works for you and no one truly knows what you need BUT you. Bless you, Stanton for staying true to yourself." 

Kathie R. Waters  - Malta, Montana - (6 March 2015): "I just love how you spread awareness of the disease in such a loving and calm way. No scare tactics, no theatrics, just facts--and LOTS of love!."

Patricia Speck  - Cardiff, United Kingdom - (13 February 2016): "The words are so beautiful (and so apt) for you Stanton. Keep., keeping on my friend."

Anne Donnelly - Belfast, United Kingdom - (13 February 2016): "What a read and a beautiful love story of Junes life."

Mike Matherly  - Midland, Texas - (13 February 2016): "Creative and beautiful way to honor her...Hope...you're doing ok, God bless you."

 

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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 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:

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