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An Alzheimer's Memories of the Heart

 

"An Alzheimer’s Memories of the Heart"

June's plea to a world she has forgotten -

June in 1994 

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I remember you with my heart.

My mind can't say your name.

I can’t recall where I knew you,

or who you are, or who I am.

Maybe I grew up with you.

Maybe we were family together.

Were we together yesterday?

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There’s something wrong...

something wrong with my memory.

But I do know you...I know I know you.

I know in my heart I love you,,.

I know how you made me feel.

...the special feelings we had together.

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My heart remembers.

It cries out in loneliness for you.

For the feelings you give me now.

Today, I’m happy that you have come.

When you leave my mind will not remember...

will not remember that you were here.

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But my heart still remembers.

Remembers the feeling of warmth

the feeling of love returned.

Remembers that I am less lonely...

Remembers I am happier today...

happier because you have come.

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Please, please don’t forget me.

Please don’t stay away...

just because of how my mind works.

I still feel you with my heart...

my memories of the heart are now...

...the only memories in my world.

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Stan Berg  - June 5th, 2008  - © 

(4 months later June died in October 2008) 

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This poem was my second effort at poetry and was prepared for the launching of June's website in June of 2008...previously I had written: "6025 Gardena Lane...Where it is always 1995". My first poem was written following June's July 4th Alzheimer's seizure in 2006...

Both poems were written at times of great sadness...when I wrote this poem,  June was in the late stages of Alzheimer's (12th year) and in the last year of her life...

The idea for this poem came to me after reading a commentary of this disease by another writer'...anonymous comments about the late stage memory confusion created by this disease for the victim...the result was my creation of this poetic story...it was the thoughts of another plus my own experiences that in turn spawned or inspired my writing of this poem...perhaps another hurting caregiver of a loved one with this terrible Alzheimer's disease...

I wrote and composed this poem in  my own words and my own understanding of this disease...fashioning it or styling it as if it were a poetic plea from June to the world...I am continually making small changes to it...this is my longest poem...most of my poetry, what little i write is short...since that date, almost 23.5 thousand persons the world over have read it... what a blessing to me and to June's memory...(March 2016) 

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Among June's collections of writings, booklets and papers, I found the following quotation by an unknown author that seems so very appropriate to the subject of this page. it came from a small booklet "Words From The Heart" 1993 :

"Gratitude is the heart's Memory!" 

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At the time the below photo was taken, 31 October 2007, June was in the late stages of this terrible disease and starting the final year of her life. She rarely ever opened her eyes. Holding June's hand and just being with her, was the only means of communication that remained open or available to us.  It was, as in the above poem, memories of the heart, replacing the crippled mind!

       June and Stan Berg's hands. 

(Jim Gehrz photo of June and Stan 2007)

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Reader’s Comments

Stan’s Introductory Comments: By publishing these “Reader’s Comments,” it is not my intention to in any way suggest that the marriage relationship and the love that June and I had/have for each other and experienced during our lifetime together is in any way superior to similar relationships of other’s. It is merely a collection of the reactions of readers to this page in June’s website. Some are simple appreciative comments; some are generous and kind comments reflecting the care and concern of others. Some comments are a sharing of the reader’s own experiences. Many reflect the love of God. These comments often reflect the human and the caring side of the readers. It is my hope that if June is able to look in on us, that she can see and understand how much I appreciate the love and the life that she gave to me and that I miss her very much…there will never be another love to take her place! If anyone is searching for evidence of a caring and loving God, need they look further then the comments below? I am sorry that I neglected to record some of the earlier comments received from readers...They reflect the thoughts of readers from around the US, Canada, Ireland, United Kingdom and Germany...

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Okcim Donna – St. Paul, MN – (12 July 2012): - “A window to Alzheimer's by my good friend ... Please share ... you may open the curtains for some who are facing darkness... God Bless... thank you Stanton for shining a light thru the window with your love and dedication to your beautiful wife, June…you are chosen... so was she..... to teach others.... thank you.”

Dawn Lausen Galati - Orlando, Florida - (12 July 2012): - "June's face lights up when she smiles."

Debbie Sams - Monticello, Indiana - (12 July 2012): - "That was lovely. I've been reading some of the rest of the website and it's very informative. She was a beautiful woman."

Ada Padron Criscione - Edgewater, New Jersey - (14 July 2012): - "The photo is touching. My heart can feel the love there. When Mama Lee had very little time left, the only thing she knew and understood was love - her entire body would change when I held her hand. Even though she was touched often for different reasons, i.e. bathing, dressing, toileting, medical care, she responded so differently when I would just sit there and hold her hand. Even if all I did was walk in briefly and hold her hand for a minute - she knew she was being loved. I always said, she was unaware of everything else, even the intellectual feeling of fear was gone, but she understood love. Such an amazing gift that God has given us - the ability to feel love and understand love which becomes our physical manifestation of love when we are nothing else."

Marsha McKneely Ault  - Nacogdoches, Texas - (9 July 2014): "Both poems express the emotions well and the loss...(19 March 2016): "Such a heart-breaking plea. I hate Alzheimer's. Thank you for sharing your poem."

John Stevens  - Twin Falls, Idaho - (9 July 2014): "Thanks Stan... I appreciate all you have done on June's site.  It is an amazing piece of work."

Catherine Jones-Hatcher  - Richmond, Virginia - (9 July 2014): "I enjoyed reading them both. To be able to express such emotion through poetry is a gift you both have, and the end result is a gift to us, the readers. Thank you."

Ina Gilmore - Marion, South Carolina - (9 July 2014): "Beautiful poem and what a wonderful phrase "Memories of the Heart"

Bonnie Seip  - Ottsville, Pennsylvania - (9 July 2014): "BEAUTIFUL POEM !!! Thank you for sharing Mr Berg ... Brought tears to my eyes ... But yet very Heart warming .. June was so Blessed to have you in her Life ... As Always God Bless you." 

Bernadette Brady  - Dublin, Ireland - (9 July 2014): 'This is wonderful Stan...thank you..."

Vicki Cadogan  - Limerick, Ireland - (10 July 2014): "Beautiful Stan, has me in tears, so moving. Would you mind if I shared it with my Dad? ("It wold be June's and my pleasure! - Stan")

Heather Pearson  - Southampton, United Kingdom - (10 July 2014): "Friends' Newsflash: Stanton O. Berg:  Poetry to share..."

Lora Rushing Robinson - Benton, Louisiana - (10 July 2014): "A most wonderful love story and journey of Alzheimer's..."

Jane Moore - Camelford, United Kingdom - (11 July 2014): "Beautiful Stan!...a lesson in love!"

Marion Reinartz - Cologne, Germany - (11 July 2014): "In Memory to June...LOVE to you too, Stanton. I am thinking of you so very often! Thank you for all you have done to June and all our Alzheimer's Patients. Many hearty regards over the Ocean ... you and your familiy w'll be always in my mind!"

Truthful Kindness  - Corbett, Oregon - (11 July 2014): "Thank you especially, Stanton, for the paragraph "But my heart still remembers. Remembers the feeling of warmth and love returned. Remembers that I am less lonely - and happier today - because you have come." As a young-onset early-stage dementia patient, I would really like it if my family remembered those lines. Thank you!"

Bridie Breen  - Manchester, United Kingdom - (12 July 2014): "Thank you Stanton, Tender read."

Lisa Hirsch  - New York, New York -  (13 July 2014): "Such a beautiful and warm smile."

Marie Houde  - New Bedford, Massachusetts - (26 July 2014): "Beautifully written Stan."

G'Anna Dent  - Amarillo, Texas - (29 October 2014): "Stan, your poem is the most beautiful, heartfelt and true poem I have ever seen! I am going to send the link to my siblings.."

Diane Russell - Scunthorpe, United Kingdom - (5 June 2015): "So true and so beautiful."

Elizabeth Dunbar  - Vancouver, British Columbia - (5 June 2015): "And we show them the love that they taught us...and so I believe they recognize themselves in that."

Marie Langley  - Victoria, British Columbia - (5 June 2015): "Lovely Stan. I think it's great that you transformed the love you shared and all that good energy, into something so creative and helpful."

Chris Wright  - London, United Kingdom - (6 June 2015): "They say you remember the emotions associated with an event at least as well as the event. So maybe the feelings are still registering".

Ruth Coward - Loughborough, United Kingdom - (6 June 2015): "This is a beautiful poem! I am going to share it ."

Pat Smithson - Worthing, West Sussex, United Kingdom - (6 June 2015): "Such true words which are very expressive."

Lillie Franklin - Sequim, Washington - (6 June 2015): "Your beautiful poem brought tears to my eyes. It was the same for me and the love I shared with my precious mother in the end days, even when she no longer remembered how to be loving. I knew in my heart how deep her love for me shined before she went into the shadows. I learned that the knowing would someday be enough."

Louann Tomassi-Heydt - Big Piney, Wyoming - (6 June 2015): "Thats so beautiful and I so agree, they do connect with us in their heart and their spirit."

Jane Jones - Liverpool, United Kingdom - (6 June 2015): "My mum passed away 9 months ago it was agony watching her but must have been so much worse for her. She was in an EMI Nursing home we are a large family so every day she had a family member ( usually 3 or 4 at same time) visiting her there ...your poem is lovely . Thank you."

Linda Helm-Manley - Hertfordshire, United Kingdom - (6 June 2015):"That was such a touching poem full of the sadness and loss that is inevitable. Thanks for reminding us all"

Katie Chester  - Ramsgate, United Kingdom - (6 June 2015): "What a beautiful poem, it has bought tears to my eyes as I read it having just returned from a visit with Mum and Dad. At the moment Mum has moderate mixed dementia and tells me often she likes me spending time with them, but who knows what the future brings, only God, just as well really. May I have your permission Stan Berg to copy you beautiful poem so I can put on my wall to remind me God bless you Katie."

Jackie Irving - Liverpool, United Kingdom - (28 August 2015):"Beautiful and heart wrenching in one Stan...Alzheimer's is such an isolating lonely disease...this poem encapsulates that feeling for me of the sadness you must have felt at that awful time....God bless."

Toots Scudder  - London, United Kingdom - (28 August 2015): "What can I say, it's beautiful, yet so sad  and yet so true and so full of love...(20 March 2016): "That is stunning  Stanton written as if it were coming from June herself  and I can only imagine that's what goes through every body affected with Alzheimer,s minds  heartbreaking, Thank you  so much for sharing your feelings with us,"

Vea Flood - Spring Hill, Florida - (29 August 2015): "Thanks for sharing Stan...Beautifully written...so very true made me teary eyed."

Nicole Kershaw - Poole, Dorset, United Kingdom - (29 August 2015): "Brought tears to my eyes. Hugs to you..."

Paula Valentino - Palm Harbor, Florida - (19 March 2016): "This poem reminds me of my mom. I think she feels like that inside. She can't get it out; I mean she can't really recognize the fact that I took her shoping or sat with her - but I know... and I also know that inside she certainly knows who I am to her (her only child) and how important. My father told me something - he was a very smart and kind man. He told me, "Paula, in the end, all that  matters is love." He was right. Heart emoticon I love your poem."

Christian White - Wolverhampton, United Kingdom - (19 March 2016): "You Are So Fortunate to have Shared such Love. Would have Loved to have had the Pleasure, of meeting you Both. God Bless, and keep you Strong!!"

Patricia Speck - Cardiff, United Kingdom - (20 March 2016):"What a very beautiful poem Stan. Love is indeed the most important thing....and will last forever."

Janice Wells  - Saugus, Massachusetts - (21 March 2016): "A love like yours happens so rarely . IT IS WONDERFUL TO WITNESS . Keep writing poems and let others know true love does exist during your lifetime and beyond."

Anne Dinnelly - Belfast, United Kingdom - (21 March 2016): "That's really is beautiful Stanton."

 

 

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For a similar and a very profoundly moving poem, see below by John L. Stevens:

  "Remember for Me"

 

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For the story of June’s favorite home at 6025 Gardena Lane and the poem I wrote about this home during a day of deep sadness, click on the below link: (This was June’s home for almost 40 years. It was constructed shortly after the previous home was severely damaged in a tornado. 6025 Gardena Lane was the first home the June participated in the selection and purchase of a lot on a small hill, helped with the design of the home and watched it being constructed. 6025 Gardena Lane had a special place in June's heart.)

 “6025 Gardena Lane – June’s Favorite Home”

 

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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"