Share Share this page

Grief Share Programs - Grieving for June

Stan without June

---

Grieving for June

---

(Inspired by a 1972 song by George Jones)

---

Imagine a world where no music was playing.

And think of a church with nobody praying.

Have you ever looked up at a sky with no blue?

Then you've seen a picture of Stan without June!

--- 

Have you walked in a garden where nothing was growing?

Or stood by a river where nothing was flowing.

If you've seen a red rose un-kissed by the dew,

Then you've seen a picture of Stan without June!

--- 

Can you picture heaven with no angels singing?

Or a quiet Sunday morning with no church bells ringing.

If you've watched as the heart of a child breaks in two,

Then you've seen a picture of Stan without June!

--- 

(To hear the original 1972 song by George Jones click on below link)

“A Picture of Me Without You”

---

 June 1994

--- 

Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.”

 Matthew 5:4 (KJV)

---

 

The Redeemer Lutheran Church - Grief Share Program

Some of my friends, relatives and family may think of me as perhaps just a little strange…I am still grieving for my wife June who passed away on 23 October 2008...my mother Ellen who passed away in October 2007 and our son David who passed away in October 2012....I have been through eight “Grief Share” programs at our Redeemer Lutheran Church, completing my eighth one in the spring of 2015...…and yes, I plan to attend the 9th one in January 2016...I have also participated in the annual “Surviving the Holidays” last held in late November 2014…just in time for Thanksgiving and of course Christmas immediately following…This is just another of the programs presented by our church for those who have lost loved ones and emotionally fear the approaching holidays.

---

Note: Because of my own health problems, I am now on Long Term Care and am confined to my home except for occasional doctor visits..This all started in late 2015 so do not know if the current versions of Redeemer's Grief Share programs still have the Biblical defects noted and discussed here.

---

To visit the online page of Grief Share's (2015) "Surviving the Holidays", click on the below linK:

"Surviving the Holidays"

---

For our family, October has been a bad month. October has now claimed the lives of three family members during a 6 day period in October over a span or time period of 5 years. My mother Ellen died of Alzheimer's on October 21st, 2007, my wife June died of Alzheimer's  on October 23rd, 2008 and our son David died from lung cancer on October 18th 2012...

I have always felt relaxed and comfortable in these group settings because I know that all of the other members of the group are also going through their own individual journeys through Grief…that they understand me better than any of my friends or family who have not. I enjoy telling them about my wife June, my mother Ellen and now my son David and in turn listening to their stories of their loved ones who have also passed on…

---

When we lose someone we have loved deeply, we are left with a grief that can paralyze us emotionally…When they die a part of us dies too.”  

 Henri Nouwen

---

“My tears are the words with which I tell God of my pain.”

Adolfo Quezada

---

Jesus Wept

Tears are not uncommon and no one is ever made to feel embarrassed if they should find them selves in the position of shedding tears when discussing their loved one...after all Jesus wept at the news of the death of his friend Lazarus...

"33 When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled.

34 And said, Where have ye laid him? They said unto him, Lord, come and see.

35 Jesus wept.

36 Then said the Jews, Behold how he loved him!"       (John 11: 33-36 – KJV)

 ---

Jesus also wept as he could for-see the destruction of the city of Jerusalem...

 "And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it."...Luke 19:41-44 (KJV)

---

The Bible also has over 40 references to weeping, crying and tears and none are presented or appear to be portrayed in a disparaging or negative way...

---

God Collects our Tears

The Bible also talks of God collecting the tears of those who grieve..

 Thou tellest my wanderings: put thou my tears into thy bottle:

 ...(are they) not in thy book?”…

 Psalm 56: 8 (KJV)   Psalmist David...Ca. 1000 BC

 

Here is a link to the page on this website for the story of God collecting the tears of those who grieve and placing them in a bottle...

God Collects Tears of those who Grieve

--- 

I have also found that there are others in our groups that have been grieving as long or longer than I have…I have also learned that everyone’s journey through grief is different…losing a spouse is also a special type of grief known only to those who have suffered such a loss...it is different and unique from losing a parent, a sibling or an adult child…this is the person we have lived with 24 hours a day and 7 days a week for many years…

---

"Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep."

Romans 12:15 (KJV)

---

"Sometimes Memories Sneak Out of My Eyes and Roll Down My Cheeks..."

Author Unknown

---

Theodore Roosevelt, on the day that his wife Alice died of kidney failure (Thursday 14 February 1884), he also lost his mother Mittie who had died eleven hours earlier from Typhoid Fever. (Theodore's wife Alice had just given birth to a baby girl, two days before her death. It was thought that Alice's pregnancy and giving birth had masked her fatal Kidney disease symptoms.) On that emotionally crushing Thursday, Theodore wrote a single line in his daily diary...

 “The light has gone out of my life.”\

---

 

Grief Share Programs

Grief Share

The Redeemer's Grief share program is a structured period of 2 hour long weekly meetings-sessions over a period of thirteen weeks. A work book for use in  note taking, journaling and grief study is included. The video's provide discussions by professionals in the field, with re-enactments as well as real life stories of people who have experienced similar losses of loved ones. The discussion leaders have previously participated in Grief share groups...while individual participation is not required during the small group discussion periods, it is of course encouraged. It permits interaction with others who have experienced similar losses.

The group discussions are under a code of silence and all of the discussion periods and their personal contents are to be kept confidential and are not  to be aired outside the group.

I have found that the Redeemer Grief Share groups for the most part are very friendly and supportive...unfortunately the group leaders have developed a personal bias towards me to the extent that the personal stress of attending the sessions is more adverse than any Grief Share benefits...this started in 2015 and continued in 2016 to the extent that I have dropped from the group...all because I questioned the Biblical accuracy of sessions 6 and 7...see detailed comments below...I was the subject of corrective counseling by Pastor T. Anderson on 2 separate occasions in which it was suggested if I did not like the content of the text I need not attend those sessions...no one disputed my interpretation of the Bible as related to these 2 sessions...It was alleged that I made other's in the group uncomfortable by my spending a few minutes out of the 2 hour sessions taking exception to the study text in these 2 sessions......My formal written complaint to T. Anderson on 3/9/2016 was ignored and went unanswered.

While I am very comfortable with the overall faith based background and overtones. there are however serious errors in the Biblical content of the GriefShare program as outlined below in the special notes.

The group leaders are supposedly trained to be sensitive, supportive and understanding...it does not always work out that way...I personally have been the subject of personal bias and resulting stress as outlined above... 

Currently the two group leaders of the Redeemer Fridley Campus Grief Share program are Karen Briesemeister, assisted by Wyllis Gierdal and Jack Lundberg.

Dennis and Jill Jeziersk, and Patty Ballard are the group leaders for Redeemer's Coon Rapids Campus.

While Grief Share is a faith based study program, it is nondenominational and features "Biblical teaching on grief and recovery topics." It is based on materials furnished by GriefShare and can be found online at:

www.griefshare.org

---

 

Important Griefshare Program Noted Errors

This commercially available program (Griefshare.org) is unfortunately one that has some very serious Biblical errors in it...workbook sessions 6 and 7 have such errors and anyone using this programs should be aware of the errors and be able to adjust accordingly.

Session (6th) spends almost the entire session telling of how our physical ailments and diseases are a part of God's plan to strengthen and temper us...that while it is hard at times to understand why this is happening, we should trust in God's overall plan being in our best interests...This is close to the ridiculous...no where is it pointed out the Satan is the actual cause of our illnesses and diseases and trouble and not God...although the New Testament is crystal clear in this regard...and states at least four times where Satan is referred to as the "King" of this world and "Prince" of this world and the cause of all illness, disease and troubles...The whole world lies in the power of the evil one.” (1 John 5:19 (KJV)...the Bible also clearly states that God has come to make life more abundant for us and not to harm us... Book of Jeremiah 29: 11  “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” this lack of understanding of the Bible by this program is a serious shortcoming...it does little to soften ones grief and does more to enhance the grief...especially for the thousands of caregivers for the Alzheimer's victims who battle a disease that is always terminal and always gets progressively worse until the mind is totally destroyed after several years...Mayo says that for the victims, the last few years are lived in constant fear...the last thing the caregivers want to hear is that God caused this terrible sickness and disease.

Another serious shortcoming is the statement in session (7) that says there is nothing anyone could have done to change the life span of our loved ones by even a tenth of a second...this is outrageous...consider Alzheimer's where caregivers to loved ones struggle for years to give the victims of this terrible disease the best life possible to the very last day...and to now tell them they have not affected or changed their loved ones life by a tenth of a second is not only absurd, but a terrible thing to say...the Bible has about 10 verses that tell how our lives can be changed both plus or minus by years because of the way that we live that life...I wonder if these people even read the Bible?

I wrote directly to the Grief Share .Org and challenged this absurd statement...they responded on 24 March 2014 and said: "To Start with I agree with you..."while they agreed with me that I was right in that one could not only change one's life by more then a second one could do it in years...they then went on to explain that this text statement was intended for the person who might have guilt...guilt in that there was something he or she could have done in the last few days or moments that would have lengthened the loved one's life...they explained that it was not intended for the long term caregiver that I was  concerned about...so in their twisted logic, it was okay to lie in order to take away the guilt of a small group while ignoring the large group of long term dedicated caregivers that I represented by saying they did not intend it to apply to this group...incredible!

---

By visiting the above online page for "Grief Share" you can also locate all classes that are being conducted near you geographically...there is a handy service that permits the entry of your Zip Code and a listing of all nearby Grief Share programs being conducted in your home area are displayed.

Shortly before the holidays of "Thanksgiving" and "Christmas", a special 2 hour program "Surviving the Holidays" is normally presented that is separate and apart from the normal 13 week Grief Share program. A small manual or work booklet is also provided as a part of the training session.

Your local church may well have a similar program...I would strongly endorse and urge your participation in such programs when you become involved in your own travel through grief...this program has been of much help to me in my early year attendance but recent group leader bias has forced me to drop out of the programs...one must keep in mind the serious Biblical teaching shortcomings and adjust accordingly...see discussion above...

---

The presence of that absence is everywhere.”

Edna St. Vincent Millay

---

 

Johnny Cash on Grief Loss

"There's no way around grief and loss: you can doge all you want, but sooner or later you just have to go into it, through it, and, hopefully come out the other side.  The world you find there will never be the same as the world you left."

 "Johnny Cash" 

 

---

Grieving for June

The loneliness and grief while interspersed with periods of Joy and purpose, always lurks in the background awaiting the opportunity to spring forth...and much like the day itself, a wave of sadness arrives with the evening shadows…and yes, everyday I have brief episodes of tears…Grief has a way of ambushing you when least expected…it may be hearing a song, walking into a room or seeing a favorite item of remembrance…for me it is sometimes just opening a door, a drawer or a cabinet...perhaps it is an anniversary that holds special memories...

When I dine out now, June is always with me in spirit. I have found that it is comforting for me to have JuneDining out with June with me in spirit by way of a framed 5 x 7 picture of June that I place on my table where ever I happen to be dining. I place it in commanding position in the center back portion of the table. The picture frame has a stand-up support on the back of the frame. I selected one of my favorite pictures of June...one taken at a family gathering on Mother's Day in May...It is a photo that shows June in her usual million dollar smile. I cannot help but look at the photo of June and smile back.

On occasion another diner will stop by and ask me about June's picture...this permits me to spend a short time promoting my two end of life goals...Promoting June's honor and memory and promoting Alzheimer's awareness and the need for funding for research to find a cure for this terrible disease.

No unpleasant incidents have taken place as a result of my bringing June with me in spirit and by doing it in the manner of using a favorite photo of June. Most waitresses say nothing but obviously take note of the photo. Every one has been most respectful of my wishes to honor June in this manner.

June's presence in spirit by way of her photo tends to remind me to always say grace before I start having my meal. June never forgot to say grace before her/our meal, even when deep into Alzheimer's ...June would tend to become confused on her prayer words...but not before thanking God for all he had done for us...I would then step in an finish Grace for her...June photo always serves as an inspiration to me and reminds me of my great debt to God for bringing June into my life!

---

 

Billy Graham’s Commentaries on Grieving

While recovering from the Flu, I have been reading or perhaps re-reading Billy Graham’s book “Nearing Home” (2011)…of particular interest was his comments on Grieving…I am sure he will not mind if I reproduce just a small portion of his comments as I find them very appropriate and they agree with my own feelings in this matter…I am sure many in my family wonder “what’s wrong with this old fool…it has been years now”…

Billy Graham

“As I write this it has been four years since Ruth went home to be with the Lord. I feel her loss more keenly now. Not a day passes what I don’t imagine her walking though my study door or us sitting together on our porch as we did so often, holding hands as the sun set over the mountaintops.

I have asked myself why this is the case, after all, shouldn’t our grieving over the loss of a loved one fade as time passes? Yes, it should – and in some ways it has for me. But in other ways it hasn’t, nor do I expect it to. One reason, I think, is because my strongest memory at the time of her death was of her last days…her weakness, her pain, her yearning for Heaven. Much as I longed to have her stay with us, I also knew that for her, death would be a welcome release from the burdens of this life. But with the passing of time, memories of the happiness we shared over more than sixty three years of marriage come to mind. I remember our last years together as my travels lessened and we had more time just to be together. Those were some of the best years of our lives...almost as it we were falling in love again. And with those memories has come a deeper sense of loss.

The other reason I feel her death so deeply, I think, is because mingled with my grief is a new sense of expectancy-the certain knowledge that someday soon the Lord will come for me also, and before long Ruth and I will be reunited in Heaven. More than ever, I look forward to that day!

Grief is a reality; those who say that we shouldn’t grieve the loss of loved ones “because they’re better off now” have never understood the enormous hole that is left in our hearts when loved ones’ die. Yes, they may be better off if they are in Heaven – but we aren’t better off.  A major part of our lives has been ripped from us, and just as it takes time to heal from a major surgery, so it takes time to heal from the loss of loved ones…”

Stan’s Notes (17 January 2015): Ruth Graham died on June 14th, 2007, just a year before June died on October 23rd, 2008...by coincidence Ruth’s death took place on my birthday. Ruth had requested to be taken off of life supports on 13 June 2007, and her family agreed.

June was a fan of Billy and Ruth Graham and had books in her library from both…June and I attended one of his Crusades when it was in Minneapolis some years back. June and I have been long time supporters of Billy Graham and particularly his Crusades...June started monthly donations to the Billy Graham Crusades about 20 years ago and I have continued this support after June's passing. I am sure that June has established a good relationship with Ruth now that they are both in Heaven together…they are probably wondering which one of us will arrive first!

---

 

No Timetables for Love or Grieving

Pastor GlesneThere are no timetables for grieving...Near the anniversary of the 1st year of June's death, I received a letter from David Glesne, the Senior Pastor of our Redeemer Lutheran Church. In this letter,  Pastor Glesne assured me that there are no timetables for grieving:

"...you may have people around you acting as if your grief should have ended a long time ago. But you can't grieve by someone else's timetable.  Let yourself grieve for as long as you need to grieve...May God's love for you help you to cherish your loved one in your heart always...Sincerely,    Pastor David Glesne."

There are some former couples who have lost either a husband or a wife, and who are able to eventually move on into another satisfying relationship and a second marriage. That is not and never will be another chapter in my life...there just are no other "June's." To me, June is very unique and comes along only once in a lifetime. 

I recall the time in August of 1994 as June and I were looking for a suitable final resting place...June commented to me that if I were to pass on first, it would not be her intention to remarry...I never thought that I would ever outlive June based on my family history. My natural father died at age 55 from a heart attack...I had warned June many times that I would probably never reach old age. June and I later signed the purchase agreement for our joint graves at Lakewood Cemetery on our 42nd anniversary 16 August 1994...In a published tribute to June on 9 August 2011 for our anniversary, I also committed myself and announced to the world that...

"You told me once that if you remained after I passed on, you would not remarry. Well neither will I. Remember June, when I would tell you how long I would love you...nothing has changed" –

“I will love you until the sands of time cease their endless trickle”

 ---

(Photo below is Stan's favorite of June - In the year 2002 – Our 50th Wedding - Anniversary Year)

June and Stan 2002 

(June in her 6th Year of Alzheimer’s and still doing well - but the dark clouds are on the horizon!)

---

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...This was latere confirmed at Mayo.

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 that lasted for almost 12 years.

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, had difficulty swallowing, eating, and became incontinent. During the last year and a half, she rarely opened her eyes or even responded. Aspiration pneumonia, a common Alzheimer’s complication 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 and a half 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. 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 refrigerator door exactly as they were the day June left our home forever...

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."

 ---

Even the Birds Grieve

Even the birds of God's Animal Kingdom grieve the loss of their mate or partner...they may not cry or weep tears as we do, but they do cry out in grief, sorrow and anguish as this bluebird is doing...(I have seen the same grief enacted by swallows and Geese...Geese are said to be one of a dozen members of the animal kingdom to mate for life.)...I viewed a series of 6 photos that showed two blue birds and the efforts by the one to arouse the other from death...finally in the last photo depicted here, the one bird accepts the reality of death and enters a grieving phase...

Bird Grieving

---

 

Christmas Day 2013 – A Grieving Commentary

by

Lori-Ann Drew - Spring Hill, Florida

---

Lori Ann and her Mom

(Lori-Ann and her Mother)

---

"Stan…I believe that there is no time limit or scale in which to measure one's grief! I believe that unless you can walk in someone else's shoes you cannot truly understand all that they feel. I also find it terribly insensitive to tell a person "it's time to get over it, move on." WHO's time? I didn't realize that there was a "Normal" amount of time to mourn someone you loved dearly. As if there is a switch that one can just flick at any given time! ..., if it were that easy no one would ever shed a single tear for their losses. No one would ever endure that kind of pain if merely flipping a switch would stop it in it's tracks. However, I think it is only human nature to want someone to be happy, to find happiness, to never experience sadness because it makes those of us who are on the sidelines uncomfortable. For most, it is terribly painful to watch the person you love grieve. You just want them to find joy again.

I do not know what it is like to loose a spouse, especially one who has been in your life for so long. But, I have watched my father for the last 3 years grieve for mother. My father too was a full time caregiver to my mother. She was stricken with a stroke in 2005. She had right side paralysis and lost her speech completely. She relied on my father for everything…from cutting her food to bathing, and tucking her in bed each night. After she passed in 2012 at home, with her face in his hands as he whispered "I love you, I love you, I love you, over and over again until she was gone. He was devastated. He still is, sometimes we can talk about her and at other times it is best not to. As a daughter and as I stand on the sidelines and watch him grieve, I too sometimes become uncomfortable with watching him grieve. I want to see that twinkle in his eye, or the sound of pure joy when he laughs.  I want him to be happy again. I wonder if he is afraid to be too happy. I wonder if he thinks she will be upset that he's laughing too much. Maybe these are just my own fears, but none the less, I wonder. But even though she was my mother, she was his wife! And as he said at her memorial, " she was his next breath! "  So who am I to tell him to suck it up and get over it? The thought has never entered my mind. My only wish for my father, for you, and anyone else who is grieving, is that you are kind to YOURSELF, the one you loved and lost would demand nothing less.

So Stan, if you want to grieve, cry, make charitable donations, leave waiters/waitress's June’s tips, plaster Junes face on the internet, and dine with her photo until your last breath leaves your lips, and when you flip that switch and the grief is gone because June is walking by your side, holding your hand, do me a favor, turn around and blow a kiss and slap your…to all those who judged you! Have a wonderful and tender to yourself New Year Stan!!!”

PS: When my mother passed, it was beautiful. My father will tell you the same. I stood in silence as I watched my father whisper my mother into heaven. In her final moments, under heavy sedation, her eyes opened as she followed a sight toward the ceiling that was not visible to any of our eyes but hers. For only seconds, I could feel what I can only explain is heaven. I was standing next to my mother as she looked into heaven…it was the most amazing feeling I have ever had. While I'm sure the hospice nurses thought I was clutching my chest and crying tears of grief…I wasn't…I was crying because my mother had shared a piece of heaven with me…, to ease my grief, my fathers grief…I know with all my heart that my mother is in heaven and happier than ever…I know this because I felt it in my soul…and because the morning after we found dozens of tiny feathers strewn about the house! I am able to embrace my mothers death because of what I was allowed to feel. I know June is there with my mom, and though you may not have shared my experiences in her passing, trust me…heaven is real, and June is having a ball!"… I remember after my mom passed and the hospice nurse was waiting with us for the funeral parlor, my father and I were talking about how she opened her eyes, the nurse started to say " we, at hospice, have a theory about that." when my father cut her off and said, " The only theory I have is that my wife was staring into the face of God," The hospice nurse placed a hand on my fathers shoulder then and said, " Mr Taylor, he is the ONLY one who could have opened her eyes." It's amazing how powerful words can be!!!"...25 December 2013.

---

“Life After Life”

Is there Life after Life for our loved Ones now gone!...people of faith are comforted by the thought that their loved ones who have passed on are now living in their “Mansion over the Hilltop” in that land called Heaven where there are no tears, pain, illness or growing old..,

Perhaps at times we may have doubts or our faith may become weak and we look for reassurances…then some event will take place that bolsters the sagging faith in a manner that leaves little room for doubt!

One of the magazines that June always loved and subscribed to for many years before she passed on and is still a  part of our monthly mail…and it still comes in June’s name…the publication is ”Guideposts” This fine magazine always has a series of true stories and experiences of faith by their many readers…The January 2014 issue of Guideposts had a great true short story that leaves little room for doubt on the question: “Is there “Life after Life or Life after Death?

The story comes from Caroline Updyke of Short Hills, New Jersey and has reference to the passing of her grandmother Abuela. Caroline was one that was searching for “some tangible assurance” that her grandmother Abuela who had been gone for two months, “was in heaven.” This thought was prominent in her mind one day as she and her husband were out driving in their car listening to their satellite radio station tuned to some Frank Sinatra oldies. Satellite radio is the radio station with no advertising whatever and is devoted to separate channels of selective type music…on this special day as Caroline was thinking of her grandmother Abuela…”the music stopped suddenly. The signal cut out completely. A few seconds later the radio came back on. No Sinatra. No music at all. Just a voice saying “There is Life after Life”…Then the signal faded again and our oldies channel came back on.”

There remained little doubt in either Caroline or her husbands mind as to what the message meant or who it was from!

---

Time for Grieving

 --- 

 

A Time to Grieve

Virgin Mary with dead Jesus---   

(The above Image of Mary cradling her son Jesus following his crucifixion is the Roettgen-Pieta, c, 1300, made of wood, and a carving 35 inches high in the collection  of Rheinisches Landesmuseum, Bonn, Germany.)

---

Jerry Bleem, O.F.M., a priest and an artist on the staff of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago describes it:

As Mary cradles her dead child, she is broken heart'ed rather than serene, desperate instead of comprehending. The body of Jesus carries the ravages of death, the emaciation of torture. The venerated wounds in his hands and feet, and side blossom with his blood, he lies awkwardly in his mothers arms. The grace of the human body now clumsy in death. The sharp thorns of the crowned head rebuff maternal cuddling.

Paul wrote with the insight of faith, “Where, O death is your sting?” (1 Cor. 15:55) Try to locate this conviction when a loved one lies lifeless, when a young person’s life ends too soon, when violence obliterates human potential…The Roettgen-Pieta hides none of deaths cruelty and injustice. Frankly it poses the question that all of us must face: How do we go on? The one whose son suffered a cruel execution accompanies us in our losses.”      March 2014

 

---

 

"Even the saddest things can become, once we have made peace with them, a source of wisdom and strength." 

 

Frederick Buechner

 

---

 

Someday the Circle will be Unbroken!

The Bible describes David's grieving for a dying son...after the son's death the Bible tells us and promises us that while those members of our family who have passed on before us, cannot return to us, however, some day we  will go to them and be reunited with them...2 Samuel  12: 23 (KJV):

" But now he is dead...Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, (one day - NLT) but he shall not return to me"

 

 ---

 

 

 Reader's Comments 

 
Amy Stiel Almas  - Waterford, Michigan - (25 August 2012): "Absolutely beautiful, Stan. It brought tears to my eyes...(28 December 2013): "One of the most beautiful comments I have ever read!"
 
Robin Stewart Stone  - Charlotte, North Carolina - (25 August 2012): "Wow! I Hate I wasn't online to see this earlier. Must have been a hard time for you. So beautiful! Really touched my heart."
 
Dawn Laursen Galati  - Orlando, Florida - (25 August 2012): "That song is a reminder of all things and moments gone and not to come. Missing our partners is the hardest thing ever... sharing in your sorrow. Thank you for doing all you do for those with Alzheimer's and the families."
 
Janice Kennedy  - Coon Rapids, Minnesota - (30 November 2012): "Please don't ever worry about what others think. I've never lost a spouse so I can't even pretend to imagine what you've been through. I'm sure that the holidays are going to be even harder on you this year now that Dave is gone too. I wish I could take your pain away, even if it was just for a day or two. I'm glad that Redeemer provides great support groups for you to participate in. I'm sending hugs and saying prayers for you right now, my friend."
 
Dorothy Peabody  - White Bear Lake, Minnesota - (30 November 2012): "I have lost a spouse and believe me it is the hardest and most devastating thing I have ever had to go through in my life.  This was back in 05 and some days are still very tough.  Time just does not erase the love that's in your heart."
 
Merideth Sindel  - Sydeny, Australia - (30 November 2012): "Thank you for talking about grief.  Grief never goes away whether it is for a child or a spouse or in my case parent and others.  It becomes bearable and even useful - it is the tool by which we remember."
 
Michele Christie  - Cullowhee, North Carolina - (30 November 2012): "I UNDERSTAND COMPLETELY I lost my best friend 19 years ago. It doesn't stop hurting."

Christine Pickard  - Lincoln, Lincolnshire, United Kingdom - (30 November 2012): "Thank you, yes, I too understand...I lost a. Lovely friend this year to cancer. I used to work for her other years ...and I miss her .Grief they say time is a healer. Yes but  it becomes bearable... Also lost relatives in past ...I think of them All with Love ..."

Barbara Taylor Vaughan  - Newburgh, Indiana - (1 December 2012): "Stanton, I don't call it grieving, I just call it living without the one I love...living without a part of myself...no not grieving,  just living without a part of my heart."
 
Melissa Vaughan  - Newburgh, Indiana - (1 December 2012): "My mom showed this to me last night, my mom has kept a diary/journal her whole life, we went back and looked what she wrote on the day my dad died...on the page she just wrote...how do you live with a broken heart"
 
Dante Pastorini  - Houston, Texas - (3 December 2012): "Wonderful to hear your heart Stan and blessings to your journey but I can still see her in your smile..."
 
Mary Jill Bringgold Duncan  - Cannon Falls, Minnesota - (4 December 2012): "I took some time this morning and read several pages of your website.  It is so inspirational!  Always remember, Stan - you and June and your mom and your son WILL be reunited one day!  God has something more for you to do first -- and perhaps that "something" is to inform us about the physical disease of Alzheimer's and that awful emotional/physical disease called grief.  Whatever, I'm glad you're here to do your good work."
 
Rohit Barman  - Washigton, DC - (4 December 2012): "I think it's amazing that you give back to the community, and share your love for June, the loneliness in grief, and tears. I don't even like talking to people about this 'cause they rightfully don't understand, but your posts magically makes me feel less alone."
 
Catherine Jones-Hatcher  - Richmond, Virginia - (4 December 2012): "This post came at just the perfect time for me... you see, tomorrow  is my wedding anniversary...so I do not need to tell you how hard such a day can be... but I will "busy myself"  and try to relive that day  of sweet memories and love in a healthy way.... with a tear in my eye , but warmth in my heart... for the blessing of having had my Harold  at all. I KNOW I am  a lucky gal just to have found him! Hope you are well..."
 
Debbi Ring-Westbury  - Bay Point, California - (4 December 2012): "Take care of your heart...  There is no end to grief. It just get's a little lighter.  Remember God's great amazing love for you and rely on Him to fill the empty places.  He will.  Lifting you up in prayer my friend!"

David Glesne  -  Fridley, Minnesota - (8 March 2013): "It is a beautiful article ...(9 June 2014): ' I just went to the site – wow! It is impressive!   Pastor Dave."
 
Gill Denman  - Essex, United Kingdom - (8 March 2013): "Stan, have you thought about trying that superb photograph in black & white?  It has the quality and sentiment of a Victorian composition. Beautiful song...The symbolism is very clear, it is a very good picture, a superb way to get a message across. My thoughts were that the Victorians were heavily into symbolism, removing the colour makes the viewer consentrate on meaning."
 
Maura Buddy Bear  - Dublin, Ireland - (21 June 2013): "Stan how touching that you kept all June's notes and pictures on the refrideratior20...(25 October 2013): "I had tears reading your poem Stanton, my grandmother and mother always said about Death, the sad part is Life goes on."
 
Alzheimer Society of Newfoundland and Labrador, Inc  - Mount Pearl, Newfoundland - (25 June 2013): "Thank you so much for sharing! We really appreciate your efforts and dedication to our cause. - Amelia White, Events Coordinator."...(4 September 2013): "Such a great resource and it's so true that the journey with Alzheimer's disease doesn't necessarily stop once the loved one has passed on; there is still the grieving process. Thank you so much for sharing! -Amelia White, Events Coordinator....(3 January 2014): "We really appreciate your insight, and you sharing your personal experiences with the disease.  Your input is very valuable and we can't thank you enough for your support!  We hope you had a wonderful holiday and a very Happy New Year! - Amelia White, Events Coordinator"
 
Denise Roberts  - Southend-on-Sea, United Kingdom - (27 June 2013): "Grief can hit anytime...strange how some days you feel you can cope and other days trying to cope with the missing of that wonderful person you loved so much...and wishing that person would be there...again...that heavy hearted feeling..:(  but I still talk to Mum and dad and tell them my worries and that I love them with all my heart....I have a shrine of all the wonderful times we had together (pictures)...I think having many pictures of them around the house keeps them alive in some small way and that they will never be forgotten...One of my greatest ballet teachers he puts fresh flowers in his house for his deceased mum...to remember her...nothing can really replace the loss but it can ease some of the pain..."
 
Patrice Kohn  - McKinney, Texas - (12 August 2013): "Thank you for sharing the links on Grief Support for the Families of Alzheimer's Disease. Would you mind if I shared the links on FB to some of the Families I serve here in the Dallas-Fort Worth area? In addition, I am very excited to be attending an Alzheimer's Association Conference here in my area tomorrow. It will be most interesting & beneficial to the Aging Professionals and Families here in the Dallas Metroplex. Thank you ...God bless you and the work you do in your wife, June's honor & memory."

Kelly Dee Ramos  - (22 August 2013): "Thank you ... for all of your wonderful sharing, I find this unknown journey with my Mom so scary and unsettling to say the least.  Your words always bring comfort and knowledge to me, June was a beautiful and blessed lady."
 
Jen Wilson  - Lake Ozarks, Missouri - (6 November 2013): "My brother who was 52--passed away 2 weeks ago and my grief sessions are only on MP--and the internet--there are no support groups here in Lake Ozarks,MO--he died from tramatic brain injury and he had FTD."
 
Keith Bucknall  - Ivybridge, Devon, United Kingdom - (28 December 2013): "Thank you for this Stan,  I hope you won't mind that I have shared this to help others. God bless."
 
Terry Ferlas  - Cottage Grove, Minnesota - (28 December 2013): "Wonderful, i love it Stan and i am so happy she (Lori) wrote this, maybe she is a messenger without even realizing it.  And she is so right about grief.  I have found nothing abnormal in what you have shared and described about your life with june, all about june herself and who she was, all about her disease and journey into darkness, all about your tireless commendable efforts to help thwart the disease, all you did and still do to express your love and i have no doubt at all you have helped countless fellow humans in many ways with your candor.  You never get OVER that kind of loss, you may get THROUGH it, but for each of us it is different.  Everything you do is an active show of grief in a form.  Don't ever stop feeling what you feel.  That would be sad.  To have loved so deeply and truly as you have is to have felt the pain for the loss just as truly and deeply and i know you would do it all again despite the pain.  Don't ever change.  You have helped me in many ways.  My father is terminally ill and i will watch my mother grieve, they are close as ever after 59 years married and i feel blessed.  Gives me faith that this incredible love exists in this world.  And i am part of my love's journey into that horrible disease and as hard as it has been, i am glad to be a part of it for him, with him.  I apologize for those that are too ignorant to see the grace of it all, they cannot help themselves.  Maybe life will change them in time.  I believe your grief has driven you this far.  And your courage to share it causes you to be forever in my memory.  Thank you."
 
Bonnie Seip  - Ottsville, Pennsylvania - (28 December 2013): "Wow ... This is beautiful,  thank you for sharing this Mr. Berg from Lori ...If this doesn't open ones eyes I don't know what will . I lost my Dad also. He and my mom were married over 60 yrs ! I have seen many Very Happy times with them growing up as a child. The day he passed my Mom has never been the same. Our family used to celebrate Christmas Eve also at Mom and Dads house . All those years of celebrating had come to a end the year after he passed . No holiday has ever been the same. I dislike when people say Get over it! As Lori said, I want to know how someone can get over a loved one wether they are spounse, father or Mother? I will never get over the loss of my Dad... He was our family link and now that link is broken ... No one really understands until they go through this terrible loss ...They can say all they want but if they truly cared, loved that special person they lost then you never get over it.... As Lori said you keep right on posting Junes  pictures, cards  and vacations with her and times that you spent taking care of her ... I understand  all that you are going through because my Mom continues to Grieve and will till the Day she is with my Dad again walking along side of him .... God Bless you Mr Berg."
 
Bridie  Breen  - Manchester, United Kingdom - (28 December 2013): "Soul felt Stan and anyone who has been privileged enough to have been present in those last moments of a loved ones passing, will understand what Lori described so tenderly. I was alone with my Dad and with family when my mam passed. I still feel her with me every day. Stan, sorry to hear you have felt sad, do take care and feel joys in small things that matter....(13 March 2014): "Stan there would be less torture and war in the world if more people paused to look at the Pieta. Loss of a loved one, by death in older age is relieved a little in the knowledge and faith that we will meet again. Loss by torture or in youth is harder and grieving can be endless. There is no control when death is nigh but we can stop war and torture. Pieta for me is every person grieving, every mother cradling her child, where blood is spilt needlessly. Rest in peace your kovely June...(22 November 2014): Stan that's a lovely idea. Sometimes for some having a faith community can be a place for sharing the highs and lows of life. Here,November is a month to remember those gone before us. I often wonder where generations have made choices not to have formal religious structures, who will remember us when we are passed "
 
Sara Watson  - Cedar Point, North Carolina - (28 December 2013): "It was hard to read all of this because my eyes were stinging from the tears.  This message was  heartfelt and moving.  Both my mother and father left this world, with 17 years between, as i held them in my arms.  It is such a gift to be present at the passing of someone you love.  I understand grief and know just as you think you may have come to terms with it, it floods back in waves.  There are many triggers that bring the longing to say something or share something with your loved ones. We all bear our pain in different ways.  Be strong and find peace any way you can.  If it is through remembrance let it be so.  God bless you Mr. Berg and Lori."
 
Patrice Kohn  - McKinney, Texas - (28 December 2013): "First of all, may I wish you and June a belated Merry Christmas"! You are such an inspiration to me and countless other people who have lost loved ones due to the terrible illness known as Alzheimer's Disease. Secondly, thank you for sharing Lori-Ann's beautiful tribute to both her parents. It brings tears to my eyes & certainly brings back memories of my loss of my Dad suddenly @ the young age of 67 y/o in my home in Atlanta, Ga. 18 yrs. ago. I still to this day grieve for his loss. Although my Parents were divorced & remarried to other people, I know my now 80 y/o Mom grieves not only the loss of my Dad (they had been married for 26 yrs.), but her 2nd Husband of 25 yrs. who also died very suddenly in a car accident). In my opinion, NO ONE should be able to tell you how long you should grieve for your dear wife, June. Obviously only you and God, who loves you immensely can determine that. In conclusion, I want to wish you a very healthy and happy new year. May 2014 be a year full of blessings, love, and joy spreading your beautiful memories of your beloved June. You are such a WONDERFUL ADVOCATE for June and Alzheimer's Disease. I wish I lived in Minneapolis so that our paths could cross. May God continue to richly bless you and ALL that you do! Hugs to you!
 
Bernadette Brady  - Dublin, Ireland - (28 December 2013): "I agree. I am grieving for Mom since her diagnosis almost 13 years ago. And Mom is still here. It's been a painful agonising 12 years and I cannot even imagine how I will grieve for her when she passes. I had people tell me too that I need to accept things and move on. People who choose to forget my Mom and pretend like she is gone and never even existed. Who choose not to visit her or even speak of her. I learned to pity these people because my Mom is a precious human being who I adore and I will acknowledge her life and love her always...in this final stage of her disease and after her passing, always. I feel sorry for people who tell us so easily to "move on". I live my life and I can do that while choosing to remember my Mom, all that she is, and all that she was. A dear friend reassured me that what I do for my loving Mom was very right. She told me "how tragic would it be if we forgot the people we loved so deeply in life. And how tragic would it be if loosing them did not break our hearts. Because grieving for them is proof of how deep our love was and is...I had the same experience as Lori-Ann the night Dad passed on 8th October 1989. I watched him see heaven for the first time too. Mom and me saw a beautiful serenity embrace him and a beautiful smile showed us that he was happy to go to heaven. I applaud her for the memory she shared with you. It's beautiful."
 
Barbara Lee Carlson  - Spring Lake Park, Minnesota - (28 December 2013): "Very touching Stan.  I llost my Dad in 1984 he was in a auto accident when he and Mom were down in Florida.   He died.   I never got to view him dead, and I looked for him for years.    I went to a class on learning to be a grief minister for our church, and through that class found out that I hadn't finished the grieving process yet.  I learned through that class that some folks don't get over,  ever, the loss of their loved one.  Every person is different and we all cope, survive, learn to go on in different ways. God had a purpose in doing that also. Terrible if we were all the same. love you Stan."  
 
Gabriella Rader  -  Centralia, Washington - (28 December 2013): "What a wonderful young lady Lori-Ann is to share such an intimate part of her life with you/us. very touching. Lori-Ann is very well spoken and she is also right on Stan. many blessings to Myou my friend. i am praying daily for you and will include Lori-Ann and her father also. 
 
Michelle Hall Miller  - Irvington, Alabama - (28 December 2013): "Stan, I think of you, June and your mother almost every day...along with Barbara Taylor Vaughan and Melissa Vaughan.  My mother-in-law died with Alzheimer's about 15 yrs. ago.  Recently we've had to move my husband's older brother into a care facility--we are shocked at his rapid decline since his diagnosis less than 2 yrs. ago.  He's 66.  It takes all kinds in this world and I thank God there are people like you who are devoted to helping others deal with this life-stealing disease."
 
Tim Hayes  - Dublin, Ireland - (28 December 2913): "Have lit candles for you, for June and for David and I have no doubt June and David's spirits are with you. God Bless my friend, keep well."
 
Mandy Rackley  - Margate, Kent, United Kingdom - (28 December 2013): "When my brother died I was alone with him beside his hospital bed. He had Downs Syndrome and had early onset dementia. He was just 53. He had had a stroke whilst in hospital being treated for an infection and had been laying apparently sleeping for some time and had been unable to talk for days. Suddenly, even though his breathing was still laboured, he opened his eyes and stared intently at the ceiling. His eyes sparkled and a small smile came on his face as he really studied the ceiling. I looked at the same point and could see nothing more than the dimly lit hospital ward ceiling, but he was obviously fascinated. I too am sure that was his first glimpse of Heaven and that has been a huge comfort to me ever since. Thank you for sharing this Stanton..."
 
Cher Riley  - Bristol, United Kingdom - (29 December 2013): "Mandy Rackley, thank you for this insight,  I too think he saw a glimpse of heaven, and his guardian angel there waiting with open arms for him.  Other family members would be there for sure, and if he smiled then you can be sure he was happy to go.  He saw something he knew and loved, something more enticing than the ''chains'' of this life and all it brings along.  Take comfort dear heart, and know he is happy - free from Downs and Dementia and is now guiding you and hugging you for all the care you gave to your brother...Grief never stops, especially when at this time of year, people think back to times past.  Even when their loved ones are still with them, they are grieving for times gone.  The other day at work, we had a sort of party tea where our residents were treated with songs to sing along to.  One song in particular was a memory link to one of our residents family member, and this person left the room, I went after her, to find her sobbing in the hallway.  For times past and her anquish at her loved one being there but not being there.  A certain song made it all too much to  bear.  It was just awful to witness this, and as a carer for people with a form of dementia, I feel for the relatives too.  I felt so useless, I consoled her as much as I could, but knew this lady had to return home without her relative, and this time of the year is so tough for them.  It is indeed pure torment to those watching on the outside too.  Knowing there is precious little we can do to help them get past these few festive days.  Any carer who cares will find themselves in this position. Remember we are there for you too, not just your loved one.  Lean on us this is why we are here."
 
Anne Moghraby  - Solihull, United Kingdom - (29 December 2013): "Thank you Lori Anne for sharing your story.  Some rings true for me, my only regret is not being with mum when she passed away, but the week before, she kept raising her arms, and looking ahead, a carer said later she had whispered I am not afraid anymore, which is comforting to me and am sure she is with  her mum and dad etc.  That was 2 yrs ago.  Then a week before this Xmas my mother in law passed away abroad, although she was not well was a shock, so my husband had to go away for Xmas.  When he came back it was very emotional and the last few days I have never felt so low, also I lost my close uncle last year, so one realises we are all getting old to, and although it is comforting to know they may be in a better place it is here with us we want them to be.  So thank you again for sharing your story Xmas is always a sad time for many people, just cherish the memories."
 
 Ray Kicker  - Nashville, Tennessee - (9 January 2014): "Stanton, I have no doubt that there is life after this stage of our life is over.  I have my reasons for believing and I'm not afraid to die myself.  It is the natural end for all of us and I look forward to that journey and feel that adventure will just be starting.  Death is hardest on those we leave behind...Stanton, Seems like you already have some great connections in Heaven.  Stan, I'm sure all those that have already gone before us would tell you to live and live fully whatever the life you have remaining.  You, I and all those who read this posting will be making our own trip to our heavenly home.  Your testimony of love for both June and your son is touching and speaks of your character.  You've got to have a few adventures before you depart so you'll have some good stories to tell June and your son of the time between when they left and you joined them.  Besides a bit of them lives in your own heart.  Bless you."
 
Bridie Breen  - Manchester, United Kingdom - (9 January 2014): "Stan, in this world of ours some subjects are considered too contentious to speak on. My mother used to say the ones likely to cause the most argument or debate are Sex, Religion and Politics. Now that I am 53yrs of age and been in situations where you cannot sit on the fence regarding any one or all of those subjects, I am more inclined to speak my mind. I base some of this openness on the usual adage of ' those that mind don't matter and those that matter don't mind' . So regarding your lovely story. With all my heart and soul I do believe that when it is my moment to pass from this life, those I have loved or mattered too in this world who have passed over already, will be there to welcome me into the next. Sometimes we don't pause long enough in a fast paced life to allow room for the little signals or reminders which bring comfort. To have a heart open to a spiritual self goes beyond any formal religion and personally, I have lost loved ones who still feel close to me in my daily living. I feel goodness when that happens....(22 November 2014): " stan that's a lovely idea. Sometimes for some having a faith community can be a place for sharing the highs and lows of life. Here, November is a month to remember those gone before us. I often wonder where generations have made choices not to have formal religious structures, who will remember us when we are passed."
 
Elaine Wharmby  - Tamworth, United Kingdom - (10 January 2014): "I truly believe that our loved ones are not only there waiting for us but are with us everyday helping us to get through. If this belief comforts us through our days then who is to say if it is right or wrong.  Thanks again for a very interesting read Stanton."
 
Beth Ann Doucette  - Lino Lakes, Minnesota - (28 January 2014): "I read the entire article, Stan -  Very interesting and  most heartwarming - You write very well, and from the heart!! -  Thank you again for sharing."
 
Terry Shepherd  - Warsaw, Indiana - (5 May 2014): "Thank you so much Stanton. This is very nice...it is a beautiful site and tribute to a wonderful woman. You were very fortunate to have her in your life. Your love for her continues to shine throughout each day"
 
Catherine Jones-Hatcher  - Richmond, Virginia - (31 August 2014): "That is beautiful Stan... I just lost a dear friend on Firday, and this hits home with me on many levels..."
 
Lyn Young  - Elgin, Moray, United Kingdom - (22 November 2014): "It is good to talk and share about departed loved ones."
 
Tabatha Sturkie  - Rock Hill, South Carolina - (22 November 2014): "Thank You for sharing your beautiful memories with us...a beautiful soul."
 
Susanna Nicholos  - Catskill, New York - (27 November 2014): "So touching and made me teary eyed, the pain lessens when you lose someone but never really goes away, You are so strong and I see the power and passion in ur words, rest assured we all will be with our loved ones some day, that is what keeps me going and the end to suffering."
 
John Stevens  - Twin Falls, Idaho - (17 January 2015): "It has been 24 years since my mother went on to heaven. You never stop missing them. Just looking forward to the reunion."
 
Bridie Breen  - Manchester, United Kingdom - (17 January 2015): "Now that is a comforting site for those in need!"
 
 
 --- 

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"