June Berg - My 57 Years Valentine 2008
- Published on Thursday, 05 June 2008 16:15
- Written by Stanton O. Berg
June, while you are deep in the darkest shadows of Alzheimer’s, Pastor Harley reminds me, we can still communicate 'spirit to spirit'. God and the Holy Spirit will be our messengers.
In the beginning - We first met on a warm spring morning in May of 1951. We were both 23 years of age. I was home on leave from the Army.
My father Tom insisted that the first order of business on the first morning of my leave was to come with him to meet a special lady. I already had a date for that evening and was not really interested. However, I went along with him to please him. When my father made the introductions, he instantly changed my life forever. How could he have known what a special gift he gave me at that moment? You would become both the love and light of my life. While I was searching for a Rose he presented me with an Orchid. God truly smiled on me that day!
(Photo on right above - June Berg taken on Mother's Day May 1994)
While I had and have many faults, you had none. You overlooked my many short comings and loved me just the same. Like God, You always forgave and forgot my failures.
You were my constant companion on my many forensic science conference travels here and abroad. You always loved to see and do things. You had a great many interests as evidenced by your many collections. You loved photography and always had a camera on hand to document our travels. Your smile and your warmth was your signature. You truly made my life an adventure.
I always thought of myself as the well organized one in the family. Too often I took you for granted. A friend of yours and our former next door neighbor finally awakened me to the realization that you were the well organized one all along. Your friend told me – “When I lived next door to you, I always felt I would like to be more like June. She always seemed so perfect and organized.”
Now as I think back I wonder how you did it. You were both a wife and a mother of four robust children. (Later many grandchildren.) In those early days our money was in short supply. To help out you made many of our children’s clothes, (matching sport suits for the boys and matching dresses for the girls) you cut their hair, (and the neighbors’ kids too) and made their school lunches. You ran the home including meals, cleaning, ironing and laundry. The family always had dinner together. You were an exceptional cook. You were noted for your Carmel and Cinnamon rolls, your fresh hot buns and your pies, deserts and salads.
In 1958 you arranged the family’s early membership in Redeemer Lutheran Church.This year you and I celebrate our 50th year with Redeemer Lutheran. You supervised the Children’s Religious Education, you served as a Girl Scout leader, taught Sunday school, served on the Church Council, hosted Rebecca Circle meetings, participated in the Bell Choir, served as a Sunday Church Greeter, handled “Meals on Wheels”, and you even made weekly dinner visits to a Nursing Home. You helped serve church sponsored meals at a down town Minneapolis Mission. For years you participated in an internationally conducted college level Bible study. (Bible Study Fellowship) You were also the family host for the Holidays. You even found the time to read your favorite author Max Lucado and to play your Clavinova.
You were the family social secretary. In addition to handling 100 or so Christmas cards (most with notes) you also included Easter, Thanksgiving, Valentines, Birthdays, Anniversaries, Get Well and simply Friendship cards. Now that this has become my job I stand in awe at how you did it all. I can do little more than a fraction of it. You did this all so efficiently that it seemed almost effortless. All the while you managed to look fresh, bright and beautiful.
While I thought I was the important one by bringing home the money we needed, you were the one who was doing the really important work. While I was taking my bows you were doing God’s work!
It was Whittier who said “For of all sad words of tongue or pen the saddest are these: “It might have been!” That is not my life. Of our life together, I have few regrets, just gratitude. How fortunate I am to be able to say that. The only regret I have is that I did not do more for you before you were crushed under the cruel heel of Alzheimer’s.
You knew at a very early date, the blackness and the depth of the distant approaching Alzheimer’s storm clouds. You displayed a concern for me. I remember well that Sunday (Ca. 1999) when you brought home the “Care Notes” pamphlet from our church - “Handling Grief as a Man.” You said nothing; you just left it out for me to find and to read. I remember the time that you detected one of my episodes of emotional sadness as I watched your Alzheimer's progress. You tried to console me by saying “Don’t worry, I will be alright Stan!” I am sure at the time, you and I both really knew otherwise.
If I am still here when the Lord calls you to Heaven from the Benedictine, and if you can, stop by 6025 on your way. You will find it just like you left it on March 16th 2005. It is like time stood still. Your favorite jackets and clothes are still in the closets. The Angels from your collection still hold court throughout the house. The Christmas tree that you decorated years ago still remains up all the year around. The living room coffee table and the end tables still have all your original photos and memorabilia. The kitchen refrigerator door still has the same notes, pictures and magnet items as the day you left. If you stop by, call my name – Your voice has been stilled for so long!
I can not even begin to tell you what a blessing you are and have been in my life. Thanks June for giving me such a wonderful life, Thanks for your unconditional love and Thanks for being my Valentine sweetheart for almost 57 years.
(Published - Minneapolis Star-Tribune - Valentines Day, Thursday – February 14th, 2008)
On October 23rd, 2008 June passed away after almost eleven years of an exhausting battle with Alzheimer’s. June's last three years and 8 plus months were in an Alzheimer’s facility. Her last years were at the Alzheimer’s “Villa” of the Benedictine Health Care Center of Innsbruck, New Brighton, MN. See June's funeral notice as published in the Minneapolis Star - Tribune.