My Last Valentine From June - 2003
- Published on Thursday, 26 June 2008 02:58
- Written by Stanton O. Berg
(Photo - June and Stan - May 2002)
The below series of three cards demonstrate the progressive destruction of the mind by Alzheimer's so that a simple love note with signature becomes a matter of great difficulty in formulation and proper word usage or even the order of word usage.
The last Valentine that June purchased for me in 2002 was unsigned and undelivered until 2008. Quite by accident I found it just before Valentines Day 2008. June had purchased it apparently in 2002, intending to give it to me for Valentines’ Day in 2003.
In 2002, June was starting her 5th year after being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Valentines Day in 2003 would have been her start into the 6th year of Alzheimer’s. On Valentines Day in 2003, June was already entering into the later stages of this terrible disease and was not able to follow her plans of the year before. When June purchased the Valentines for use in the year in 2003, she placed them into a 6” by 9” manila clasp envelope. On the top edge of the envelope June had written in red ink “Valentine’s for next year 2003.”
Although when June made the purchase in the year 2002, her writing was still remarkably steady and clear. The year 2002 was the year that June and I celebrated our 50th Anniversary. Unfortunately her condition deteriorated rapidly during the coming year and Alzheimer’s took control of more and more of her life. As a result, the first Valentine was never delivered. Two years after this 2003 Valentines Day, June was placed in the care of an Alzheimer's facility (March 16th, 2005)
June loved to buy cards of all kinds for her family, friends and relatives. This year (2008) I decided to look at June’s previously purchased cards and see if June had purchased any Valentines. If I found any, I intended to send them out to her family and any one else appropriate as a Valentine from June. My search revealed the manila envelope stuffed with valentines.
As I looked through the new but unused Valentines, I found the Valentine that June intended to give to me. It was a very emotional moment. The verse was very beautiful and moving. Finding it just before Valentines Day 2008, made it even more special. I cannot help but wonder if this was God at work. I have always said “Do not believe in coincidences and you will be right most of the time.”
Immediately below are photos of the front cover of the unsigned Valentine and the inside page with the verse. The front cover has a beautiful layered construction. The roses and the guitar are all cut out of cardboard and glued on the face of the card. The top of the envelope June used to save them in is also shown.
Note: Below this card are two other cards that June gave me around this period of time but they have no dates and I can only guess that they represent the same general time period. the first one has a short love note from June and her signature. You can see her Alzheimer's handicap at work in the misuse of one word. The second card also has a short love note from June but it is also a more severe example of Alzheimer's at work. The words are not appropriate nor are they in the right order. June also signed it more formally with her complete name. It is however, one of the most beautiful and sentimental of all of the cards that she has ever given me! It humbles me every time I read it.)
Below: This is the first of the signed cards that June gave as described above. Timing is around 2003. June and I would frequently exchange more than one card on such occasions. It is not known if the below card was a second card purchased for the year 2003 - Due to her Alzheimer's , June would not have remembered buying other cards. June tried to put a short note above her signature but because of her Alzheimer's handicap the note did not come out as she had intended. The front of the card shows a typical June added touch where she has designated the chairs by our names.
I am sure that June intended to say 'My" instead of "Our" in the note below but became confused with her note of love and it just came out wrong. In the last two years before June had to go into a facility for care, she was having great difficulty and many frustrations in signing cards. It was very sad especially at Christmas time.
Below is the second card referred to above. This card shows the extreme difficulty that June was having in writing a love message above her signature and making it come out in an appropriate manner. I am sure that June meant "Our Live Me, to my Husband!" to read instead - "My love to my Husband!" She also signed it formally with her complete name instead of her usual of "June." The card is however, one of the most beautiful and sentimental of any card I have ever received from June. I do not think I have ever received a card that has more humbled me than her sentiments in this card.
(Note that this is a three page card!)
(Below is the second - folded page)
(The last page below is the center page of the card.)
(Photo below - June and Stan - 50th Anniversary 2002)