My Last Gift From June - 2003
- Published on Thursday, 26 June 2008 04:00
- Written by Stanton O. Berg
(Photo above in 2003 shows June and me at our last forensic conference together.)
Early into the year of 2003, June was entering the 6th year since she was first diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in January 1998. but in her 7th year of the disease. This was a year in which changes in June’s cognitive condition were easily recognized as Alzheimer’s began to take more and more control of her life.
This would be the last year that Alzheimer's would permit June to purchase a gift for me on her own without help of others. In March of 2003, June purchased a little booklet for me as a gift. June frequently would buy me spontaneous little gifts from time to time with out any special occasion prompting such a gift. I looked at them all as love gifts.
The little booklet that she bought for me was titled “To My Very Special Husband.” “To Give and To Keep.” On the back cover the contents are described as: “A collection of some of the kindest and warmest things that have been written about men.”
The title page states: “Keep this little book somewhere ordinary, where your eyes may fall on it a dozen times a day. So that, wherever I am, you will be reminded of me – and of how much I love you.”
( I find that I cannot read the above instruction without getting all emotional and choked up.)
Inside the cover was a place to enter the name of the person receiving the gift, the name of the person giving the gift and the date of the gift. When I received this gift from June on March 15th, 2003, she had not filled in this gift information in the spaces provided. Because of the significance of this gift and of the timing of the gift, and knowing that perhaps it would be the last such gift from June, I requested that she complete the filling in of the gift information. She did so very carefully and slowly because of her Alzheimer’s handicap. Even so, we had to white out an error she had made in the year of the gift. June was then able to correctly enter the proper year. It was only two years later, almost to the day, that June was placed in the care of an Alzheimer's facility. (March 16th, 2005.)
This little booklet has 24 un-numbered pages that contain 45 love notes, poems and writings by many authors. All are writings and words of love!
Examples of some of the writings - On opening the first two pages and the next two pages one sees these words of love:
"He lights my world with love and laughter. He
gives to all my days the warm promise of Spring,
and because of him I am every young. So,
Darling, for yesterday, today and all my tommorows,
my love and my thanks." - Catherine Jenkinson"
"He's the guy who makes me say to God every day,
"Thanks for this guy, God;" - Veronica Cassidy."
On the last two pages are these beautiful little writings:
"My husband is humble and when he says,
Why do you love me? I am so ordinary", it
hurts because I can never find the words to tell
him he is my whole world." V. M. Hales"
"Your presence pervades the house.
Even when you are away I find myself listening for you.
I Open every door, half expecting to find you there -
Turn to speak and feel my heart die a little in the silence.
You are in my mind and in my heart.
You are in the very air I breathe.
Your are part of me. Forever." Rosanne Ambrose-Brown."
"I love thee with the breath, smiles, tears, of all my life"
Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806-1861)"
Almost immediately after giving me the little booklet, June presented me with a cute little "I Love You" frog, book page marker.
This little booklet gift remains on the night stand next to our bed. I see it at least a few times every day, touch it daily and read it often. .As this is my last gift from June, it is one of my most treasured and valued possessions. The little frog book marker is kept by the little booklet, also as a treasured possession. I am sure that June would never have thought that this little set of inexpensive gifts would become of such importance and such a treasure to me or that they would be looked at and touched by me on a daily basis!
(Below is a photo of the cover of this little book and also of the inside page that shows the gift details and the date in June’s handwriting.)
(Below is the "I Love You" Frog book page marker.)
(Photo by Bill Peterson.)
(Below - Another Photo of June and me at our last conference together - 2003.)
To read the letters to the Children for the year 2003, reflecting the progress of Alzheimer's in this 6th year from diagnosis, please click on the below link:
After battling Alzheimer's for almost 11 years, an exhausted June was called home by God on October 23rd, 2008. Her funeral notice as published in the Minneapolis Star in October 2008 can be seen on this website under the "In Memoriam" label - Click on: