A Christmas Letter - December - 2006 - June's Alzheimer's - 10th Year
- Published on Tuesday, 27 May 2008 15:52
- Written by Stanton O. Berg
As I promised last Christmas, I will not put you through another three (3) page Christmas letter. Although much has happened to June since last year, I will keep this update to (1) one page. I also promised last year, that the card in which this update is enclosed is a June card. It is one of the many cards that June personally picked out in prior happier times, intending to send to you at some future Christmas time.
June is no longer at the Wellstead. She is now living at the Benedictine Health Center at Innsbruck. This is a much better facility and is located only a mile from her old home. The Wellstead was 21 miles away. The details and reasons for the move made last March 24th can be reviewed on her web site.
So much has changed in the past year. A year ago on our anniversary (August 16th)) June and I danced the Anniversary Waltz. This year (August 16th 2006), June cannot walk and is in a wheel chair. Last year at Thanksgiving time I made an addendum to a previous list of the things I was thankful for. All related to June. I said I was thankful for the times that June would quietly sleep with her head on my shoulder. I was thankful for the times when as I held her hand she would place her other hand on top of mine. I was thankful for the times that she would call me by my name “Stan”. Topping the list were the times she would say “I Love You Stan.” Now a year later all of these things are forever gone from June and my life.
June’s life is now little more then an existence. She sits most of the time with her eyes closed. She rarely speaks and when she does it is difficult to understand her. She is usually non responsive when I talk with or to her. Sometimes she will give me a smile once or twice during the day. Some days there are no smiles or indications of awareness. Sometimes she will surprise me and will hear something to cause her to open her eyes and smile for several seconds. Many times however, I will speak to her, talk about old times, stroke her cheek and kiss her and only get a look that says to me “who are you?” She cannot feed her self and when I have meals with her I must spoon feed every bite that she eats. Her food is pureed to prevent choking. Most of the days that I spend with her consist of holding her hand, listening to music and talking to her about old times. I always take her to the beautiful little chapel where I pray for her peace and comfort and always request a miracle cure. This request forever eludes us. June is presently in Hospice care.
I had not planned to decorate June’s room for Christmas. I felt it would have no meaning to her as she seems to have so little awareness of her surroundings. My daughter Julie however prevailed on me to do so and suggested I put up the small ceramic Christmas tree that June had previously purchased for me. It was a gift from June several years ago. June felt I needed a Christmas tree in my office where I spent so much of my time on forensic work. It is a beautiful little tree with a light inside and holes for little brightly colored plastic ornaments that glow from the inside light. Julie thought it would make a good night light in June’s room. June’s thoughtful gift to me of years ago has returned to hopefully brighten her nights and days. A wreath from Julie on her door completes her look of Christmas. And who really knows what meaning it will have for June,
My days are presently spent either at the nursing home with June or for the most part on projects that are related to June or Alzheimer’s. I am continually updating or changing her web site. I also have her card project which I continually change and update. (One of the cards is enclosed herewith.) I have distributed over a thousand of the cards. I also have projects involving contacts with and letters to the U.S. Government, and to Key members of the Administration and Congress requesting Alzheimer’s research funding. I try to arrange for editorials printed in the local papers. I design and pay for monthly advertisements in the Minnesota Legionnaire magazine. The advertisements consist of reproductions of the front and rear sides of June’s cards. Alzheimer’s presently impacts about 50% of WWII veterans.
So in memory of and in behalf of the June of Christmas’s past, in behalf of the June who wished Christmas would come twice a year, in behalf of the June who loved Christmas with all her heart – A Very Merry Christmas. -
Notes: 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 the funeral notice as published in the Minneapolis Star - Tribune. It is located on the top blue navigation strip under the label: “In Memoriam”. Click on: