MARTIN: Finding beauty in a sad moment

Published 8:47 pm Thursday, November 16, 2017

By Jerria Martin | Martin is a minister and director of the Drug Free Communities of Dallas County

Imagine having one of the dearest people, who you love more than words can express, who loves and supports you beyond measure, pass away in your arms.

For many, this seems like a cruel nightmare. However, for me, this was my harsh reality just two short years ago.

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On Oct. 24, 2015, I found out that my great aunt, Era Dean Lake, who helped raise me, was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer.

The doctors had already done all they could do, and had turned her over into Hospice care.

However, I immediately dropped everything to care for her the way she’d always cared for me.

I often reflect back over this experience to find the beauty in it and to understand the lessons I learned in the process of coping.

Ironically, even though this was a tough season for me, I have become a stronger Christian and a better woman because of it.

My aunt was such a sweet stubborn woman, even though she was losing her strength, she wouldn’t dare use a cane.

I’d stand in front of her, and she’d lean on my shoulders as I led her around the house.

I beared her weight, all she had to do was move her feet.

Considering the following year, coping with her death, I learned that I too have a friend that I can lean on the same way, to pull me through when I’m feeling weak. His name is Jesus.

I have several videos on my phone from our special time together, and to my surprise when looking back at them, I noticed that just about three days prior to her passing, she was too weak to even talk, but I captured her as she rested in her bed, humming her most favorite hymn, Blessed Assurance.

I learned from this that we are called to praise God at all times, even on our bad days, he’s still worthy.

On an early Saturday morning, Nov. 21, 2015, we knew her time was winding down.

She had been through all the previous stages and was now showing the “final days” signs listed in my “What to Expect When Caring for the Dying” booklet.

On her final night, after all our family and  friends said their goodbyes, I snuggled in bed next to her, wrapped her up in my arms, prayed with her, sang to her, told her how much I loved her and at approximately 1:30 a.m., she slipped away.

This crushed me at the time, but now that time has passed, what I appreciate most about this is that she was in my loving care until she was called up to be in God’s. This was a miserable, yet beautiful experience for me.

It changes things, if you’ll allow it to, it heals, redeems, and even reveals all things.

Surely there’s enlightening, alluring, and captivating hope in time.