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October 24

Cash Couple Broken Over a Larry Gatlin Song

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Larry Gatlin would never forget that day in May 2003 when Johnny Cash called him up. His wife, June Carter Cash was dying.

“The doctor said she’s mighty sick, and she isn’t going to make it much longer. This morning, she whispered in my ear. She wants you and those two rascal brothers of yours to sing that “Help Me” song you wrote. That’s her favorite Gatlin Brothers song, and she wants you boys to sing it at her funeral, whenever that is.”

He and his brothers, Steve and Rudy readily obliged. Eight days later, June finally rested from her earthly life. Her funeral was held at First Baptist Church of Hendersonville and the Gatlin brothers were present to sing “Help Me” as a send-off song to June. Larry even served as emcee during the whole service.

Deep in mourning the loss of his dearest companion, Cash took solace in recordings songs the following months. Among the songs, he included in his last album was, as you can guess, Help Me. Be it in remembrance to June or his own heartfelt plea, John sang these gut-wrenching words:

“Lord, help me walk another mile, just one more mile/I’m tired of walkin’ all alone/Lord, help me smile another smile, just one more smile/I know I just can’t make it on my own/I never thought I needed help before/I thought that I could do things by myself/Now I know I just can’t take it any more/With a humble heart, on bended knee/I’m beggin’ you, please, for help.”

At age 71, the legendary Johnny Cash was not ashamed to show how totally dependent he was with God in getting him through his sorrow. The kindest response was not to let Cash stay miserable for too long. Five months since June’s death, God also let Cash rest. Larry then commented,

“It was doubly poignant for me, under the circumstances of knowing that the man didn’t have long to live, that he chose one of my songs as one of the last he would record.”

 


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  • […] Johnny Cash’s life story is the perfect paradigm to illustrate what would truly matter once you reach the final lap of your timeline. Coming from a man who once possessed everything that this world had to offer, “Spiritual” gives us a peek to the vulnerability of a person when he is at the doorpost of death. No fretting over lost wealth, health and people. There was only that keen awareness that he needed Jesus more than anything else. Hence, his words stating that he does not want to die alone. But instead of seeking the presence of family and friends, he opted for Jesus’ companionship in his last moments. Nothing is more important than that. Indeed, no amount of earthly loss could compare or surpass losing Jesus. To die without him by your side could make one feel the loneliest creature who ever lived. As the verse in Matthew 16:26 stated, there is no benefit in gaining everything when in exchange, you will lose your soul. And our souls could only be safe in the hands of our Lord. […]

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