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.”