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Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Annapolitan, Nonprofit Leader Pens Book About Coping with Loss of a Loved One

Sherry Medley, a longtime Annapolis resident of 60 years, recently became a published author of “Grace For The Journey: A Widow’s Walk Through Psalms With God.” Her literary journey started after one shocking phone call changed her life. Her beloved husband, Raymond Medley, died suddenly in 2017.

Courtesy of Sherry Medley
Raymond Medley, right, and Sherry Medley, left, married on July 22, 1978. They made their union official in Anne Arundel County.

Sherry —who is the visionary behind the Annapolis and Glen Burnie-based nonprofit, Hands of Hope, Inc.— became widely known for providing educational training and a host of community services beginning in 2009. When her husband of 39 years passed away, shock set in. Raymond had been helping Sherry to take care of her sister, Gloria Brooks. Her life ended after battling Lou Gehrig’s Disease.  Within 24 hours of her burial, Raymond was next.

Sherry turned to counseling and grief groups to cope with her soulmate’s death. She realized self-care was needed, so her former program manager who ran the Hands of Hope, Inc. enabled her to take a hiatus. While embarking upon a healing journey, Sherry turned to writing and bonding with fellow women who understood how it felt to lose a soulmate. After sending texts to find out if they wanted to participate in supporting each other, Grace for the Journey—a group for widows— evolved within a month.

“Everything just started falling in place. God woke me up one night, and I just started writing, and I wrote an eight-week session manual for widows.  I started looking back at women who I knew who lost their husbands, and I just started contacting them and invited them. They came out and they were so enthusiastic and so appreciative that there was a sisterhood for widows being put in place,” Sherry said. “We had gatherings, various workshops and retreats along with our weekly meetings.”

The group’s number’s swelled to approximately 30 women who attended Medley’s group. The widows discussed self-care. They tackled topics such as loneliness and depression, and even met for Christmas and Spring get-togethers.  When the pandemic hit, Zoom sessions became their monthly glue to hold the support system together.

But away from the group, Medley kept putting pen to paper about how she felt. Journaling led to the birth of her 30-day devotional and journal book. The finished product consists of stories, scriptures, and life lessons.

“I wanted to share my healing journey with other women. I just want women to understand what you are going through is not strange, because sometimes widows will go through so much pain,” Sherry said. “I wanted them to understand that they can embrace that pain. Grief is not an enemy. It’s a part of knowing that you love somebody. That pain is feeling the pain of love. The deep pain that you had with a person you love is so very deep… because that person is gone.”

Although “Grace For The Journey: A Widow’s Walk Through Psalms With God” is a book that is deeply rooted in Medley’s walk within becoming a widow, she believes that anyone who needs help moving through the grief process can benefit from reading it. 

Apostle Craig Coates, Ph.D., who is Senior Pastor at Fresh Start Church—located in Glen Burnie— is Sherry’s pastor. Coates wrote one of two forwards for “Grace For The Journey.” He also knew Sherry’s spouse.

“I have known Raymond and Sherry for more than 40 years. Prior to serving as their pastor for the past 10 years, I have known them to be the most wonderful example of Godly love and marital commitment. During his short but impactful time at Fresh Start Church, Raymond served as a faithful deacon and friend to me as well. His sudden death was certainly one that none of us could have ever prepared for,” Coates said. “While writing, I hoped to give readers a perspective that is often only understood through the lens of the pastor serving those who are grieving, that God will take you through the process while giving you grace sufficient for each turn in the road.”

Coates also remarked that he believes that Sherry’s documented journey will assist other widows in healing from grief.

A book launch will be held at Fresh Start Church, located at 120 Langley Rd., North Glen Burnie, on April 30, 2022 from 2-5 p.m. Send an email about the event to [email protected]. You may also contact Sherry to inquire about joining her group for widows. Please visit  https://www.sherrymedley.com/ to learn more about “Grace For The Journey: A Widow’s Walk Through Psalms With God.”

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