07/03/2013 05:11 pm ET Updated Sep 02, 2013

Joy Comes in the Mourning: Part II

"One short night sleep past, we wake eternally ,and Death shall be no more; Death, though shalt die."
John Donne, author of "Death Be Not Proud"

Last week I shared the physical journey of Beth Renee Pears, my dear niece, who entered heaven at age 44 less than one year after she found out she had a very rare form of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Now I want to give you an additional window into the incredible person she was.

One of her students wrote in a card, "In my Junior year you wrote a letter to all of your students and I still have it 12 years later. The first line in the letter is a quote, 'Some people come into our lives and quickly go. Some stay for a while and leave footprints on our hearts and we are never, ever the same.' Mrs. Pears, you left a footprint on my heart."

Beth was like that. In 2001 she wrote this poem "Joy Comes in the Mourning." Her profound insights give a clear picture into the depth and breadth of her soul.

After many dark nights of ominous clouds and veiled stars,
You come to understand that light comes from within.

You learn the hard difference
Between anticipation and acceptance,
Between building and decaying dreams.

You realize that sandcastles may someday topple
And that merry-go-round rides will eventually stop.
You discover that the death of desire is the death of a dream.

You come to grasp that hope does not make you immune,
That salvation is not a guarantee,
And that Death doesn't delay dates.

And you discover that love isn't a binding contract,
That promises are not always kept,
And that Life is not as you planned.

As you lose what is closest to your seat of passion,
Your immoveable heart moves, and your unyielding plans yield,
And you begin to accept life - all of life -

With open arms and wide eyes,
You focus on today's steps,
For tomorrow's path is unknown.

So you breathe deep and keep walking,
One step at a time
Until you're safely Home.

You face the unexpected bumps in the road
With a measure of courage,
And you rejoice in the face of sorrow.

Instead of drowning in grief,
You plunge beneath the consuming flood
And find the buried beauty beneath.

With your head up and your eyes open,
You risk loss and surrender your heart.

Instead of waiting for a miracle
You accept the miracle of the moment and you learn...

And you learn
Through pain you know peace
And you learn
Through weakness you become strong
And you learn
Through uncertainty you gain wisdom
And you learn
Through tears you treasure laughter
And you learn
Through loss you value love
And you learn
Through death you embrace life
And you learn

Through each goodbye...
You live to die to live eternally.

And you learn joy comes in the mourning,
Realizing that the end is only the beginning...

Think about it.