BY ADREAIN REYNOLDS
Ethel Young-Minor has chosen to play many roles. She is a provider for her family, a hard working professor and a shoulder to lean on for her students. However, she never intended on being a single mother.
Young-Minor remembers waking up on a morning in September of 2012 to her husband saying he felt uncomfortable.
“He walked himself into the hospital. They told me his surgery would last 45 minutes, and he would be in recovery after that, but he never made it out,” Young-Minor said.
Julius Minor, the admissions specialist for distant and online learning for The University of Mississippi, died due to a massive heart attack at age 51.
“I not only lost my husband, I lost my friend, my soul mate and my better half,” Young-Minor said.
It didn’t take long for Young-Minor to recognize she met her soul mate when she met him 17 years earlier.
“I knew I met my ‘Mr. Right’ when I first laid eyes on him at a church I was attending,” she said. “He was the sweetest man I knew. I could tell he would be a perfect husband and father by the way he cared and loved his family.”
Together they would embark on a 17-year journey of love, passion and success. They had two daughters: Jasmine, 16, and Janelle, nine.
Young-Minor had no idea her dream would end so abruptly, and her life’s most tragic event has affected Young-Minor deeply over the last months.
“I’ve had to learn how to do a lot of things with myself, by myself and alone; it has just been a major adjustment,” she said.
However, Young-Minor is still finding many ways of coping with her loss.
Young-Minor is the Senior Fellow for the Luckyday Residental College at Ole Miss, where she and her family live. After the death of her husband, Young-Minor made some changes to her job routine.
Young-Minor discontinued Thrilling Thursdays she created for the residents of Luckyday.
“I had to cancel the program because I did not want to leave my kids with someone else,” she said. “This was a time I needed to be closer to them, so I felt comfortable with the decision I made.”
Young-Minor also cancelled two major trips for the university because she did not want to leave her children.
“I will do anything for my children,” she said. “They are my life. My own personal gift from God that I can cherish every day.”
Jasmine and Janelle have felt the impact of his loss as well. Julius Minor spent a lot of time with his daughters.
“He was the fun parent,” Young-Minor said. “He would tuck Janelle into bed every night. They had a soft place to land with him.”
After the loss of her husband, Young-Minor now sees life through different lenses.
Young-Minor takes more time to talk to residents and gets to know them personally. She always has an open ear, ready to listen to any problem of any kind a resident may have. Every day you will see Young-Minor in the cafeteria talking to a resident, or having lunch with them. She enjoys helping students who might not have made it if they were not a part of the Luckyday Residential College.
“I try to make sure every student has the academic support they need, to make sure they can get through their problems,” she said. “Nothing gives me more joy than to hear ‘my children’ are doing well in life.”
Young-Minor also says she has a great support system at the residential college. They were there the minute they found about the death of her husband. The university made sure she had the privacy and necessary items she needed.
“The university was amazing,” Young-Minor said. “The custodial staff, the cooking staff, donors and all the staff on campus made sure we had everything we needed.”
Young-Minor never knew her life would be like this, but she is content because she knows Julius lived his dreams and had a wonderful life.
“Janelle was crying last night. She said she wished she had one more hour with him, but if we had one more hour, we would just want one more hour,” Young-Minor said. “I loved him from the time I met him until his very last breath, and I am at peace because I know he is watching me every day.”