Together in life & death: Husband & wife pass away hours apart from each other

Published 12:05 am Wednesday, April 22, 2020

LAPLACE — While standing at the pulpit at Choice International Ministries in LaPlace, Bishop Antoine Jasmine could always count on seeing his parents supporting him from the front row. It was only last month, while preaching at a special service, that Bishop Jasmine noticed his mother looked tired and worn down.

Little did he know in mid-March that Edward Jasmine Sr. and Diane Jasmine would pass away just hours apart from each other on Good Friday. Both tested positive for COVID-19.

Bishop Jasmine got a text message that his father had passed while recording a sermon in an empty church building. He pushed through and continued delivering the message. Shortly after finishing the recording, he received more news: his mother had passed. Within hours, both were gone.

It’s a hard reality for Bishop Jasmine to wrap his mind around, and the grief has been beyond explanation. When he looks for the silver lining, he realizes his mother always wanted to travel the world, and her story is now making headlines in almost every country.

More importantly, Diane and Edward left this world together, just as they were in life. They were married 42 years but spent 10 separated after a divorce. Diane prayed for a reconciliation, and the two grew back together. When they remarried, their bond was unbreakable.

“The beautiful thing is that they transitioned together,” Bishop Jasmine said. “Their matrimony was happier than it’s ever been in the past 12 years. Nine months ago, they did a renewal of their vows and fell in love with each other again.”

That morning in church was the last time Bishop Jasmine saw his parents in person, before the stay at home order was put in place. Diane looked worn down and Edward was stoic. When the symptoms grew prevalent, they self-quarantined for about a week.

Diane knew when it was time to go to the hospital. She was transferred to Ochsner Kenner and placed on a ventilator. Her condition would bounce from bad to worse to better and back again before her life ultimately ended on Good Friday.

Edward was initially sent home from the hospital, but he came back in with a high fever and was placed on oxygen. While his health appeared to be stable on the outside, his lungs filled with fluid with each passing day. He prepared his sons for the possibility that he and their mother might not make it.

Known by the Choice International family as “Pop and Mother Jasmine” both Edward and Diane were pillars of the house. Edward would fix any plumbing or electrical problems in the church building and cut the grass, while Diane bonded with the women of the congregation.

“They were the most faithful members I’ve had,” Bishop Jasmine said.

Edward was a man of few words, but when he spoke, he shared words of wisdom. Quiet and loving, he proved himself to be a jack of all trades. Bishop Jasmine described him as an “undiscovered genius” who mastered every task before him, except for public speaking.

Edward Jasmine Sr. and Diane Jasmine passed away hours apart from each other on Good Friday.

While Edward was the friend and the confidant, Diane was the giver.

Extroverted and compassionate, she was known to invite people to church while striking up conversations in line at Walmart or Smoothie King. She encouraged Bishop Jasmine down a spiritual path by sending him to Reserve Christian School. It was a decision he didn’t appreciate at the time, but looking back, he realizes the experience shaped his future.

“She really had a heart for the community and prayed for people anywhere. She was a giver to those she felt needed it,” Bishop Jasmine said. “My parents were different, but they balanced each other out.”

His vulnerable, human side is grief-stricken, and it will take time to adjust to a new life without his parents physically in it. The Choice International congregation has given him space to mourn, and he’s not yet had to face the pulpit without his parents supporting him from the front row.

On his “scripture side,” he is strong. He can’t hear or see his parents, but he can feel their spirit, and he knows they are urging to him to keep moving.

“All is well. I have accepted what God has allowed, and I have a commitment to continue the assignment and mandate I have for the parish,” Bishop Jasmine said.

He appreciates the community support, and his prayers go out to others who have suffered loss since the outbreak of the coronavirus.