I found out late Friday night that Uncle Harless met Jesus.
While I know most people call them James and Dorothy, I’m sorry but that just doesn’t work for me.
My sweet cousin made a call to tell me the news. While I know Uncle Har had been suffering with poor health for a while now, when you hear the news, it’s still a shock. I immediately went to Moms house, which is down the hall and through a door, to share with her the news. She actually grabbed her chest. Uncle Har is her brother in law and I’ve always felt that Aunt Toots and Har were second parents.
My immediate thought was that my Dad met Uncle Harless at heavens gates and welcomed him with a giant bear hug and a “welcome home” brother. Tears of joy filled my eyes while tears of sadness filled my heart thinking of my sweet aunt bearing the sorrow of losing her husband of 73 years. So much of their lives spent together, raising a family and enjoying retirement.
While I spoke with Joy and Toots on Saturday morning we spoke of all the things needed to be done on the first day of her new normal. It will not feel like normal today or for weeks and months to come, maybe never. I shared that I wished I could be there but she was in good hands with Joy because the girl can boss around the best of them.
Aunt T spoke of how the old had to learn how to live a new way.
Joy and I spoke of being of “Medium” age and she mentioned how she and her co-workers call it “living in the crack.”
Huh? What exactly is living in the crack?
She said that it could go either way. You can be living in the crack of fine china or you can be living in the crack of a nasty crack that everyone knows what I’m referring to and doesn’t want to talk about. Somethings you have the ability to choose and sometimes you are dealt what you get.
I’ve always referred to it as living in the dash. The dash between your birthdate and your death date.
Uncle lived his dash to the fullest.
He always loved me. He always made me feel like I was the most important person in the room. I remember his love of electronics. He played a mean game of volleyball and he and dad were very competitive at horseshoes and don’t even get me started on his harmonica. I believe that his playing brought such joy to others but it also gave him great happiness. Harless played for people but he really played for Jesus. He would sit on the platform at church and I would watch him ooze with happiness. Jesus gives us our gifts and talents and Harless used his for good.
Uncle Har always was so anxious to show me his new invention or creation.
The last time we were at their house we rode around in his new golf cart and he was like a little kid showing me all its bells and whistles.
I am so guilty of wanting the next best thing to come instead of relishing in the present. Every time someone leaves us, I want to be better about telling those around me how important they are to me.
How my life is better with them in it.
Not waste a minute on unimportant things and fill my life full of joy and abundance. Not abundance of things but abundance of fun, joy, hard work doing the things I love, visiting places near and far, sitting on the floor and talking to my grand boys and letting them know how much I dearly love them. Sharing with my children the joy they have brought to my life. Listening to my Mom as she relishes in her golden years. Spending time with my guy.
I fail every day but today I think back on how much Uncle James “Harless “ Ratliff meant to me, I’m mad at myself for not telling him more often.
But then I smile because I think he knew.
Heaven is a brighter place today , if that’s possible, with Uncle Harless there.
Give dad a hug from me. Give love to Mammaw and Pappaw and all the aunt uncles and cousins.
Heavens promises are real and one day all the loved ones that I miss today will meet me at the gate.
I’ll be the one with the big smile.