It was three years ago today, Tuesday, August 30, 2011 at 6:20 AM that I got a phone call from Jimmy Harper. I was on the air at The JOY FM in Atlanta (though in those days we were still calling ourselves J93.3). His message was somber and brief, “She’s gone.”
The “she” he was talking about was his wife, Sheila Richards. She was also my on-air morning show partner. This was the third tour Sheila and I had served together as on-air co-hosts.
The “gone” he was talking about was dead. Sheila had finally lost her battle with ovarian cancer, but was now enjoying that final and ultimate victory in full view of the Savior.
Three years. So much has happened in that time. And yet, some days it seems like it was only yesterday that Sheila was closing another show by saying, “Let your light shine.”
People still ask me about her, tell me how much she meant to them. Many of them never met her, but if you listened to her on the air for more than a day or two you felt like you knew her. And during those final months, as she was slowly, painfully losing the physical battle, people were drawn even closer to her. She was pretty transparent, even on the air, and listeners appreciated that.
Three years. It’s still bittersweet to think about Sheila. But the more time passes the more sweet and less bitter there is in those memories. Life goes on. What choice does it have?