Wendy found this picture from mid April, 1996.

Jenny, Chelsey’s cousin, said she remembers this day, that she might be the one who took the picture.

Chelsey had become Zoë’s mom two weeks earlier, a midwife assisted delivery in her house.

We were sitting in her living room.

My parents are sitting to Chelsey ‘s right.

This was their first time to see their first great granddaughter.

They had driven the two hours from Garland in Dad’s ‘91 Ford pickup.

He gave it to me a couple of years later.

Wendy’s parents sit to Chelsey’s left. They had walked over, since they lived on the same 40 acres.

Jenny (behind the camera) lived right across the creek with her parents, her sister and brother in a house we had built in the early 80’s.

Wendy and I are sitting behind the couch. We had had a financial crisis a few years earlier, probably, partly because of the huge interest rates of that time, and had to leave the house that we had built.

Craig and Belinda had bought it back from the bank to keep it from being sold to strangers.

They are still there.

We still get together for holidays, usually at the house that Wendy and I built.

The family has grown.

But three in the picture have learned first hand about the life that follows,

A life with the Lord whom all three had come to love.

Absent from the body, present with the Lord.

The birth seemed to be proceeding well on March 29, 1996. But, in the early evening, the midwife , after listening through her stethoscope, told us the baby was in distress.

Wendy and I left the room …to pray…hard.

Into God’s hands, under His care, we placed our coming granddaughter.

Her name was already chosen.


Everlasting life.

We were in the room when the birth took place.

Zoë entered the light, turned her head to take in the room, uttered a brief ”Meh”, and refused to cry.

All fingers, all toes, breath; a 10 on the scale. Everything was fine.

Except, this little baby girl, who took charge of the room when she entered, had this little nick in her left ear, not bleeding, not open, just a unique little mark of distinction.

Later, we told Zoë that the devil and the angels fought at her birth, and that was the mark of the battle.

She was always a little bit proud of her “battle scar”.

You know how memories are…brief snapshots where you have to fill in the details. I can’t remember a lot about that day, but I do remember that over the next six and a half years, we were daily involved in some way with Chelsey and Zoë, and their lives.

Zoë would stay with us while Chelsey worked, Chelsey and Zoë would spend the day with Wendy in Tyler or Longview, sometimes they would sleep over with us at our house at Lake Hawkins.

We were close…really close.

On January 11, 2001, my mom’s 72nd birthday, my mom went to heaven to celebrate.

On October 8, 2002, on our way to the State Fair of Texas with Chelsey and Zoë, we were hit by a flatbed truck, and Chelsey left this temporal world for her eternal home.

Zoë became our daughter/granddaughter.

On March 1 of 2011, my dad stepped out of his memory erased human body, stepped through the curtain to rejoin his wife and his first grandchild.

Looking at a picture, you can glance and smile, or you can remember, reflect, maybe shed a brief tear, but rejoice in all the other moments and memories that you haven’t thought of in a long, long time.

God is love.

God is good.

It is He that has made us, and we are His.


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