AUGUST 22, 2020: “We WILL Remember Him” …

One of our favorite traditions was the once-a-year pilgrimage to the harbor at Lake Ray Hubbard in Rockwall to take “The Picture”. It started by happen chance several years ago when Gia was around age seven. We’d stopped into The Bass Pro Shop that abuts the harbor to simply visit the aquariums we’d heard about, at which point we’d decided to take a walk to the end of the pier. As was par for the course, although our little ball of energy and sunshine was always bouncing at least ten steps ahead of us wherever we went, she was never out of his sight. On that day, however, he was going to make damn good and sure she didn’t get too far ahead and fall into the water, so he grabbed her sticky little hand and walked her down. Thus … “The Picture” was born. The plan had long been that we would take the same picture year after year to memorialize the progression of her growth, then eventually end with “the final picture” of the two of them in her gown on her wedding day, at which point her husband could take it from there.

Unfortunately, as I have said before, it wasn’t too far into 2019 that Zack’s descent began to avail itself. Sure, we’d had our good days – and plenty of them. But with everything that was going on, somehow the trek down to the pier never happened. So, on this day, the two of us made a poignant decision together: “Let’s go to Red Robin (one of his favorite places to eat) then down to the pier to take the picture in his honor, then keep taking it year after year.”

So, WE DID IT! There she stood, alone and overcome with emotion, and we did it! Only, then there was a twist. A very talented friend of mine took the original picture of them on the pier and spliced him into the picture of her standing alone. Not only was it probably one of the best ideas I’ve ever had, but I’ve also now decided to keep doing the same thing, year after year, until, you guessed it – HER WEDDING DAY!

It’s been a long and sobering year for us my friends. Am I strong? Of course I am! I was forged under pressure and fire! What you see with me is as real as it gets. Am I absolutely refusing to let him down by seeing us fall apart? YUP! That has never been an option, nor will it ever … because … despite the unspeakable realities at the end that are now mine and my daughter’s, that king loved us with everything he had before he got sick, and believe or not, even in his sickness. So, with that, we are both choosing to only hold on to the good stuff and just leave out all the rest. THIS is how we will “remember him” always.


When all our tears have reached the sea. Part of you will live in me way down deep inside my heart. The days keep coming without fail. A new wind is gonna find your sail. That’s where your journey starts. You’ll find better love, strong as it ever was, deep as the river runs, warm as the morning Sun. Please remember me. Just like the waves down by the shore, we’re gonna keep on coming back for more, ’cause we don’t ever wanna stop. Out in this brave new world you seek … o’er the valleys and the peaks … and I can see you on the top. Remember me when you’re out walkin’. When snow falls high outside your door. Late at night when you’re not sleepin’ and moonlight falls across your floor, when I can’t hurt you anymore. {Tim McGraw}