Radio personality Delilah Rene is the queen of sappy love songs and dedications.
When my kids were younger and still rode in the same vehicle as me, we’d always listen to the “Delilah” show. Alternately, we’d be touched by her heartwarming stories and chuckle at her willingness to dole out relationship advice after multiple failed marriages.
Last year, I pitched the idea of an interview about her faith — something that was evident on the show but about which I’d never heard much — to a national editor I know. But I got no bite.
So I was pleased this week to see an in-depth profile of Rene in the Seattle Times — and one that delves nicely into the radio host’s faith.
Grab a tissue before diving in:
IT HAS BEEN more than a year since he left her: the carefree 18-year-old son with the tousled hair and crooked grin.
Zachariah Miguel Rene-Ortega’s ashes are buried under an apple tree in a planting bed shaped like a tear. “Zack’s Grove” also includes Greensleeves dogwoods, two fig trees and a wooden bus shelter with a sign stenciled in white: “Every hour I need Thee.” Scattered about the grove are little talismans left by his friends.
Zack’s mother is Delilah Rene, the most-listened-to woman in American radio. She lives with her large family on a 55-acre Port Orchard farm, along with one zebra, three emus, three dogs, four pigs, five sheep, six cats, 30 goats and dozens of chickens. A remodeled 1907 farmhouse on the property serves as her six-bedroom, 2,500-square-foot home. A multiwindowed turret on the second floor is set aside for prayer. This farm is where Zack grew up and made friends with local kids who still come over.
“Stuff just shows up,” Delilah says, standing in the rain at the grove. “I come out here and find little tokens, mementos, stakes and flags.”
She still dreams of Zack: happy, beautiful, ageless.
When asked how she gets through each day’s mix of regret and sadness, she mentions God. “I know he’s with Him,” she says. “And when my time comes, I’ll be with him.”
No, this writer isn’t afraid of faith — even complicated faith — which will become more clear if you read the whole piece in the Times’ Pacific NW Magazine.