Two years ago, he wrote a song for his granddaughter -- "She's With Me." "I wrote that song on an airplane while she was alive, about a year before she passed away, as a tribute to her, just trying to describe the overwhelming joy-slash-sorrow that comes with having a child like that that you love so much that you cannot do anything for," said Raye. "It was a celebration of her life."
The song describes bringing Haley to the mall and to a restaurant -- in her wheelchair.
"I tried to keep her with me all that I could," he said. "If we went into a restaurant, you'd wheel in with a chair. Invariably people would turn around and they'd look, and sometimes they'd smile and lot of times they'd just look down, because they're thinking 'Bless their heart, doesn't that just -- I'm glad that's not me.'"
"The whole time my chest is just beating with pride," said Raye. "I'm so proud of that kid."
In the last verse of "She's With Me," Raye imagines himself standing before God waiting to be judged.
"I am a flawed human being, I have a lot to answer for in my life," said Raye. "And I had the thought occur to me, what if I had her standing there with me and she said: 'Don't worry. Let him come in, because he's with me.'"
Haley Bell died last year. "I knew we had a saint living with us," said Raye. "She's a perfect human being. She has no ability to sin. She never knew what sin was, and couldn't have sinned if she'd wanted to."
Raye recently became a national spokesman for the Terri Schiavo Life and Hope Network. The network, founded by the family of the late Terri Schiavo, a neurologically disabled woman who was starved to death on the order of a judge, assists families who have a loved one threatened by euthanasia.
"No one has the right to take someone's life from them. Period," said Raye.
A portion of the proceeds from his newly released album -- "Through It All, His Love Remains" -- will go to the Life and Hope Network. The album is a powerfully inspirational collection of religious songs and hymns -- including "Ave Maria."
"It's a record that I've been wanting to make for 20 years," said Raye.
Terence P. Jeffrey is the editor in chief of CNSnews.com. To find out more about him, visit the Creators Syndicate web page at www.creators.com.
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