By Del Starr, a pseudonym, all rights reserved. Posted by Debbonnaire Kovacs, Nov. 18, 2015. This is the long-awaited final chapter of the factual memoir written by the woman who chose to be known as Del Starr for this writing. However, it is not the final chapter of her life. I have left the last part in present tense as Del wrote it. If anyone would like to add more details about when and where she died, I would be happy to publish them here. DLK
Walking With Jesus
Once again Dianne was on the road to recovery. She couldn’t accomplish anything. She wasn’t even allowed to help at the motel. She spent her days sitting and this was not something that she enjoyed. The only distraction was her internet family on the Seventh-day Adventist forums. The original forum had now disbanded and several “baby forums” had sprung up in its place. Dianne enjoyed this because it gave her more than one place to visit. Often she could not sleep at night and would sit in front of the computer just hoping that someone would post a message. She got to the point that she knew when each poster regularly turned on their computer and logged onto the forum.
Her walk with Jesus also continued to grow. She studied in the Bible; her Ellen G. White books now sat on the shelf for the most part. More and more she understood that the only thing she was able to accomplish for her salvation was to trust in Jesus. Many examples were brought to her by the Lord.
Reading in the book of Galatians she found the following: “O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are ye so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?” Galatians 3:1-3
Dianne had several different translations and paraphrases of the Bible. Turning now from her beloved King James Version, she read in a Phillips translation, comparing. Here it read: “Are you so stupid?”
Dianne contemplated these verses. She recognized, as the apostle Paul had reminded the Galatians, that her walk with Jesus had begun by His giving her His Holy Spirit and that it would continue in the same manner. He was the author and the finisher of her faith. The battle belongs to the Lord and He has already won it.
She thought back over her life. Yes, she had been trying to perfect herself by the flesh. She had followed the rules; she did not wear makeup, she wore her dresses to below the knee, she wore no jewelry, she ate properly and avoided unhealthy things. Now she realized that it had all been vanity; only things that she had done to make the outside look good. She realized too, that God was not able to take control of her life as long as she was intent on having control for herself.
“Heavenly Father, I’m so sorry,” she prayed, “I recommit my life to you. I have not always given you my complete trust. I have, like Cain did oh, so long ago, tried to offer you my own works. I repent of that, Jesus. From this moment on I am going to totally depend on you and I ask your grace to be able to do that.”
As the Lord worked with Dianne’s heart and she grasped more and more the concept of simple belief and trust, she shared with her internet forum family. Most of them did not take well to her postings, however.
“Cheap grace,” they shot back at her.
“Do you really believe that you can do anything you want?”
“You’ll find out!”
“I’ll wave to you from the walls of the New Jerusalem”
Dianne’s heart longed for her family’s eyes to be opened but she also knew that only the Holy Spirit could accomplish this and they must be willing to let the Holy Spirit direct their lives.
She gained in strength and was finally able to do menial tasks once more. She could cook a meal for Peter. Just the simple things gave her encouragement.
The month of June passed uneventfully. Both Peter and Dianne had been a little on edge for it was in June of each of the past two years that Dianne had suffered medical traumas. Because her health had improved, she was able to plant a few plants at the motel and in her flower bed at home. She loved working with the soil and feeling the warmth of the sun on her back.
It was August when she received a call from Tina.
“Mom, Dad has cancer and isn’t expected to live much longer. He’s in Florida and Janelle, Kira, and I are going to fly down and visit with him.”
Dad? That was Gary! It had been important to her that the children know their father. “How did you find him, honey?” she asked Tina.
“He called us.”
Dianne had mixed emotions for the children. They had longed to know their father and now he had reentered their lives but they were going to lose him again.
Janelle, Tina and Kira arrived in Florida to face news cameras and reporters. Over 20 years had gone by and their first meeting was going to be recorded on film and presented on the evening news on television.
Gary, not knowing what the girls looked like, had seen a car carrying three women drive up. With arms extended and cameras rolling, he ran to the car…only to learn that the three women were friends of the neighbor.
Finally however, the moment arrived. His daughters were in his arms. Though he had to spend occasional time in the cancer treatment center, the next two weeks were happy times for both him and the girls.
Don, the gentleman who had begun cancer treatments with Dianne, died in September. This struck deeply at Dianne’s heart. She recognized that she, as well, could be dead at this moment but for the preservation of the Lord.
Winters in Montana are cold and the winter of the year 2000-2001 would be no exception. The cold bothered Dianne intensely now and she was thankful that she didn’t have to go to the motel as often. Peter was always at her side if she left the house, to make certain that she did not fall on the snow-packed ground.
February arrived. This was when Dianne missed Oregon the most. The crocus would be up and ready to bloom. In Montana it would still be another 3 months before their tiny blossoms would open.
By the middle of March the snow was finally melting away. Soon spring would be in the air.
Dianne awakened early one morning. She must have eaten something bad. Her stomach hurt and she was nauseated. She spent some time just being sick and went back to bed, hoping that she would feel better but it got worse instead. Again she suffered nausea and became sick and she realized that she had lost so much fluid that she must get something to replace it. There was an unopened can of grape soda and she took that with her into the bedroom where she was able to drink about a quarter of a cup of it. She lay back down, hoping once more to sleep it off.
Oh, she was so sick! Peter was on a job. Should she call him on his cell phone? No, she didn’t want to bother him and she knew it was just a case of something she ate, which had disagreed with her. It would take a bit of time to pass through her system.
She was finally able to drop off to sleep.
It was Peter shouting at her. “Dianne, get up! We need to get to the hospital!”
“I’m too sick,” she whispered.
“Dianne, get up NOW! You can’t just lie there in that bed. You either get up or I’m going to call the ambulance.”
“No Peter,” Dianne murmured, “please don’t do that.”
“Then get out of that bed!” Peter insisted.
As Dianne recounts this story she laughs as she says, “Peter started blaming me for everything that had ever gone wrong with the world. He made me so mad that I decided that I wasn’t going to die in the same room with him.”
Dianne struggled from the bed. Peter grabbed her coat and threw it over her shoulders. “I’ll be right back,” he told her, “Just keep coming toward the door.”
Hanging onto the furniture, Dianne inched her way across the floor. Oh, her stomach hurt so badly. Peter reappeared, carrying two ski poles and though there was no snow on the ground, he placed one in each of Dianne’s hands, then, supporting her with his arm, he guided her to the car. The ski poles helped to stabilize her.
At the hospital Peter rolled a wheelchair out to the car. Inching again, Dianne struggled from the car and was able to sit in the wheelchair but oh, it hurt so badly.
The young man in the emergency room spoke to Peter, “I think she has pancreatitis,” he said, “we can’t treat her here. We’ll have to call for the helicopter from Missoula.”
Peter had never heard of pancreatitis, but whatever it was, Dianne was hurting. She was doubled up on the hospital bed.
“Dianne,” the young man said, “we’re going to take some X-rays. I’m going to need you to lie on your back so we can get some good pictures.”
Dianne was hurting so badly that she could not straighten out. It took the young man and two nurses to help her get on her back and she cried from the pain.
The X-rays were finished now and Dianne could curl up in the fetal position that afforded her some relief, but she hurt so badly.
“Is there anything she can get for pain?” Peter asked the young man anxiously.
“Not at this moment,” the young man replied.
“When the doctor gets here, will he be able to prescribe something for her pain?” Peter could not stand to see Dianne hurting so badly.
The young man turned slowly around to face Peter. “I am the doctor,” he said.
As Peter shares this part of the story he grins as he says, “I didn’t think he was the doctor; he was way too young.”
The helicopter was down. Instead, the Missoula hospital sent the mobile ICU unit to the small town where Dianne lived.
Dianne was awake intermittently. She recalls the attendants telling her where they were and how long it would take to get to Missoula. She recalls one of them taking her arm and looking at the medical ID bracelet she now wore, and she recalls that when they arrived in Missoula the unit drove into the building, which Dianne thought was very nice as it was still cold outside. For most of the trip though, she was asleep.
Drifting into awareness once more, Dianne heard the doctor say, “Someone needs to call this lady’s family.”
Dianne didn’t want them to bother her family again. It had been so hard on them the first time. “No!” she said.
The doctor turned to her, “What was that?” “No!” she repeated, “don’t call my family.” The doctor honored her wishes.
The only treatment for pancreatitis is to administer fluids and wait. Once again Dianne’s life hung in the balance. It would be four days before she was sufficiently recovered to be able to undergo gallbladder surgery, which would eliminate the problem once and for all.
At her check-up visit with the doctor, she was told, “I’ve had many patients die from pancreatitis. One lady was in the hospital for an entire year and in rehabilitation for another year…And then there are people like you.”
Peter did some research and discovered that pancreatitis is fatal if not diagnosed within the first few hours. Even with treatment, which only consists of bed rest and abstinence from all foods and liquids, with replacement through intravenous feedings, it is often fatal.
Dianne knew that it was God Who had spared her life once more. She wondered why He took special interest in her and longed that He would direct her to accomplish whatever it was that He wanted her to do.
Yet again she was on the road to recovery, weak but eager to do God’s will. She shares with anyone who will listen, how God has preserved her life.
She doesn’t share often the events in her life that have brought her to this point and only shares them with you now because a dear friend continued insisting, telling her that someone might gain a spiritual blessing from knowing the long road she has traveled.
She has been encouraged in her walk with Jesus by Christian friends and family and especially one minister of the Seventh-day Adventist church with whom she corresponds by email.
Because Dianne considers the Bible the ONLY authority for her Christian walk, and her health now keeps her mostly homebound, she will probably never again enter a Seventh-day Adventist church. She considers all Adventists to be her family, for that faith tradition was a part of her life for so long. She longs for the veil to be taken from their eyes so that they may see Jesus in all His beauty. She acknowledges that there are some within the church who have seen and understood the Gospel message but fears, with Ellen G. White who wrote so long ago, that only 1 in 20 will understand and accept the free gift of salvation in Christ Jesus.
Gary died in June of the year 2001. Tina went to Florida once more, to hold his hand in his final hours. He was buried in Florida National Cemetery with full military honors.
Grace has entered an assisted living center and has begun to accept the message that she must place her entire dependence upon Jesus. Her guilt has made her mind unstable.
Brian has entered his second marriage, his first collapsing after the birth of two daughters. He chose to not marry within the Seventh-day Adventist church this time. His second marriage took place high atop a hill in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. On the reader board of the church were verses from Psalm 121:1, 2: “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.” These are the verses that sustained his mother many times in her life. He and his wife are expecting their son at any moment.
Janetta, Brad, Janelle, Kira and Cynthia remain on the West Coast with their families.
Chad and Randy live near Dianne, as does Tina, whose oldest son lives with her.
Tina asks Dianne, “Why is it that God allows some people to suffer so much, Mom?”
Dianne answers, “So we will be able to understand others when they go through the same trials and, Tina, so they will learn that they can only put their trust in God.”
Illana continues to live in the mobile home at the back of Peter and Dianne’s property. She loves the Lord and Dianne is thankful that they were able to study together so that Dianne would come to the point of acknowledging that she did not know Jesus and needed Him to come into her heart.
Dianne continues on the Seventh-day Adventist forums, hopeful that someone reading will accept Jesus Christ as their personal Savior and put their total trust and dependence upon Him. She steps in wherever she perceives that something is being brought to focus other than Jesus. She continues to be told that she is lost. .
Pete,r though retired, continues to work. He is that strong man Dianne always hoped for and he loves the Lord. He sustains Dianne not only physically but also spiritually as they walk together in Christ.
Dianne recognizes that God has spoken to her in Hebrews 13:5 “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”
In her heart she knows that Jesus IS Enough.