Debbie Stark’s faith was the bedrock of her life. It was the foundation of her marriage to her husband, Buck. It was the catalyst for a deep relationship with dear friends. It was the source of kindness she shared with others.
Her faith fed a strength that saw her through diagnosis and treatment of an aggressive form of multiple myeloma. She relied on it through chemotherapy, a stem cell transplant and immunotherapy.
Debbie’s family and friends shared that she wanted God to come first, that she wanted God to be revealed and revered through all her trials. The spiritual component of our care was important to her, and she had meaningful talks with Dr. Ghosh about her faith. When the cancer metastasized and she decided against further treatment, she affirmed that her future was in God’s hands. Debbie planned her own funeral and spent time with close family and friends. She died following Easter Sunday this year, a fitting date that meant so much to the people who loved her.
Debbie’s husband, Buck, has a unique perspective on her experience with The Ghosh Center. He works in healthcare and has a number of friends and family members who practiced medicine. In Buck’s words, he “doesn’t know of any doctors like Dr. Ghosh.” Their first visit lasted an hour and a half, and they never felt rushed during any of their appointments.
Buck was especially impressed that Dr. Ghosh invests time in making sure patients understand their options and are comfortable with the treatment they choose. This investment of time goes beyond the patient. When Buck stopped by the office after Debbie died, Dr. Ghosh invited him in to talk about how he was doing, listen to his pain and give gentle advice about the grieving process. According to Buck, Dr. Ghosh is one of a kind.
Debbie gave a lot to others, in life and beyond. Instead of flowers, Debbie asked that memorials go to the Anna Purna Ghosh Foundation, and people responded generously. People gave back in other ways, too.
Debbie was a master gardener, who spent hours planting and tending her flowers. Her gardens included many varieties of rosebushes and lilies, and her flower pots were full of beautiful blooms. Over the past two years, it had been increasingly hard to keep up maintenance, and the deer were feasting on the flowers.
Shortly after Debbie died, Buck’s brothers surprised him by putting up a fence around her gardens. Buck recreated the flower pots on the porch from pictures from previous years. Everything is thriving this year, and Buck knows Debbie is enjoying the view from heaven. Her spirit lives faithfully on in these gardens and in the lives she touched, including ours.