In her new book, One Heart at a Time, the ra­dio host shares how her faith got her through a fam­ily tragedy.


Closer Weekly - - Contents - ” — Lisa Cham­bers

My world shat­tered a year ago on Oct. 2, 2017,” Delilah Rene says of the day her 18-year-old son, Zack, took his own life. From that point on the woman who’s fa­mous for com­fort­ing those who call in to her ra­dio shows re­quest­ing love songs and a shoul­der to cry on found that she was now the per­son fac­ing heartbreak. “Th­ese have been the hard­est months of my life, and that of my fam­ily,” she says. “I miss him ev­ery minute and hour of ev­ery day.”

Delilah, 58, is now shar­ing her grief and her jour­ney to find heal­ing in her new book, One Heart at a Time, in which she grap­ples with the loss and looks back on her life. Zack was one of her three bi­o­log­i­cal kids; she also has adopted 10 oth­ers. “I be­lieve with my whole heart ev­ery­one can help a child in need,” she says.


Sadly, she wasn’t able to help Zack, whom she calls “a live wire from day one.” By the time he was 2, Zack had been di­ag­nosed as be­ing on the autism spec­trum. She and Zack’s fa­ther, her third hus­band, Dou­glas Ortega, got him oc­cu­pa­tional and phys­i­cal ther­apy, but Zack strug­gled with de­pres­sion.

Af­ter his sui­cide, Delilah says, “I couldn’t write, I couldn’t talk about it.” But she drew strength from her faith: “Prayer el­e­vates me from bouts of de­pres­sion, grounds me dur­ing bouts of hys­te­ria,” she says.

In the book she re­veals how much she’s over­come, from her con­trol­ling fa­ther to di­vorces and the death of an adopted son from sickle cell ane­mia. Through it all, she never lost hope. “So many lis­ten­ers sent the most beau­ti­ful thoughts and prayers,” she says.

And while she’s lost a lot in her life, Delilah ap­pre­ci­ates all she still has, in­clud­ing her hus­band of six years, Paul Warner, her chil­dren and all of her lis­ten­ers. Says Delilah: “I can still say, ‘I’m the most blessed woman I know.’

Delilah called life with Zack “a mag­i­cal mys­tery tour.”

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