Issues and Answers

Surviving Loss: Death And Divorce

Three Angels Broadcasting Network

Program transcript

Participants: Shelley Quinn (Host), Derry James


Series Code: IAA

Program Code: IAA000240

00:30 Hello, I'm Shelley Quinn, and welcome again to
00:32 Issues and Answers.
00:34 Today our issue is going to be surviving loss; going through
00:38 death or divorce.
00:40 This is going to be kind of a nuts and bolts type program.
00:44 It's going to be talking about some very practical things that
00:47 you might need to do to go through this process.
00:50 And it's going to be a program that brings a lot of hope.
00:53 Let me share a scripture with you.
00:55 It comes from Psalms 147:3 and it says, He heals the
01:02 broken hearted and binds up their wounds.
01:06 If you're going through any kind of grieving process today
01:10 you will find hope in the Lord, and hope in this program.
01:14 Help me welcome back Derry James.
01:17 She's a chaplain, a board certified chaplain and has a
01:20 doctorate of ministry.
01:21 She's here from Grass Valley, California.
01:23 Thank you, Derry, for joining us again.
01:27 Shelley, it's always a pleasure to come back and visit
01:29 with you here.
01:30 Well, we love you here at 3ABN.
01:32 You're a great friend to this ministry.
01:34 We appreciate the expertise that bring, and the gentle spirit
01:40 of humility, and also being a spirit filled person.
01:44 Let's talk about what the grieving process is as you're
01:50 going through death or divorce.
01:51 Let's just get right into this.
01:53 You said it's going to be nuts and bolts.
01:54 Let's get started.
01:56 What do we have to do when we're looking at death?
02:01 What are some of the steps we need to be taking?
02:03 Well, are you talking about going through
02:05 the actual grieving; the steps that we would go through
02:08 in grieving?
02:09 Because we'll just hit that very quickly and then move on to the
02:13 things that we need to take care of as we go through that whole
02:16 process of adjusting to life without the person we love.
02:19 Okay.
02:20 The grieving process itself generally starts with a
02:22 time of shock.
02:24 Then we move into the denial, or bargaining, or anger stage.
02:33 Then we go to the last stage which is that of resignation,
02:36 and reconciling with what is, and moving on from there.
02:41 That's really the area that we're going to start with today.
02:45 That's the area we're going to work with is how to move forward
02:49 through this process, and talking about nuts and bolts
02:53 and how to work with it.
02:54 If we're dealing with grief regarding death, attending to
03:01 the details there are somewhat more itemized.
03:05 I'd like to just go through a few.
03:07 It's kind of a check list, Shelley.
03:08 I have a list here.
03:09 When you're going through death you have arrange for the
03:13 funeral service of some type.
03:15 So you're going to decide which mortuary, then what kind of a
03:19 service you're gong to have.
03:21 You need to contact whoever it is you want to lead in the
03:23 services; the minister, or chaplain, or person
03:26 giving the eulogy.
03:27 Then whatever musicians you want, or whatever music you want
03:30 to have at the service.
03:31 Selecting and notifying pallbearers if you're having
03:35 a funeral and not a cremation.
03:38 Then you have to order the flowers, choose the clothes,
03:41 write the obituary, decide what memorial gifts might be
03:48 appropriate for your family, or whether you want them to go
03:51 somewhere else, order a death certificate, choose the plot or
03:57 site, arrange for family members that are coming.
04:01 We're really talking nuts and bolts here.
04:04 I said a little check list of things we need to go through
04:07 in order to arrange for the services and plan
04:12 for the actual program.
04:13 And, you know, usually, is it not true, that the funeral home
04:19 that you choose, they're going to help you through a lot
04:22 of these things?
04:23 I was just going to say that.
04:24 They will walk you through a lot of these things.
04:27 This is a quick, kind of like putting a little
04:32 seed down to let you know that there are decisions you're
04:35 going to have to make, to be aware of.
04:37 But the home, or the minister even leading the service,
04:42 is going to ask for some of these things and help lead you
04:44 through it as well.
04:45 You know, Derry, as you're saying all these things
04:47 it strikes me that my husband and I have not done any
04:52 pre-arrangement.
04:54 I can't imagine having to go through this when you are
04:59 grieving if you haven't pre-arranged some
05:01 of these things.
05:03 It must be very terrible to go through when you're grieving.
05:05 You know, one thing that may sound strange, but as I was
05:10 going through my chaplaincy training one of the assignments
05:13 we had was to look at our death and plan our
05:15 own memorial service.
05:17 I can't tell you how liberating that was, and how much peace
05:21 it brought into my life.
05:22 It gave me an opportunity to write letters to my family.
05:25 It gave me an opportunity to say this is what I would like at my
05:28 memorial service.
05:29 It gave me an opportunity to write a letter to my community
05:31 to be read there.
05:33 When I faced a death situation just about a year and a half
05:38 later, where my car almost went over the cliff, and then rolled
05:41 over, and I was still alive and unhurt, and realized that
05:45 God wasn't finished with me yet.
05:46 I had total peace through that process because everything was
05:51 right between God and me, and my fellow man and me,
05:55 to the best that I could make it.
05:57 I was prepared.
05:58 I had everything prepared.
06:00 So there really is some merit in what you're saying in making
06:04 your own arrangements; making them with your family
06:07 and having those things laid out.
06:09 It gives you a certain release and peace in your own life.
06:12 But now in sharp contrast to the nuts and bolts processes
06:17 of what you have to deal with in a death, and the fact that
06:21 there is someone there, typically professionals, who are
06:24 going to help you through that.
06:25 What about divorce?
06:28 I mean there's a lot that has to be gone through,
06:31 but you don't have someone, a divorce consultant,
06:34 that you can turn to necessarily help you
06:37 through those things.
06:38 No, and attorneys don't always know you well enough,
06:44 or know your heart's dreams, goals, and desires to even know
06:49 the right questions to ask you to give you the guidance that
06:52 you might need that they could give.
06:54 So the things that you're dealing with in divorce are to
06:58 find that attorney that suddenly is going to represent you,
07:02 and are they going to do the job, and can they be trusted?
07:06 And then it's the decision of dividing the goods that you've
07:12 gathered together, you know, and making some of those hard
07:16 decisions, and come to agreements, whether it has to do
07:20 with visitation of the children, or who's going to keep what.
07:24 I know that when I was going through my divorce
07:29 it was painfully difficult.
07:30 My prayer was, Lord help me not to keep anything
07:34 that I should let go of or let go of anything
07:36 You want me to keep.
07:37 And I hope that I heard God, but there's times that you are
07:44 so emotionally distraught, and grieving, that you wonder
07:48 if you got the signal right, you know.
07:50 You want to do right.
07:52 You want to kind of fight for what you think you're supposed
07:56 to do, or have, but you don't want to make an issue of those
07:59 things that you shouldn't.
08:00 It's such an emotionally volatile time, and your feelings
08:05 are bouncing back between love and hate, that I can't always
08:11 say that I heard God accurately.
08:13 All I can say is I tried.
08:15 You know, something, to go back to the death; something that one
08:20 of my little mother-in-law's friends told her;
08:22 a precious little lady, she was eighty years old.
08:24 Her husband died and someone told her, You don't want to live
08:29 in this home because he died in the home, so sell the home.
08:33 And within four months she put her home up for sale,
08:35 sold her home, and six months later regretted that.
08:40 And so what I tell people now when I'm counseling,
08:44 in a death situation, is don't make any major decisions
08:49 in that first year.
08:50 Give yourself some time to go through the grieving process,
08:53 because she later found that she would have had more comfort
08:58 being in the home surrounded by the memories,
09:00 where their children had grown up, and so she regretted it.
09:04 I can imagine that there's many things, many decisions that you
09:08 do make after death, or after divorce, that you may look back
09:13 on with some regret or questioning.
09:16 Oh sure, and it's the same thing about the home.
09:18 Do you want out of this house because there's so many
09:21 memories, both good and unhappy?
09:24 Or is this where my children grew up and they'll come back,
09:29 and want to come back to the home?
09:31 And sometimes that is the security the children have,
09:34 and they want to come back there, and other times
09:36 they don't want to have anything to do with coming back to that
09:38 house because of the memories.
09:40 If the children are young that's the consideration
09:43 that you have to weigh is if you can keep the home,
09:46 whether it would be better and more stable for the children.
09:49 So in this, I'm seeing that as we're discussing then,
09:52 would you recommend that someone who's going through a divorce,
09:57 particularly if they have young children, maybe see a counselor
10:00 that could lead them through that process to consider
10:03 the children's feelings as well as their own, and not to make
10:06 rash decisions?
10:08 Well, actually, the children probably would need an interview
10:11 with a counselor to find out where the children really are
10:14 as well, because there are multiple issues that come
10:17 up with that.
10:18 But the children certainly need support during a time like this.
10:21 There's a time of adjustment for the whole family
10:25 whether it's death or divorce.
10:28 Let's just call it loss, because both of them are loss,
10:32 and there is that adjustment time.
10:34 It's kind of taking a deep breath and regrouping,
10:37 and not making any major decisions during that period
10:40 at all because you're emotionally unstable,
10:43 no matter how strong you want to be, hope you would be,
10:47 or would like to be.
10:48 So it's just kind of taking a deep breath and adjusting
10:55 to these whole new circumstances.
10:57 It's a matter of being able to get to the point of purging;
11:03 purging those things that would cause you to hang onto what was,
11:09 instead of moving into what is and what will be.
11:13 From a state of loss to living in a healthy spot of living
11:20 in the memories of the good, and not hanging on
11:24 and trying to make something be that is not.
11:27 So in the purging, I'm thinking more for example, of it's time
11:34 now to clean out the closet.
11:35 With the loss of a husband, if they're not tools that I can
11:40 use, it's time now to let go now of those tools.
11:43 Give them to the children, or give them to the church,
11:46 or sell them, or whatever, but it's time now to purge out
11:51 those things that would become cumbersome in your life;
11:55 baggage, so to speak, that are causing you to stay in the past.
12:00 But what about if it's not lost through death, but perhaps
12:05 lost by divorce?
12:06 Sometimes people in their irrational moments following a
12:14 divorce will go through their albums and cut out
12:17 the spouses pictures, you know, cut every picture in half,
12:20 and destroy every remembrance of this.
12:23 I even had a friend who did this when her children
12:25 were very young, and then the ex-husband died a couple
12:30 of years later, and they had no pictures.
12:32 I mean, thankfully, they got a few pictures of when he was
12:35 younger from the grandmother, but really she robbed her
12:39 children of those pictures.
12:40 She said that's something she really regretted doing
12:43 because she got over the anger with her husband later,
12:47 and she regretted not saving those pictures.
12:49 And anger is a part of grieving.
12:51 That is a very normal part of grieving as well.
12:54 But not only is it a part of grieving, but it's a part of the
12:58 whole experience of everything you're going through,
13:03 and the interactions of making decisions.
13:05 I mean anger is so normal.
13:07 It's so normal because in divorce we become
13:13 self protective.
13:14 Women can become very insecure and frightened.
13:17 They're worried for their future, and so they want to
13:20 hang on and fight for everything, because they don't
13:23 know what the future holds.
13:24 So, you're right, and I'm glad you brought that up.
13:28 And the purging, particularly in divorce, because we're angry
13:31 or have negative emotions towards that spouse.
13:34 We certainly don't want to do destructive things that are
13:38 going to affect our family and children later.
13:40 So when you go through part of this adjusting process,
13:45 the purging really is a part of the adjusting process,
13:49 how do you transition?
13:50 Again I'm thinking of a friend who lost her husband to death.
13:56 And she said, I need to avoid grocery stores because,
14:00 she said, I go into the grocery store and I buy so much food,
14:03 and I come home and it wastes.
14:05 She's still buying for two, but she's lost her appetite
14:09 in the first place.
14:10 She buys all this food and brings it home,
14:13 and it doesn't get prepared.
14:15 There's all these transitions in learning how to,
14:19 for maybe a man who's getting a divorce, learning how to cook
14:21 for himself.
14:22 Can you address some of those issues?
14:24 Well, some of that I can, and I can do it relatively well,
14:28 Shelley, and some of it I can't, because I have to tell you,
14:31 as a mom, I used to make huge meals all the time.
14:35 You know, I had those seven boys that ate like two people apiece,
14:38 so I made humongous amounts of food, and then I entertained
14:42 a lot; still do entertain some.
14:45 But now I'm down to just cooking for me and it is so hard,
14:50 because I love to cook anyway.
14:52 It is so hard for me to cook for just one.
14:55 It's like I'm cooking and giving food away, or I cook it and I
14:58 freeze it, or I eat it for a week, you know.
15:01 So that is still... that's not a strong point for me to talk,
15:04 about, mainly because I love to cook, and because I end up with
15:07 so much myself.
15:08 But there are the people, for example, it could be a man
15:14 or a woman, that have never cooked.
15:17 Their spouse did all the cooking, and suddenly they
15:21 haven't a clue even how to make a sandwich.
15:23 And I'm serious about that.
15:25 It is some very heart rending cases that I go through with
15:31 some of our patients and their families where they have no clue
15:34 how to take care of themselves at all in the kitchen.
15:37 They don't know how to prepare anything.
15:39 Or you have one or other of the spouses that have never
15:43 paid the bills, and it could be either one.
15:45 And sometimes you'll find, particularly with women,
15:48 you'll find a woman who's never driven.
15:50 Her husband's always driven the car.
15:52 That's hard for me to imagine, in this day and age, and yet
15:55 I just ran into that case where a woman who was sixty-five
15:59 had never driven.
16:00 They lived in a small town with one car.
16:03 He had driven everywhere.
16:04 He was a pharmacist.
16:05 So she was very frightened to go get her drivers license.
16:09 Bless her heart!
16:10 When she did she found such liberty that now her kids say
16:13 that they can't keep up with her.
16:14 You have the same situation with people that have never gone
16:20 grocery shopping, for example, or never done any shopping.
16:23 I mean this becomes this transitional time,
16:27 becomes a time of new orientation,
16:31 a time of education, a time that's
16:34 extremely stressful.
16:36 Some people, some men, have no clue what to put together;
16:41 shirt and pants, and they've depended upon their
16:43 wife to help them get dressed.
16:45 I man we're talking nitty gritty, down to earth,
16:52 facts of life that people now are struggling with
16:56 as they have to not only go through this grief,
16:59 but transition to a whole new lifestyle for themselves.
17:02 It's kind of like bite the bullet.
17:06 Get someone that can educate you and help you.
17:10 Don't throw up your hands and give up, or jump in bed
17:13 and pull the covers over your head and hide.
17:15 The problem isn't going to go away.
17:17 So what would you say to children who have lost a parent
17:24 and they have a surviving parent who is needing this help?
17:28 It's a precarious position because you don't want to be
17:32 condescending to your parent.
17:34 But if you see your parent struggling, and they're not
17:36 reaching out, how would you counsel someone who might,
17:40 you know, a child who has a father that the mother's died
17:44 and now they see their father acting helpless.
17:46 How do you approach someone like this and just let them know,
17:49 I'm here if you need me?
17:50 Well, when you say child, I'm thinking of younger children.
17:55 and then I hear you also talking adult children.
17:59 So we're talking both, so let's look at children,
18:03 younger children first of all.
18:04 Let's say even children from seven to their teen years,
18:09 or early teens, and one parent has died,
18:12 and the other parent is not dealing with it well.
18:16 This is a very, very dangerous situation where if the mother
18:21 dies, for example, the young girl will try to step up
18:24 and take mom's place, and suddenly has to become the
18:28 little adult overnight; making all the meals,
18:31 cleaning the house, running the home.
18:33 Not that she shouldn't help participate in that,
18:36 but certainly not that the whole responsibility should be on her
18:39 shoulders; not that she should feel she has to assume Mommies
18:42 position, because we're robbed of our childhood enough,
18:47 you know, and to have to give it up any sooner than we need to
18:52 is not healthy.
18:54 It's not good.
18:55 So we have that prospect where we would hope that a loving
19:00 family member, another older sister to the husband,
19:06 sister-in-law, someone would come in and talk to the husband
19:08 and say, you know, we need to help you get with the program,
19:14 so to speak.
19:15 You know, then if we have, we're talking older children
19:18 that are seeing a parent in this position, those older children
19:21 might need to come alongside of mom and dad and say,
19:24 We know that, for example, dad always took care of this
19:29 for you, and we realize this is a situation that's going
19:33 to be very difficult.
19:34 Mom we want to stay for the next weekend, week, whatever,
19:38 and we want to help you learn now to do this so that you can
19:42 be more self sufficient.
19:45 We need to help a person have as much autonomy as possible
19:51 without walking in and taking the responsibility off
19:54 of their shoulders.
19:55 We need to help them develop the independence that gives a sense
19:59 of value and self-worth instead of helplessness
20:02 and hopelessness.
20:03 There's so many things to consider here, and it occurs to
20:09 me that the church needs to be a place where people can turn.
20:14 Often we are so... everybody's life these days, Derry,
20:21 as you well know, we're all screaming for more time.
20:25 I know my constant prayer is, Lord redeem my time,
20:28 because it seems like more and more is crowded into my
20:32 schedule on a daily basis, and I worry sometimes.
20:36 I travel a lot so I worry that I'm not as much help to my
20:40 church members as I could be.
20:42 But what could churches do to reach out and help; like with
20:47 committees, maybe forming a committee or having programs
20:51 where you teach how to budget, how to reconcile your checkbook.
20:55 I mean there needs to be something that churches,
20:58 some advice to our churches.
21:00 Well, you've just said some of it.
21:03 Although it would be probably a little difficult to say,
21:06 Well, we're having a class tonight on how to
21:08 balance your checkbook.
21:09 Although a lot of our younger generation have no clue how
21:12 to balance a checkbook either.
21:14 So many of the things we're talking about are just daily
21:18 living things that if we realize a particular need in our church,
21:21 whatever that need is, Shelley, then that's the type of a
21:26 program that we should put into effect.
21:29 I'm not just talking about this, but if we know the temperament
21:33 the personality, and the needs of our congregation,
21:36 then those are the things that we need to focus on
21:39 assisting people with.
21:40 If it's not that we have several that are interested,
21:43 then certainly we should do this on a one to one basis.
21:46 You know it's very scriptural that the older women come
21:50 alongside of the younger women and train them.
21:52 It doesn't matter how old you are, there's someone older
21:55 than you who can help you, that you can learn from,
21:58 that can be a role model to you.
21:59 And sometimes, you know, younger people may have to be a role
22:03 model to a widowed woman.
22:05 I mean they may have to get in and teach her how to use the
22:08 internet, for example, or do something like that.
22:11 Right, but be family, be family.
22:14 You know, we're back to that the problem with loneliness,
22:18 and aloneness, and the need for companionship, the need for
22:22 community, the need for being part of.
22:25 And so the people that are having the issues,
22:29 whether it's knowing how to cook, or whether it's knowing
22:33 how to balance a checkbook, they really need to have the
22:38 freedom, and not fear admitting I have a problem in this area,
22:43 and I need help.
22:44 As we are talking about surviving the loss of death
22:49 or divorce, it occurs to me Lamentations 3:22, 23 says that
22:56 God's mercies are new every morning.
22:59 Great is His faithfulness.
23:00 He is a God of new beginnings.
23:03 How can we give our audience, the people who are watching or
23:08 are listening to us right now, some hope that God is the
23:12 God of new beginnings?
23:13 Well, I was going to close with this scripture, Shelley,
23:16 but it seems like a good time to speak it forth right now.
23:19 I'd like to read Revelation 21 where it says, Now...
23:24 It's talking about the new heaven and earth coming down
23:27 again, and the New Jerusalem, and the Holy City and it says,
23:31 Now the dwelling of God is with men and he will live with them.
23:34 They will be his people and God himself will be with them,
23:37 and be their God.
23:38 The next verse says, He will wipe every tear from their eyes.
23:43 There will be no more death or mourning, or crying, or pain,
23:47 for the old order of things has passed away.
23:50 And then it says, He who is seated on the throne says,
23:52 I'm making everything new.
23:54 And then he said, write this down, for these words are
23:56 trustworthy and true.
23:58 No matter what we go through in life, no matter what tragedy,
24:04 or no matter what joy, for that matter, God loves to share it
24:09 with us, Shelley.
24:10 Amen.
24:11 He wants to be right there by our side, and as we know,
24:14 the old poem Footprints.
24:16 Sometimes He's just carrying us as we make it through.
24:20 But our hope for new beginnings, our hope for vital new
24:24 beginnings can come best as we turn to Jesus, and we say,
24:29 I can't do this.
24:30 I can't do this by myself.
24:32 I can't do this on my own.
24:35 This is too big for me.
24:36 This is too much for me.
24:38 I need you.
24:39 I need help.
24:40 I need you to send me someone.
24:42 God hears the prayers of His people when they cry out to Him.
24:47 Amen.
24:48 And over and over in scripture when we cry out to God,
24:51 God comes and answers right away.
24:54 He hears us cry out to Him.
24:57 And He sees the tears of His children.
24:58 And our hope for tomorrow, our strength for today, comes when
25:04 we turn to scripture, and again we cling to those promises
25:07 of God and personalize them.
25:09 As we turn to God and say, Take my hand.
25:12 I don't even have the strength to hang on.
25:14 And just ask God to take over where we can't do anything.
25:18 To lift us up; lift up our heads.
25:22 Amen.
25:23 And, you know, I think about we began this program talking
25:27 from Psalms 147:3 that He binds the wounds of the brokenhearted;
25:33 heals the brokenhearted, binds up their wounds.
25:35 Now I know for you, that you went back to school
25:39 after your divorce, didn't you?
25:41 Actually, I started school before my divorce,
25:44 and it was when I got my chaplaincy job that the divorce
25:47 happened, but I was setting up a new chaplains department.
25:49 As we reach out to others, that was my salvation.
25:54 As I gave myself to others, in their hurt and their pain,
25:59 God brought healing to my hurt and my pain.
26:01 And Him teaching you to praise Him to get beyond that
26:05 lump in your throat.
26:06 That's right.
26:07 But He certainly did give you a new beginning.
26:09 And we just want to leave everyone who's watching
26:12 with this hope is that Jeremiah 29:11, God says,
26:17 He has a plan for your life.
26:19 And, let me tell you something, it's better than the
26:22 one we're living.
26:23 He wants to prosper you; to give you hope and a future.
26:25 And so this is something that everybody is going to go
26:30 through this adjustment process.
26:33 They're going to have to go through the purging process,
26:36 They're going to then have to go through the transition,
26:39 but just recognizing that God is the God of new beginnings.
26:43 Amen.
26:45 That's right.
26:46 Derry, you are just a very special person,
26:48 and I just want to thank you so much for being here.
26:50 Thank you, Shelley.
26:51 I enjoy it always.
26:53 I enjoy being here and sharing.
26:56 I'll look forward to another time together.
26:59 Well, me too, and we just want to thank you once again for
27:04 all of your compassion that shines forth, and for everything
27:08 that you do when you come here to 3ABN.
27:10 I know you're going to be staying with us a little while,
27:12 and volunteering.
27:14 We thank you for that.
27:15 For those of you at home, I hope if you know anyone that's going
27:19 through this grieving process, help them to understand
27:23 what they're going through is normal.
27:24 Be there for them.
27:26 Be a listening ear, a caring shoulder, and point them
27:30 toward Jesus.
27:31 You know, if we keep our eyes on the problem solver,
27:34 rather than the problem, He promises in Isaiah 26:3 to keep
27:40 us in perfect peace, if we will keep our minds steadfastly
27:44 fixed on Him, trusting in Him.
27:46 Now may the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of the
27:50 Father, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you.
27:53 Thank you.


Revised 2014-12-17