Participants: Alanzo & June Smith
Series Code: FFH
Program Code: FFH00003A
00:04 With each new day families are failing and homes are broken.
00:09 Marriages are threatened, fathers are absent.
00:13 Children are rebellious but all is not lost.
00:17 Homes can be healed and hearts can be mended.
00:21 Let's reclaim our Families 4 Heaven.
00:32 Thank you for watching Families 4 Heaven.
00:35 My name is Alanzo Smith and this is my wife June Smith
00:38 my co-host.
00:40 We have a very interesting topic that we are going to
00:43 talk about, Surviving the Ultimate Loss, Death.
00:48 You know, every one of you listening to this program
00:52 you have had a close relative or a friend
00:57 who passed away.
00:59 Yet death is not something that people want
01:03 to talk about.
01:05 Dr. June, why is this so?
01:09 Loss is painful and if you have ever experienced losing,
01:14 especially a family member, it is even more painful.
01:19 When you love someone you like to have them around for a
01:23 very long time.
01:25 Especially when you lose someone in a tragic situation.
01:29 Sometimes families or people just don't know what to do.
01:33 Nor how to handle it.
01:34 So for all those reasons people have difficulty talking
01:38 about death and loss.
01:40 Let's talk about some myths, about grief, because when
01:46 we talk about death, people are at different stage on
01:51 the continuum of how they handle and manage their grief.
01:56 Part of this is because of some stereo typical thinking,
02:01 myth, or mythology that exist.
02:03 For example, children grieve like adults.
02:07 What would you say to that?
02:09 I would say that is certainly a myth.
02:11 Children have different ways of grieving, in fact or a
02:15 experience in loss.
02:17 I have worked with children who you wonder if they even
02:20 understand what is going on.
02:22 I remember a story of a little girl who, after she had
02:25 lost her sister, her parents and her went shopping and
02:28 she said to her mom, let's get something for, and she named
02:31 her little sister that she just had lost.
02:33 So in her mind her sister was still in the hospital
02:35 or someplace.
02:36 So they know the person is not around and sometimes are
02:39 not sure where the person is or what death really means.
02:42 Okay, do we all grieve the same way, all deaths,
02:49 are they all alike?
02:51 Loss is painful and no not all deaths are grieved
02:56 in the same way.
02:57 For example, there are people who lose individuals who
03:01 are in a lot of pain, and they are at the end stage of
03:04 life, and they accept that this is the next step.
03:07 So the loss, or the response to that grief is not
03:11 necessarily as upsetting as losing a young child,
03:15 or losing someone unexpectedly.
03:17 So it depends on the circumstance of loss.
03:20 What if I go through my pain now and after a year or two
03:28 I am healed, does that mean I am permanently healed
03:32 from that loss?
03:34 Again people respond to loss in different ways.
03:37 But the average time that one takes to grieve clinically
03:42 it is said 24 months and sometimes 48 months.
03:45 It will take an individual to get to the point where they are
03:49 ready to move on, but people could get there much faster,
03:52 it just depends on all the supporting factors and their
03:55 psychological state and all the other things that goes
03:57 into the way they hope and handle their loss.
04:00 We have someone with us here who actually has gone
04:05 through what we are talking about.
04:08 Not in the contents of dying, but in the context of
04:11 losing a loved one.
04:13 We have Dijon Plummer, did I pronounce your name
04:19 correctly? Dijon: yes you did.
04:22 Won't you help me welcome Dijon as our guest.
04:31 we are very happy that you took the time out coming.
04:35 We know that you flew in from afar and we are very happy
04:38 that you have come spend time with us here on this
04:41 program to share your story.
04:44 Something happened to you, you are a successful,
04:49 progressive, happily married young man.
04:54 You've been married for eight years with a family of
04:58 three and life couldn't be better, it was at its best.
05:02 Talk to us about what happened.
05:06 Approximately 4 years ago, on December 21 my life
05:12 changed forever.
05:15 Alanzo: before your life change was there any thought
05:19 in your head as to what or where your life was?
05:23 Yes, actually that evening when everything happened we
05:28 were at home and some friends had come by and I was
05:33 talking to them and had said to them my life is perfect.
05:38 Our money was right, the interaction between my wife and
05:42 I was okay and the children weren't given us any problems,
05:45 everything felt like it was under control.
05:49 It felt stable, it felt safe, it was perfect.
05:56 Dr. June: and what happened?
05:59 On that evening we had a teenage son, he was 16 at the
06:07 time and he wanted to go to a party.
06:09 So I decided I was going to take him, he did not have
06:12 his drivers license at the time.
06:13 So I took him to the party and left my wife and my two
06:19 younger children at home.
06:20 When we got to the party I realized that there wasn't an
06:24 adult at the home, there were only teenagers.
06:27 I decided that I was going to stay there until the
06:33 adult came, and after she came I decided it was going
06:38 to stay there.
06:39 Alanzo: so you decided to stay there at the time?
06:40 What happened?
06:42 Dijon: we decided we were going to go back home at about
06:47 12:30, 1 o'clock and by the time we got there we realized
06:53 the roads were blocked and the police were there.
06:55 I had left my phone in the car and when I went back there
07:00 I realized I had missed about 20 calls.
07:03 Alanzo: 20 calls.
07:05 Of course when I tried to return the calls the person I
07:08 spoke to just said come home, come home.
07:11 Nobody would tell me exactly what was going on.
07:13 It was not until we got close to the house I realized
07:16 that my brother was there, which was strange.
07:20 I saw that the house was damaged.
07:22 The whole reality of what happened was revealed to me.
07:28 Alanzo: was it an earthquake what happened?
07:30 No it was a house fire, and the house was
07:32 damaged by fire.
07:33 There were fire engines there and they had hoses
07:37 out and everything.
07:38 Alanzo: There was this fire and you had left
07:40 at home, who?
07:43 Dijon: my wife, my nine-year-old daughter,
07:46 and my seven-year-old son.
07:47 All three of them perished in the fire.
07:51 Alanzo: wow!
07:55 Dr. June: we are sorry, really sorry for your loss.
08:01 Dijon, when you entered that scene and realized, did you
08:06 realize, how did you relate to that?
08:09 My brother was there on the scene and he came up to me
08:14 and hugged me and told me straight out.
08:17 He did not mince any words, he said they did not make it.
08:22 It felt unreal, as if I was experiencing an out of body
08:28 experience, it didn't make sense, how could it be?
08:32 I was in disbelief and demanded that I wanted to see
08:36 them, I have to see them.
08:37 There's no way that this can be true.
08:39 It just felt as if I was watching myself from outside
08:47 of myself, it didn't seem real.
08:51 No matter how I looked I demanded them, to see them.
08:56 It didn't happen.
08:59 You notice he said his first reaction was one of denial.
09:03 Some years back, Elizabeth Hoover Ross, wrote this book
09:08 On Death and Dying.
09:09 She talks about the five stages that an individual goes
09:12 through, and the first one she mentioned is that of
09:16 denial, do you want to talk to us a little more about
09:20 why people go through this stage?
09:22 Dr June: this is consistent with what happens when you hear
09:24 very shocking news.
09:27 But psychologically what is happening is that the mind
09:29 is giving you time to absorb the shock.
09:33 As you tell yourself it isn't so, then gradually as you
09:37 see the facts, and as you gather the information, you
09:41 come to accept or to realize that yes it is true.
09:45 By that time you are able to hear it different, to hear more
09:49 so, so it is a defense that we use to absorb shock.
09:54 Really, shocking news.
09:56 So that is your reality now, three family members in a
10:01 split second, are wiped out.
10:03 How did that affect your world and your life?
10:07 Everything changed.
10:10 I lost, I felt, the only person on this earth who
10:16 understood me, who accepted me for who I was, who was
10:20 willing to work with me and spend the rest of their
10:24 life with me.
10:26 I lost children who, all I had to do was show up and I
10:31 was automatically a hero.
10:33 I wasn't the tallest, the strongest, the smartest dad
10:37 around, but to them I was Superman.
10:40 I lost my will to live.
10:48 I lost any reason to be happy, everything changed.
10:55 I had to now learn to be a father and a mother.
11:03 We are talking to Dijon Plummer who one sad night in
11:08 December, he went home only to discover that his wife
11:14 and two children died in a tragic house fire.
11:18 We have much more to talk about and hear more
11:21 about his story.
11:23 We are going to take a break and we will be right back.