Navigating Grief as a Young Widow: Debbie Baisden’s Emotional Journey

Show Notes

Are you a young widow navigating the complexities of grief and loss? Join Debbie Baisden on the Faithfully Engaged podcast as she shares her inspiring journey of widowhood and finding strength in adversity. In this episode, Debbie opens up about the raw emotions and challenges she encountered after losing her husband at a young age and how faith played a crucial role in her healing process.

Discover the importance of allowing yourself to grieve, finding support from loved ones, and cherishing every moment with those you hold dear. If you’re seeking solace and inspiration, this episode is a must-watch for young widows. Tune in now and embark on a journey of resilience, healing, and hope.

Blenderful: 25 Slimming Smoothie Recipes by debbie baisden

By Baisden, Debbie

In this episode, you will be able to:

1. Discover how to navigate the complexities of grief in young adulthood and find hope and healing along the way.

2. Explore the journey of finding love after loss and learn practical tips for navigating the dating world with grace and authenticity.

3. Uncover the role of faith in healing and resilience and how it can provide strength and comfort during times of loss.

4. Find out why building a solid support system is crucial in grieving and learning practical ways to establish and lean on your network.

5. Learn practical strategies and tips for supporting grieving individuals in your life, helping them navigate their journey of healing and finding strength.

Visit Debbie Baisden’s website to learn more about her story and journey as a widow turned entrepreneur.

Check out Debbie Baisden’s book, where she shares her personal story and offers insights and encouragement for those who have experienced loss.

Connect with Debbie Baisden on social media to stay updated on her latest projects and events.



Share this episode with others who may benefit from hearing Debbie Baisden’s story and finding hope in the face of loss.

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00:00:09 – Introduction

00:00:56 – Debbie’s Experience as a Widow

00:06:13 – Coping with the Loss

00:09:30 – Incremental Acceptance

00:11:13 – Grace in the Grieving Process

00:15:06 – Dealing with Guilt and Loneliness

00:16:23 – Allowing Yourself to Enjoy Life

00:17:46 – Dating After Loss

00:21:22 – Processing Guilt and Strange Timing

00:22:57 – Judgment from Others 00:30:18 – The Importance of Faith

00:32:41 – Building a Strong Foundation

00:37:35 – Supporting Widows

00:39:07 – Being Mindful of Grieving Individuals

00:41:18 – Thoughtful Words and Support

00:45:55 – The Power of Prayer

00:47:03 – Supporting Others in Grief

00:47:38 – Connecting with the Guest

00:48:49 – Importance of Physical Health

00:49:22 – Gratitude and Conclusion


00:00:09 – Johnny Sanders
Well, everyone, welcome back to another episode of Faithfully Engaged. Today, my guest name is Debbie. So, Debbie, why don’t you tell the audience a little bit about yourself?

00:00:19 – Debbie Baisden
Hi, everyone. So my name is Debbie Baisden, and I am a crazy mom of four teenage boys. So I think crazy mom of teenage boys is redundant, and I am a former stay at home mom turned school teacher turned widow turned entrepreneur, and now I’m a remarried widow. So it’s been kind of a chaotic ride, but I am super excited to be here.

00:00:48 – Johnny Sanders
Yes. Well, thank you for being here. And, yeah, let’s kind of dig into just your story here. I think the audience probably caught on to the widow part there. Would you mind just kind of walking us through what that experience was like? That’s nothing that anybody plans on having happen to them, much less earlier in your life. So kind of just walk the audience through what happened.

00:01:17 – Debbie Baisden
Right? I think grandmas in shawls while holding a cane is typically what a widow was in my mind. So to be widowed in my 30s was a very surreal experience. It was 2012, and my husband actually went missing. It turned into a 40 hours search where I could not get in touch with him while our four boys and I were at his parents house, which is 4 hours from our home at the coast. And so at first, I just thought, you know what? Give him some time and space. He’s just being a little pretend bachelor. Leave him alone. You’re being the nagging wife. But as the hours kept ticking forward, I started to get worried, and it was by the end of the day, I thought, okay, well, now it’s just plain rude that you’re not responding to any of my text messages, and now I’m worried. So I started calling some neighbors to see if they had heard from Aaron, if they had seen him. Everybody’s kind of shrugging their shoulders over the phone. And so finally one friend said, I’ll go and look for him. I don’t see him anywhere at your house. His car is not at the house, so he’s not there. And he actually found my husband’s car parked behind the school where he worked. So he was a PE. Teacher. He was very involved at the school, and so he found his car in the back of the property. Now, granted, this school I live in the south, so this school is, like, on 100 acres of woods, so it’s kind of very natural out there. And he said, well, I see the car. I don’t see your husband. He said, this is freaking me out. This is beyond me. You’re going to have to call the police, which I didn’t want to do, because at this point, it just felt very bizarre. And so I called the police and said, well, I’m filing a missing person report, but it’s probably nothing. And they said, well, we’ll go check it out. And it’s amazing how news spreads so quickly. Because a lot of friends and family gathered behind the school where his car was. And said, well, we’ll start looking for him. Where could he be? Then the police showed up with search dogs. And were having trouble picking up a scent. Because too many people were there and had messed up the scent. So at this point, I’m ready to head home. I’m 4 hours away. My mother in law and I got on the road at 01:00 a.m. Drove through the night. I said something’s obviously not great, like this isn’t a joke anymore. And we got to where his car is parked behind the school and it felt like I was pulling into a movie step. This is not real. This is not happening. This happens to other people on Lifetime movies. And the police began to question me. Basically I’m asking, do you think I killed my husband? Is that what’s going on? Because I can assure you that I most definitely did not. And they called people out of the woods. They said, okay, everybody’s got to stop looking because we’re assuming bad things have happened. You don’t need to be in the woods looking for him anymore in this 100 acres of farmland. Because they were getting ready to bring helicopters in with some infrared imaging. To try to find some body heat. So they just needed everybody to pull away, bring in a rookie team and actually map out the woods. And once sunlight started coming up around 07:00 a.m. Aaron’sister said, you know what? I’m going to go find my brother by. And I was like, I hope they don’t handcuff you. I don’t know how this stuff works. She went into the woods and within two minutes I heard this piercing scream. And knew she had found her brother who was dead on the ground. And I don’t know when he died, but I know how he died. He was working on a deer stand. That he had hid in the middle of the woods. To look for deer and hunt for deer. He had never caught a deer, but he was excited to set this space up and at some point had fallen from a very high tree onto the ground. And actually didn’t die on impact. From what detectives and wilderness authorities would later tell me that he tried to kind of scoot his way back down the trail. He had macheted, I guess, thinking, I’m probably hurt, I just need to go get seen by a doctor and at some point entered heaven. So it was a very traumatic experience to hear this scream and have the police say, I’m really sorry to tell you your husband is deceased. And it’s like such a life changing moment to say, no, this isn’t happening, this isn’t real. He’ll just come back to life, it’s fine. He’s not actually in there. Y’all are just punking me. So that’s kind of the how things happen.

00:06:11 – Johnny Sanders
Yeah. So again, just kind of setting the scene for everybody. Not that losing a spouse is ever easy, but like you said in the beginning, you’re in your seventy s. Eighty s. Ninety s. Well, I come to expect that this is completely just out of the blue. I’m in my 30s, got four kids, so it makes sense why that initial kind of that shock of, yeah, this isn’t real. This isn’t actually what’s going on. Walk us through how that started to become real. Obviously it did at some point. How did you do that? How did you work through that and not let this realness just overtake you?

00:06:57 – Debbie Baisden
Right. It’s still surreal today, which is I’m like, when is the acceptance phase? When do I get there? Have I gotten there yet? So I think there was little droplets of reality. Seeing a body bag pulled out of the woods was like, wait a minute, there’s a real person in this bag. And they gave me the option, do you want us to unzip the bag or not? So I had to make a decision I chose not to. Based on I said, what would you do if you were in my shoes? So I did place my hand on what they told me was his chest. And it did not rise and it did not fall. So that was like a moment of this is reality. This is happening. But I had 4 hours until our sons were brought from the beach back to our hometown to brace myself of I’m trying to still get away from saying, my husband is dead. My husband is dead on repeat and convey this life shattering information to our sons, who at the time were four, four, seven and eight. So I think that was another strike for reality, having to sit them all down and say, I don’t know how to make these words tumble out of my mouth. I asked them to be quiet because they would interrupt me because they’re children. And I said, I’m really sorry. I just started crying and I said, I’m so sorry, but your daddy is dead. And he fell out of a tree and he didn’t know this was going to happen. And you will not see him again this side of heaven. If we could have prevented it, we would have. I’m here for you. He’s alive in heaven. This is real. And I’m so sorry. I just kept saying, I’m so sorry and crying. And I think they were so stunned, it just blindsides you. Even at age four, they understood the concept because after that, they never said, I think I hear Daddy’s car pulling in the driveway, or what time does Daddy get home today? There was none of that ever again. So they very quickly understood. I think that was another moment of you’re going to have to understand that this is not a made up story, but I think I initially was unraveling. I was frozen, paralyzed, numb, all of those shock symptoms. Just feeling very primal emotions of pain I had never known before, of I don’t know how to both inhale and exhale. I can do one, but I can’t do both, is how debilitating it felt. And I really think that people were helpful. Friends and loved ones, family, all of those people were helpful. I knew people were praying, but I think ultimately, it just takes time to just keep telling yourself, no, he’s really dead. He’s really not coming back, and you won’t see his face. And so I think once I actually got to see his face in a casket, which was horrific, to walk down this aisle when I was like, the last time my brother was by my side walking down an aisle was our wedding. And now here we are walking again, side by side in a much different aisle. And so seeing his body, this lacking temperature body, I think was so defining that I was like, oh, you really were found. The search really did end. Your sister really did find you, and you really aren’t here. This is all an empty shell. And I think having to then tell it to the kids and show them added to that finality. So I think it was incremental over time, but again, I’m still waiting for it to actually be cemented as truth.

00:10:51 – Johnny Sanders
Yeah. And I do think some of that kind of just bringing in the faith side of it, I do think some of that the way that God designed us is really just a gracious thing that it’s not, well, your husband’s dead, and you just need to deal with all of it right this very second. The way that we’re designed, we don’t we don’t take it all in right then because it’s too much. I think that’s a really gracious way that God designed us to take it incrementally in pieces instead of all at once, because that’s too much and kind of on that side of things. Something we see often, regardless of the death that’s involved, if it’s a spouse or a child or whoever, is something called survivors guilt. And tell us a little bit, for one, what does survivor’s guilt mean to you and what did that look like for you in your journey?

00:11:54 – Debbie Baisden
Yeah, I didn’t expect to feel that. I think the first twinge of like, oh, my goodness, was before that trip where he sent us off to the beach while he stayed home. The days before that, I literally reminded my husband to go work on his deer stand. I don’t know if he would have done it otherwise, but I said, oh, yeah, you’re going to go work on your deer stand, right? And he was like, oh, yeah, that’s right. And then later you’re like, Are you kidding me? And as much as I wanted to let myself fall into that pit. I’m like, But I have to keep going back to, it’s done. It doesn’t matter at this point. It’s permanently over. He’s not coming back. If you could, you can’t rewrite history. And so I think that was the initial of like, did I contribute to his demise? Would he have forgotten? I have no idea. I’ll never know the answer to that. And so I’ve had to say, it doesn’t change the outcome today. And I think what soon happened after that was I felt guilty. The first time I smiled and laughed, it felt wrong. It felt like, no, you need to wear black. You need to look sullen. Nothing should ever make you happy again. You should be completely destroyed because that’s a sign of respect for the dead. And my brother is so funny. It’s like he can’t help but be funny. And so I think he wanted to lighten up some of those initial days where it was horrible writing an obituary, picking out a casket, these horrible activities that he would show me funny videos, but it was this push pull of like, oh, it’s so funny. And yet like, no, not yet. Not you should wait a year before you break a smile. And so it was interesting to kind of have this bizarre, unexpected emotion, even cleaning out his closet, which I waited months to do. It felt wrong. Like, I feel guilty. Like, oh, you’re moving on. I took off my wedding ring and, oh, you’re just moving on. Like, you’re over it. You’re done. It was like a six week thing, and I’m totally fine now. I felt, like, guilty for making these decisions, as if I wasn’t wallowing in it enough. And friends were so loving to say, where’s the rulebook? Where’s the guide for widows that you have to follow the twelve step program? There’s no rules. You’re going to grieve how you want to grieve, and the world does keep spinning, and things will be happy and funny, and you will have those little moments where you are having basically a slowly letting go. Because our marriage didn’t have a future as much as I wish it had. It wasn’t like a divorce. So I think those were some examples. And then it went to another level. When I did start liking my now second husband, it was, by everyone’s admission, too fast. Everyone said, oh, well, she’s lonely. This is a rebound. It’s a pacifier. That was another extremely guilt invoking moment because I felt like a mistress. I felt like I was cheating on my husband by hugging someone else. I was like, this is wrong. No one can know this is happening. I had been married for eleven years, and I had trained myself. You don’t look at other men, period. It’s always eyes down. Out of respect and faithfulness. I was like, oh, I don’t stare at men. I don’t dream about them. I’m like. No. Eyes down. Because I have one person that I’m satisfied with. So to then be able to look side to side at anybody I wanted to felt very wrong, very weird. And so it was like that for a long amount of time. Just feeling like I was breaking unwritten rules, I guess.

00:15:59 – Johnny Sanders
Yeah, there’s a lot in there. And first off, I wanted to say I’m really glad that you mentioned the smiling part, the laughing part. I see this all the time with different clients that I’ve worked with that that’s really difficult. I lost my spouse, I lost my kid, I lost my best friend. I can’t have fun. I can’t enjoy my life. How can I? I lost this person I love. That’s a really hard thing. And I’m glad that you mentioned that because I bet you there’s probably somebody listening to this that’s experienced something similar or will experience something similar. So it’s very important to catch that early and to allow yourself to enjoy life. And something I normally ask people that have lost somebody is, let’s just imagine that they could talk to you right this second. What would they be telling you? Would they be telling you, no, you need to be solemn, or would they say, go laugh, go have fun. So that’s a big piece there on the dating aspect, too. You really faced an extremely unique spot here. And the sense that not that older widows can’t date or marry when they lose somebody in their sixty s or seventy s or whatever they can. But you had a lot of life left to live, at least hopefully at that point. So it’s a good thing, that initial piece of that guilt, just because your training that you had earlier when you were married, that’s great. I think women keeping their eyes down, definitely with men, same thing. I don’t look for other women like I’m married. I don’t need to look for other women. But that fundamentally changes it’s. Till death do us part. You weren’t cheating. There’s no marriage at that point. And that’s another one of those kind of Trinkles of reality setting in there. So with that, you’re starting to see this at the time, somebody that you’re thinking about dating, and now you’re married. How did you work through that guilt? I feel like I’m cheating on my husband.

00:18:22 – Debbie Baisden

00:18:23 – Johnny Sanders
How did you work through that?

00:18:25 – Debbie Baisden
Yeah, and it was such a bizarre situation because my now husband Jason, which was the first and last person I dated after losing my husband, was actually a friend of my husband. And so I had known Jason for 20 years. We had done life together in church, small group. And when everyone was in the woods looking for Aaron, it was Jason and another friend. They heard the police saying, everybody out of the no. And they’re like, no, we’re going to find our friend. You’re not going to tell us what to do. We’re going to find him, because if he’s hurt, then there’s some urgency. We need to get him help. And so he scoured 100 acre woods for, I don’t know, six, seven, 8 hours straight without stopping. So I knew the caliber of his character. I knew who he was. I knew how he was. I knew he wasn’t a serial killer, because you never know what people are like these days. So we actually reconnected. And it felt weird because I’m like, you’re my husband’s friend, and in his mind, he’s thinking, you’re my friend’s wife. And so it was both of us having our own separate inner turmoil of, like, this is not real. This is creepy. Can this be God’s plan? Because it’s so bizarre. But yet, at the same time, I know people had said little prayers of, oh, Lord, help her to find someone in the future. Even my own mother in law, within days, said, you don’t need our permission, but you can and should love again. It’s really like, she was very kind, and they actually welcomed Jason as if he was family, which was insane that my in laws are treating their daughter in law’s new boyfriend as family. It was just the best of the worst, really. It was the best that it could possibly be, given the circumstances. And so I think at the beginning, I would cry on Jason’s shoulder, saying, I miss Aaron. I miss my husband. And he would say, I miss my friend. And so I could cry. And over time, I’m like, I really like you, but that means I love two men. And he was like, yeah, it would be weird if you didn’t. And so he was always gracious, like, do you want space? Do you want to talk about Aaron? And when he would come over and bring the five of us dinner, he would share stories with my sons about let me tell you about a time I went camping with your dad. Stories I would never know and that he could share. And so I think Jason has such a gentle personality. I’ve been blessed to marry two amazing Godly men. That’s just the gift of God, because it has nothing to do with me. But I think it, again, just kind of like the reality piece. It just took time to process. This is okay. This is allowed. It’s weird. It’s not God’s perfect design. Let’s be honest. This is after a fallen world. This is how things sometimes pan out. But I think it over time, became less weird. But we definitely didn’t sit together at church, didn’t let the kids know what was going. It was, like, months where it was, like, all under the radar, because I was under, in my mind, a magnifying glass. People were like, how do widows live? Does she look sad enough this Sunday? And I was like, they’re going to say it’s too soon and too fast, but you guys are the ones praying for me to find love again. And lo and behold, God answers prayers. But I think people felt, well, this is too fast and too serious. And I’m like, well, here we are about to come up on our 9th weding anniversary. I’m pretty sure it was God ordained. It’s just a bizarre coming together that no one would have picked out for me. And I even had unfortunately, widowed friends. I’ve met a lot of young widows, which has been a mixed blessing, but even there were some jabs of like must be nice to maybe I should have gone through my husband’s phone to see if there was anybody single. And I’m like, that is not what I did. Wow. So even widows can say some crazy things.

00:22:57 – Johnny Sanders
Yeah, when you’re talking through this, I’m thinking through one thing, one personal thing that I don’t want the audience to think this is a morbid thing I do with my wife all of the time. But we have had some discussions of hey, what if something did happen to me? I’ve got two young kids out in the world right now and we got another one on the way. So if something were to happen, my wife would kind of be like, you left with little ones there. And again, this is not a dinner room topic we have every day. But I do think it’s important that, hey, if that happens, I want you to be well. Even if I am gone and we’ve had these talks of where I have actually encouraged her, that no, I really do think you should date that. You should potentially look at that knowing that incredibly hard situation think in part because of those little kids and the need for just some leadership and things like that. And I know that’s a very touchy subject and other women might decide to not do that or other men on the other hand, if they have a wife that passes away. But there is some biblical evidence of that. Where blanking on which book? The Bible is it’s Paul talking of saying that, hey, widows that have family help, that they don’t necessarily need all the help that the church can provide them there and also if they can remarry, that can be good. So now that you’re on the other side, you have had this nine year marriage of happiness on the other side, not saying that we’re going to have an iron fist, you have to do it this way or this other way. Do you think by and large it is a good idea for younger widows to remarry? Or would you say it’s just a completely depends on the situation?

00:25:01 – Debbie Baisden
I do think it depends. I think as I met several, we called ourselves widows with kiddos, a lot of widows my age and before I even was telling them anything because I didn’t want to even be judged in that community, some of them said I am very much content being alone. And I don’t want all that comes with a marriage because there was a stretch of time where I was like, I consult with no one. I compromise zero. Now, granted, I’m doing all the stuff, but I also don’t have any marital fights, so that’s a plus. And so some of them were kind of like, once was enough. I’m really okay. Maybe they’ll find someone in the future, maybe they won’t. So if some of them, I have noticed, have remarried, some of them have even gone on to have children together, but I do think it is so different. Whatever God’s plan looks like, and I certainly was not planning, I told my mother in law and meant your son was enough love for a lifetime. And I also thought, I mean, I’m in my 30s with a litter of children. Who wants this package? This is like the Dent and scratch package in the back of the store. Get a 20 year old without kids who’s got, like, a fresh, clean slate. But like you mentioned about the Bible, I often think about the story of Ruth and Boaz. Not that I’m awesome like Ruth, but how Jason very much was this boaz of treating me with integrity instead of like, you poor little like, I’ll fix everything instead, just as Boaz would tell know still glean from the outer edges of the fields. Like, yeah, you need to get yourself fed and grab these items. He still was doing that, just knowing, like, I know that you’re a functional woman, and, Mom, I’m not here to be a rescuer, but in so many ways, he was that redeeming quality that is a reflection of God, ultimately. So it’s been such a marvel at how kind and compassionate God is, but I don’t know if it’s for everybody. I think everybody got such a different purpose from God.

00:27:23 – Johnny Sanders
Sure, yeah. I tend to agree with you that there are different circumstances. Of course, they’re not quite your example because they’re older. But my grandma, my grandpa, who’s actually my namesake, he passed away before I was born. And my granny was, like, in her 50s. Never has really had a desire to remarry. And then my father in law, my mother in law just passed away last year. Had kind of a long bout with cancer. And of course, it’s just been a year in. Could things change? I mean, it could, but goodness, I would put a lot of money that he probably wouldn’t get remarried just based off of who he is. But again, it is a little bit different when you’re a little bit older. You’ve got kids and grandkids taking care of each other. You’re in your 30s with all these little ones. Again, it does kind of change things up a little bit. But I think it speaks to what you’ve mentioned before of having these people around you friends, family, church, to not just segregate into yourself and try to figure it all out on your own. You’re dealing with grief and raising little ones. That’s a lot. It definitely does not need to just be only on your shoulders. You need to have some other people in your camp for sure.

00:28:47 – Debbie Baisden
Yeah. I had never seen the body of Christ in action like I did in those initial months. I mean, I’m talking strangers would come up to me in the store. I don’t know them because this was all over the news, because it’s like, oh, a school teacher, he’s well known in the community and it happened on school property. So it’s like a whole thing in the papers and stuff. And so people were very kind, would come up to me at baseball games and people would just say, I know who you are and I have prayed for your family. I’m like that’s the best gift you can ever give anybody is to pray for them. That’s a selfless act where you get nothing in return. And so that’s when I really saw, I’m like, oh, this is what the Bible means about the hands and the feet, because I had read about it, I’m like, yeah, head, shoulders, knees and toes, it means nothing to me. And then I was like, this is it. This is what kept us afloat, obviously, through God. But it’s like people were sending gift cards so that we could eat because I had no interest in cooking. Or people said, we’re going to get your house cleaned, we will take your kids to play miniature golf. We will bring them back in 2 hours. They will be okay. We will feed them, they will be safe. Use this time however you want and you’ve got 2 hours. Go. So the way that people showed up, I was like, wow, this is how God uses people. Because if you don’t have people, I don’t know how you make it. And if you don’t have faith, I also don’t know how you make it. So you’re absolutely right.

00:30:25 – Johnny Sanders
That’s something that a few other guests I’ve had on the show and just people in my personal life that we’ve talked about, particularly as Christians, we have this different kind of worldview. And not that we’re happy that bad things happen, but we just kind of know that they will. Now, not everyone’s going to lose a spouse like you did at a young age, but we’re all going to have to deal with some form of trial. You mentioned we live in a world that has been tainted by sin, so therefore it’s not a perfect world. And that’s something that’s important for all the listeners. Not that, hey, you’re going to lose a spouse, but you’re going to have something happen at some point that’s going to be hard. So let’s not wait for disaster to strike and then find a community of believers. Not that you can’t, you certainly can afterwards, but how much. Sweeter and better it is for us if I already have some things in place. And then when disaster strikes, I don’t even have to do anything. Like you said, the hands and feet, they come and just do it. That’s what the church is called to do in those situations. So I think that’s great. And that speaks volumes of your late husband, that he helped lead your family in a way that he served you in that way even after he was gone. That’s when I’m having these conversations with my wife again, not to obsess over it, but I want to do that same thing. I want my family to be in a place to where if something did happen to me, they’re not left in a state of shock and have no idea what to do. No, they’ve got friends and family and church family to be there to take that up. So if you’re a listener, and particularly if you’re a listener that has any type of Christian faith and you’re not plugging into church, it’s the time to do it. Now, let’s not wait for disaster to strike because like Debbie’s saying, will come massively in handy when you need them. You don’t even have to ask. They’re just right there.

00:32:38 – Debbie Baisden
Yeah, that’s so true. It really is. And I think some people maybe through these experiences, then start a walk with the Lord. That’s amazing. Wonderful. I think another way I didn’t implode is I was already anchored to God as my rock, and so the storm was going to come, but I may have been tossed around and beat up a little bit, but I was still anchored into the rock, which to me was way better, maybe easier. I don’t know if that’s the right description, but compared to trying to build a foundation as the storm is coming down, that seems much harder. Like, how do I make this a rock when it kind of feels like sand? So I am grateful to not have waited to love the Lord. Obviously, this devastation deepened my relationship with the Lord. But, yeah, it’s amazing how he uses others to bless us so much, and it makes me want to be a blessing to others. How can I then, if we’ve had hard times, I think it makes us more compassionate. How can we then help others who are in need as well?

00:33:53 – Johnny Sanders
I’ve heard you reference this a few times with some of the other widows, especially. I like the widows with kiddos. I haven’t heard that phrase before, but I know some of that’s just kind of a continuity that there’s no way I could ever understand what you had gone through. I can hear you and somewhat empathize, but I’ve never experienced anything like that, and other widows certainly can. So have you seen yourself kind of either go out of your way to impact specifically widows, or do you see yourself more so with that service of not so much just finding with other widows, but just looking for people that are hurting to try to impact them. Do you kind of see yourself doing anything like that?

00:34:43 – Debbie Baisden
Yeah, I did start a little Facebook group for widow support. It’s been so interesting to have this peek into so many widows realities, because some of them have faced a lot of backlash, either from mostly from the in laws, they would guilt them, how dare you go on a date with somebody? Or it just became very I don’t know. I think death brings out weirdness in people. And so I saw so many families doing this downward spiral, and they’re like, people are wanting me to move. And my husband just passed away a month ago. So family demands become bizarre and actually really unkind, which, again, I didn’t experience. But so many women have gone through some it’s like people would intensify the pain. And my whole goal in creating this group is to say, this is a safe space. We all get each other. Because I had people say, Can I be in your group? Just to understand, no, you can’t be in our group. I’m so sorry. But just a safe place, a haven to say you can bring that icky stuff. You can vent about your sister in law who’s making you crazy, or how your family wants you to move, or they’re trying take your rings from you now that your husband’s gone, or giving you a hard time for wanting to move forward with love. So I think that’s been really exciting. Some of them have remarried, some do not want to. For whatever reason, both are great. So it’s something I don’t know, that that is a huge impact. I think. I’m hoping that through this loss, that I do become a kinder, more encouraging follower of Jesus. That even now that at the time I was a stay at home mom and was like, I got to pay light bills. How do you pay light bills around here? Because I didn’t want to go back to the classroom. Being a teacher, I made my own children, had four kids in four years. I was like, I don’t even like kids. Let’s not go back to that. Kids are horrible. So I was like, I’m going to do something with adults, which ended up being these two online fitness businesses. And I think over time, what I’ve grown to see is this is a way for me to encourage all kinds of women, some of them widowed, some divorced, some divorced, remarried, different dynamics. But I’m like, if I can infuse as much encouragement into their lives, if I can speak about the Lord and his amazing, sweet love, I’m like, then this is great. So I would love to help widows as much as I can, but even a bigger picture of just how can I pour into women and just be a blessing? Whatever that looks like.

00:37:35 – Johnny Sanders
Yeah, no, I think that’s great. And as you were saying this, something popped in my head that I hadn’t considered asking you before, but when somebody goes through something very difficult, losing a spouse is right up there. You’ll have people like that kind person that’s trying to get into your group. I think that they probably have good intentions. I want to understand other people, but yeah, that’s not the time or time or place there. And I know oftentimes in that eagerness to try to help, to try to fix things for people that you might say or do something that’s really not helpful at all, especially right when it’s fresh at the funeral. I’m thinking of things like, oh, you’ll get over it, or something like that. Not necessarily intentionally being mean, but it doesn’t come across very well through your experience or some of the stories of other women that you’ve heard go through this. Do you kind of have any things to tell the audience, like, yeah, don’t do that to somebody that’s grieving?

00:38:44 – Debbie Baisden
Yeah, I think the biggest thing that comes to mind is I had so many women want to be my friend and I could not understand that so many people wanted to have coffee and lunch with me and I could not comprehend why we’re acquaintances. I have never had coffee and lunch with you. I don’t even remember your last name. I think people feel helpless. What can I do? Can I just bring you a baked ZD? That’s fine, but to say I would like to subtract from the energy and capacity you have by making you go out to eat with an acquaintance and zap your energy and zap your time so that we can now form a connection. That was very hard for me. I tried to be very gracious sometimes I said yes and thought, why did I say yes? Why are we at this coffee shop for 2 hours? I don’t want to be here. I want to be on my bed crying. That’s all I have the bandwidth to do. So I think whatever your level of friendship is before a death happens, keep it at that level. I wouldn’t say start a new friendship just because they died. I still don’t understand why that was. Maybe just send a card or flowers or bring a meal, drop it and leave. That was another problem, is people would bring meals and stay 45 minutes. And I’m like, in this 45 minutes, my energy is zapped, the food is cold, and my kids just put another hole in the wall because they’ve been unsupervised in the other room for 45 minutes. So I had to stop all the meals. I was like, Help isn’t always help. And I get it, we all are like, Just let me do something, let me do something. Well, you can just pray. Just stay home and pray. And what really meant the most is when people would wait six months to send a card. I read that card. The cards in the first six days, words on a page, don’t know what they said, but at six months, when someone would send flowers, amazing. So if you know someone who passes away, mark your calendar for six months and then tell them your spouse is remembered. You are still prayed for. You are cared for in whatever ways. I’ve had one friend specifically to do that consistently. That’s what speaks volumes. Instead of the initial rush. I think that’s helpful. I tried to sift through people’s comments of he’s in a better place and rest in peace. I mean, some of that was some of his students who came to a funeral, which that may have been their first funeral. They didn’t know what to say.

00:41:32 – Johnny Sanders

00:41:33 – Debbie Baisden
I did have other widows, actually. One widow at the funeral said, you need to get to the Social Security office. And I said right now in my black dress? Should I go now? And she was like, no, but it’s really important. And I was like, this is not really the time and place to do this. Maybe not today, maybe message me tomorrow. I had another widow because my husband died in August, which meant October came, and she had suggested that I dress as a black widow for Halloween for a costume that was baffling to me. So there’s always these outlier comments that you’re like, just take it with a grain of salt. They’re trying to be nice, but I think just to be present and it’s okay to sit quietly. I think people want to fill the space with words. Some of the most moving things were people just sitting next to me saying nothing, not a single word. It ministered to me in a way that words couldn’t. So I think just to know you don’t have to have all the right answers or fix it, but just to be present with whatever level of friendship you have. So that’s probably a long answer to a short question.

00:42:47 – Johnny Sanders
No, I think that’s a very insightful answer, though. I’m sitting here, too, of experiencing doing counseling sessions with people and trying to help them not feel like they do have to come in and fix it. But I really like how you put that of where your relationship is. Keep it to that same level of intensity. Do something. Gift card, prayer, send a card. And I love the six months later. That’s fantastic advice, because six months from now, it’s not like you got over it. It’s not like it went away. But that’s not at the forefront of people’s minds. So maybe if you’re listening and you want to help somebody that’s gone through something difficult, think outside the box a little bit. But yeah, really see what’s going to be happening down the road and how can I help in a way that I’m not injecting myself in there. I’m thinking through, this isn’t a grief situation, but talking about with meals of when our kiddos have been born and church members have dropped food off. Yeah, some of the best ones is just literally dropped it on the front porch, have a good one and they’re out of there. And that’s really kind when people do that, because I don’t think the people that stayed there for 45 minutes were intending to be rude. But you are injecting yourself into the process, and it’s not about you. It’s about helping the person that’s hurting in that moment.

00:44:28 – Debbie Baisden
Yeah, absolutely. That’s well said. Well said. Drop and go.

00:44:34 – Johnny Sanders
Yeah. And some of this, too, kind of bringing the faith component in is I could have been at Debbie’s door whenever that happened and said the exact perfect words, did the perfect prayer, perfect meal, perfect everything. Guess what? Debbie’s still going to be hurting. There’s nothing any individual can do to take away that pain. But as believers, we know that God can do much more. So I love what you mentioned with prayer is we downgrade prayer to like yeah, I mean, it’s kind of formality. Nice thing to do. No, it’s incredible. You have been impacted by prayer by people that you will never know what they prayed or who prayed. Don’t underestimate that. It’s great if you come back and say, hey, I’ve been praying for you, but maybe you don’t even say that. Just put that little prayer you pray for them once a week for 1 minute or something. Don’t downgrade that, because that’s a really big deal, because only God can really help show that love to somebody that’s hurting and grieving. It doesn’t matter if we have the best gift ever, we can’t replace that.

00:45:55 – Debbie Baisden
That’s so true. It really is. That the prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. And I think before Aaron passed away, I probably was really rushing my prayer time. I’m distracted while reading my Bible. It’s all like going through the motions, a little bit robotic and not much depth, I’m sad to say. And so for him to say, listen, you’re really hard headed, so I’m going to have to bring the pain for you to be what I designed you to be. And I’m like, okay. And he’s like, I’m going to have some cushioning along the way with people helping and praying, but I think it is a profound way to help people. I really do. He’s very good to use his people.

00:46:44 – Johnny Sanders
Yeah. Really, just those of you that are listening. If you do a prayer journal or something, jot some of those things down, put it in the phone. If somebody just lost their spouse, their kid, whatever, put in your phone six months from that day, just like Debbie said, and do it. Say a prayer, send a card, say, hey, I’ve been thinking about you. I’ve been praying for you. I about guarantee you, like you said, you’re going to get better. Response than a week after that death, hey, let’s go to coffee. And we’ve never even really talked to each other. Probably not going to be the most helpful thing to do, right?

00:47:21 – Debbie Baisden
Yes, exactly.

00:47:24 – Johnny Sanders
Great. Well, Debbie, I think that the audience probably has really enjoyed your story, especially those of you. If you’ve lost anybody, probably really resonate with you there. I know you also have some of your fitness business and everything like that. So people that have been listening to this, how can they connect with you after listening to the show?

00:47:49 – Debbie Baisden
Sure. So if I write some on my Grief Journey and Faith, a really long website, which is Debbie Baisden in, that’s a mouthful. And then I have two of these health businesses. One is So we’re called Mom Sanity because all moms are crazy and need sanity. So we focus on motherhood, faith, fitness and nutrition. Really, the core of it is the Faith piece. It’s like, let’s glorify God by taking care of ourselves so that we can take care of our families. And then my other fitness and nutrition business is So it’s all about helping busy women to really feel good. Just feel good amidst the crazy schedules and the chaos of every day just to do little simple tweaks to take care of yourself. So I’d love to connect.

00:48:44 – Johnny Sanders
Yeah. And I will put all of that stuff down in there. Maybe at a future date we can talk more. Just strictly on the fitness, mental health, spiritual side, I think greatly gets undervalued of how your physical health impacts everything else. So definitely connect with her on that. And yeah, it was absolutely great getting to hear your story. I know. A very painful story, but one that’s still filled with a lot of joy. So thanks again for sharing that with us.

00:49:16 – Debbie Baisden
Well, thank you for letting me be here. It’s such a huge blessing. So I really appreciate it.

00:49:22 – Johnny Sanders
Absolutely. All right, well, and everyone that’s listening to the show, I appreciate your support and listening again. And we’ll catch you on the next episode. You guys take care. You.