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Dee Oliver Shares Wisdom Gained from Being “The Undertaker’s Wife”

Dee Oliver didn’t plan to marry a funeral director, nor did she think she’d be a young widow. She will share wisdom gained from working in the funeral business and tell how you can better prepare for death. Read Transcript


Wendy: WELL, ON THEIR

VERY FIRST DATE, HE PICKED

UP A CORPSE, NO LIE.

BUT THAT DIDN'T STOP OUR

NEXT GUEST FROM MARRYING

HIM.

TAKE A LOOK.

Wendy: FOR 25 YEARS,

DEE OLIVER WORKED ALONGSIDE

HER HUSBAND, JOHNNIE, A

FOURTH GENERATION FUNERAL

DIRECTOR.

FOREVER THEY HELPED

COUNTLESS FAMILIES PLAN FOR

THE INEVITABLE.

WHEN JOHNNIE PASSED AWAY

SUDDENLY IN 2007, DEE WAS

DEVASTATED.

ALTHOUGH SHE AND JOHNNIE

WORKED WITH GRIEVING

FAMILIES EVERY DAY, DEE

FOUND HERSELF UNPREPARED.

IN HER BOOK, "THE

UNDERTAKER'S WIFE," DEE

TALKS ABOUT HOW TO SURVIVE

THE LOSS OF A LOVED ONE.

Wendy: PLEASE WELCOME

TO "THE 700 CLUB" DEE

OLIVER.

GREAT TO SEE YOU.

THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME.

Wendy: TELL US WHAT

HAPPENED ON YOUR VERY FIRST

DATE.

I MET HIM ON A BLIND

DATE, AND WE DECIDED WE WERE

GOING TO HAVE A REAL DATE.

AND HE PICKED ME UP.

I HAD ONLY SEEN HIM IN THE

FUNERAL SUIT, THE

PIN-STRIPED SUIT.

AND HE SHOWS UP IN HIS NAVY

BLUE BLAZER, KHAKI PANTS,

AND SO HANDSOME.

AND OFF WE GO.

WE HAVE DINNER

RESERVATIONS.

AND HE SAYS TO ME, I'M ON

CALL TONIGHT.

AND I SAID, ALL RIGHT.

Wendy: YOU KNEW HE WAS

A FUNERAL DIRECTOR?

I KNEW HE WAS A FUNERAL

DIRECTOR.

I HAD NO CLUE OF WHAT "ON

CALL" WAS.

I SAID, NO PROBLEM.

HE SAID IT SHOULDN'T PRESENT

A PROBLEM.

AND AT THAT TIME HIS BEEPER

MADE OFF, AND HE SAYS, I'VE

GOT TO MAKE A PHONE CALL.

HE SAYS, LOOK, I HAVE TO

TAKE THIS CALL.

DO YOU MIND COMING ALONG.

I DON'T WANT TO END THE

DATE.

SO I SAID, SURE.

THE NEXT THING I KNOW WE'RE

AT THE FUNERAL HOME.

HE LOOKS AT ME AND SAYS,

I'LL BE RIGHT BACK.

AND I'M THINKING, FINE.

HE COMES BACK FROM THE

FUNERAL HOME, AND HE OPENS

MY DOOR.

HE HAS CHANGED INTO THE

FUNERAL SUIT, ESCORTS ME

INTO THIS BLACK

STATIONWAGON, WHICH I LATER

FIND OUT IS THE REMOVAL

WAGON.

Wendy: AND THERE IS

SOMETHING IN THE BACK SEAT?

THERE IS NOTHING IN THE

BACK SEAT AT THIS POINT.

WE ARRIVED AT A RESIDENCE.

I NOTICED THERE ARE TWO MEN

DRESSED JUST LIKE HIM.

I'M SITTING IN THE CAR

WAITING, AND THE NEXTTHENING

NEXT THING I KNOW IT IS

BOOM, BOOM, BOOM.

AND I REALIZE THEY HAVE

OPENED IT UP.

I TURN AND I LOOK AND THERE

IS A COT WITH A SHEET OVER

IT --

Wendy: IT IS NOT EVEN

IN A CASKET.

AND THIS IS YOUR FIRST

DATE?

WE WERE SUPPOSED TO GO TO

STEAK AND ALE.

EXACTLY.

Wendy: THIS IS TRUE

LOVE.

EXACTLY.

Wendy: YOU WORKED

ALONGSIDE YOUR HUSBAND,

JOHNNIE, FOR 25 YEARS IN THE

FUNERAL HOME.

AND SOMETHING DEVASTATED YOU

IN 2007.

WHAT HAPPENED?

I HAD GONE AWAY OUT ON

GIRLS' WEEKEND AND HAD COME

BACK.

AND WE WERE IN BED THAT

NIGHT.

AND THE NEXT THING I KNEW HE

HAD WOKEN ME UP AND SAID, I

HAVE THIS TERRIBLE

HEADACHE.

AND WHEN I ROLLED HIM OVER,

I REALIZED WE DIDN'T JUST

HAVE A HEADACHE.

HE HAD A SEVERE ANEURYSM --

Wendy: AND HE WAS ONLY

IN HIS EARLY 60s?

HE WAS 61 YEARS OLD AT

THE TIME.

I CALLED 9-1-1 AND CALLED --

GOT A CELL PHONE NUMBER AND

CALLED THE FIRST NAME ON HIS

CELL PHONE I.D. LIST, AND

THE NEXT THING I KNOW --

Wendy: HE WAS

HEALTHY --

HE WAS PERFECTLY HEALTHY,

YOUNG, STRONG, I NEVER SAW

THIS COMING.

IT WAS COMPLETELY OUT OF THE

BLUE.

THE NEXT THING I KNEW, WE

WERE IN I.C.U. AND TRYING TO

GET HIM TO NORFOLK AND UP TO

CHARLOTTESVILLE.

AND TWO DAYS LATER I HAD TO

TAKE HIM OFF OF LIFE

SUPPORT.

Wendy: IT IS HARD TO

BELIEVE YOU AND YOUR HUSBAND

WORKED IN A FUNERAL HOME,

BUT YOU HAD NOT REALLY

PREPARED FOR IT YOURSELF.

IT IS ONE OF THOSE THINGS

WE WORK IN IT AND DID IT

EVERY SINGLE DAY.

WE OBVIOUSLY KNEW WHAT

FUNERAL HOME WE WERE GOING

TO USE, BUT WE HADN'T GOTTEN

AROUND TO THE DETAILS.

AS HUMANS, WE ALWAYS THINK,

WE'LL DO THAT TOMORROW.

WE PUT IT OFF, AND THAT WAS

ONE OF THE THINGS WE

SHOULDN'T HAVE DONE.

Wendy: YOU HAD THREE

YOUNG DAUGHTERS AT THE TIME,

AND HOW DID YOU AND YOUR

DAUGHTERS COPE?

HOW DID YOUR FAITH IN GOD

HELP YOU THROUGH THIS TIME?

GOD WAS JUST SO GREAT TO

US.

AND I KNOW THAT -- ONE OF MY

FAVORITE VERSES IS, YOU

KNOW, I HAVE A PLAN FOR

YOU.

Wendy: JEREMIAH 29:

11.

EXACTLY.

AND I STOOD ON THAT.

AND I STOOD ON THE FACT THAT

HE TAKES CARE OF THE WIDOWS

AND THE ORPHANS.

Wendy: AND YOU SAID

THAT YOU REALLY STARTED # --

HAVING -- AFTER YOUR

HUSBAND'S DEATH YOU STARTED

HAVING A RELATIONSHIP WITH

GOD LIKE NEVER BEFORE.

Reporter: NOT ONLY THAT

JOHNNIE PASSED AWAY, MY

MOTHER PASSED AWAY THREE

MONTHS LATER.

I HAD MY FATHER AND THREE

GIRLS.

I SAID, I DON'T HAVE A

SUPPORT SYSTEM ANYMORE.

I NEED GOD.

Wendy: SO GOD BECAME

THAT FOR YOU.

EVERY MORNING IT WAS YOUR

COFFEE AND YOUR BIBLE AND

GOD.

AND YOU DIDN'T MISS THAT

MEETING.

I DIDN'T MISS IT.

Wendy: YOU SAY, WE NEED

TO BE PREPARED FOR DEATH.

IT IS A PART OF LIFE.

WE NEED TO WRITE OUR OWN

OBITUARY.

THAT SEEMS KIND OF HARD.

I KNOW.

AND NOBODY WANTS TO DO

THAT.

I THINK IT IS BECAUSE

EVERYBODY THINKS IF THEY

WRITE AN OBITUARY, THEY'RE

GOING TO DIE.

I'M TELLING YOU OF ALL OF

THE DEATH CERTIFICATES I'VE

SEEN, I'VE NEVER SEEN THE

CAUSE OF DEATH AS THEY WROTE

AN OBITUARY.

I THINK IT IS REALLY

IMPORTANT THAT PEOPLE DO

THAT.

BECAUSE YOU DON'T REMEMBER

ALL OF THE THINGS THAT

SOMEBODY ACCOMPLISHES IN

THEIR LIFE.

WHEN I HAD TO WRITE

JOHNNIE'S, I LEFT THINGS OUT

TO THIS DAY THAT STILL

UPSETS ME.

IT IS SUCH A STRESSFUL TIME

TO TRY TO DO THAT.

IT IS EASIER IF THE PERSON

WRITES ABOUT THEMSELVES.

Wendy: THAT IS VERY

INTERESTING.

YOU ALSO SAY YOU SHOULD

WRITE A LOVE LETTER TO YOUR

LOVED ONES, SEAL IT, AND PUT

IT IN A PLACE WHERE YOU KNOW

IT WILL BE FOUND.

WHAT SHOULD BE IN THAT

LETTER?

THINGS LIKE PASS CODES,

LIST OF BANK ACCOUNTS,

INFORMATION ABOUT SAFETY

DEPOSIT BOXES, WHERE THE KEY

IS --

Wendy: NOT YOUR

TRADITIONAL LOVE LETTER.

NO.

NO.

AS MUCH AS YOU WOULD LIKE TO

HAVE, AND I WISH JOHNNIE HAD

WRITTEN ME A LOVE LETTER --

Wendy: MAYBE THAT AS

WELL.

BUT THIS IS A LOVE LETTER IN

THE SENSE OF THESE ARE

THINGS I WANT MY LOVED ONES

TO KNOW EXACTLY WHERE TO

FIND THESE THINGS DURING

THIS VERY STRESSFUL TIME,

BANK ACCOUNTS AND ALL OF

THOSE KIND OF THINGS.

YES.

Wendy: YOU ACTUALLY

WENT BACK TO SCHOOL, GOT

YOUR MORTUARY LICENSE.

ARE YOU STILL WORKING IN THE

FUNERAL BUSINESS?

NOT AT THE PRESENT TIME.

I WISH I WAS, BUT I'M NOT AT

THIS POINT.

BUT I DID, I WENT BACK TO

MORTUARY SCHOOL AND GOT MY

FUNERAL DIRECTOR'S LICENSE

AND MY EMBALMING LICENSE.

Wendy: THIS BOOK IS

ACTUALLY VERY FUNNY AND IT

GRIPS YOU AT THE VERY

BEGINNING.

IT IS AMAZING HOW GOD CAN

TAKE OUR WORST PAIN AND WE

CAN FIND SOME HUMOR IN IT

BECAUSE THAT'S HOW GOOD GOD

IS.

I REALLY WANT TO RECOMEND

YOURECOMMEND YOUR BOOK,

"THE UNDERTAKER'S WIFE."

THANK YOU.

IT IS A GREAT TIME BEING

HERE WITH YOU.

EMBED THIS VIDEO


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