Carrie Moore lost her husband in a plane crash in 1996, she had three small children and has lots of valuable information for moms to prepare for such an event but especially those who have suffered from a loss.
Today’s guest is Carrie Moore. She is the founder & director at The Bradley Center: Support for Grieving Children and Families. She has turned her personal journey in a way to help others. I’m just so proud of her as my Aunt and all that she does in this world. Can’t wait to share her with you.
Big thanks to our sponsor Family Routines. Routine is something awesome for families who hare going through things, and I can help you get there!
Parenting Through the Loss of a Spouse
In this episode
- Something she learned through the death of her husband
- Things people did that were helpful
- How she found support with the other women whose husbands had died.
- Things she would have done differently
- The importance of creating a will/trust.
- Hurtful things that people say
- What you SHOULD say
- Family Grief Support Network
Producer: Drew Erickson
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Hilary Erickson 0:00
Hey guys! Welcome back to the Pulling Curls Podcast. Today we’re talking about parenting through the loss of the spouse. So this is part of our parenting through series. We are talking to my aunt Carrie who is one of my favorite people. So let’s untangle it!
Welcome to the Pulling Curls Podcast, where we untangle everything from pregnancy, parenting, home routines, even some family travel, because heavens knows! Our lives are tangled. I’m your host, Hilary Erickson!
You know, I just said let’s untangle it and literally there’s really no untangling this. But today’s guest is my aunt Carrie. She is the wife of my uncle Brad who died in a plane crash in, I believe 1996. He was a Coca Cola executive and there were several men on the plane and they are plane just went down. That is where my fear of flying started. I just think the world of her I’ve always thought the world of her. It was just interesting. As a girl growing up in Utah, she worked and I just didn’t know a lot of other people who worked and I thought she had such a cool job. She was an editor and a writer at the big newspaper in Utah, and so I’ve just always thought she was so great.
I want to introduce you to Carrie Moore. This episode of The pulling curls podcast is sponsored by Family Routines, how to automate your housewife life. Ever wish life was more like you pictured it would be before you had kids? Being able to spend less time with the mundane tasks and more time teaching kids the fun and valuable life skills you know they need. Family Routines teaches families to simplify daily tasks into routines that help them feel more peace and joy. Save 15% with the coupon code UNTANGLED. You can find it at pullingcurls.com in the menu under courses, or in this episode’s show notes.
Hey Carrie, welcome to the Pulling Curls Podcast.
Carrie Moore 1:38
Thank you. Nice to be here.
Hilary Erickson 1:40
All right. Tell us a little bit about your story and like the ages of your kids when uncle Brad died.
Carrie Moore 1:46
It was a January morning, and snowing, and cold, and he decided that, well, he didn’t decide. He and his team were headed off to Pocatello, Idaho for a sales meeting. For Coca Cola sales center in Pocatello. And they didn’t make it. The plane, took on ice on the wings and crashed near Molan and killed everybody on board.
So, my kids at the time were, my oldest was 12. My son, my middle child, Tammy was nine and Katie, my youngest was seven.
Hilary Erickson 2:24
Oh man. Yep. And I was a sophomore in college, in case any of you were wondering. So what was the hardest part? Like two or three things of parenting? I know there were a vast array of horrible things. But what was the hardest part of parenting during that time do you think?
Carrie Moore 2:40
Just the feeling of doing it by myself. There is nothing like feeling responsible for absolutely everything, including your kids mental, physical, emotional and spiritual health. The mortgage, the cars, the house, the yard, you’re just responsible for everything.
Hilary Erickson 2:59
Yeah, that’s That’s a big difference than like a lot of the other things that I’ve talked to you’re responsible kind of with other people.
Carrie Moore 3:05
But right, me, I mean, the the financial part of it, obviously is very daunting. I was really fortunate because I did have a job with benefits. And I was able to, you know, they worked with me, and I was able to manage that. But most of the people on the plane, their husbands were the sole provider. So a lot of those women did not have anything to fall back on.
Hilary Erickson 3:30
Yeah. So my aunt Carrie worked for the newspaper in Salt Lake all the time. When I was growing up, you’d always worked right?
Carrie Moore 3:37
Hilary Erickson 3:38
Yeah. And what a blessing that is right. Do you do ever think you should stop working?
Carrie Moore 3:44
No. You might remember when we first got married, that I had some in laws who did not necessarily think that was a great idea.
Hilary Erickson 3:53
This is not shocking to me.
Carrie Moore 3:55
Yeah. And they were not shy about telling my husband that, but both have us knew from day one that that was that was my path. Just because I had always known this what I was going to do.
Hilary Erickson 4:06
That’s awesome. I’ve always been torn, even though I have worked since day one, that, you know, should I work or not work, but I have to say that having two aunts whose husbands died has always been like, maybe you should just keep your foot in the door.
Carrie Moore 4:20
Yeah, I totally understand that. And you know, my daughters grew up watching that dynamic too. So both of them in different ways prepared to take on if they had to, but really don’t hope that happens.
Hilary Erickson 4:32
Amen. So what do you think you did good? Let’s start off with the good things or the things that you think you did well at.
Carrie Moore 4:38
That is really such a hard question. It’s so much easier to always look into things you didn’t do so well. But I will say that I gave it my very best shot. My biggest challenge when not the biggest challenge, but one of the things I worried about the most probably when this happened was that my husband was incredibly patient and just really kind of rolled with stuff with my kids. I did not grow up in a household where I had patience modeled for me very well.
And so I was really concerned that the patient parent is gone. And now the parent who’s under incredible stress, and not necessarily really patient is left and I worked extremely hard to develop patience. And I have to say that I did make a lot of progress. My kids would tell you at different times that they might disagree with that. But overall, I did make a lot of progress there because I knew it was a weakness and I had to focus on it.
Hilary Erickson 5:33
Well, I would say Brad didn’t grow up in a house with a lot of patience.
Carrie Moore 5:37
Though he ended up being a patient person.
Hilary Erickson 5:40
Yeah, maybe he learned by the unexample.
Carrie Moore 5:44
He may have learned by the unexample. And my mother was great, but my father wasn’t the patient person at all. And I spent a lot of time working with my dad. So but I do look back on that and say, Okay, I can I can feel good about the fact that I’m I’m in a much better place there than I used to be.
Hilary Erickson 6:02
That’s awesome. I think what a great thing to learn, though.
Carrie Moore 6:05
Yeah, not the way I want to learn it. But, there we are.
Hilary Erickson 6:10
What did other people do? Were there any specific examples of what other people did that really were helpful?
Carrie Moore 6:15
The thing that was most helpful to me was that after the accident, about two or three months into it, that’s the point where everybody’s just at their absolute worst, because everybody’s gone, the funeral’s over, you know, everything just goes into a hole. But I had all of those women except the pilots’ wives, and that wasn’t necessarily surprising.
But all of the passengers’ wives decided that we needed to get together for lunch. And we did so and it became a support group that we perpetuated for about probably about 18 months, once a month. And it was incredibly helpful because those ladies knew exactly what I was doing and I knew exactly what they were doing. And that was really kind of a lifesaver. For all of us I think.
Hilary Erickson 7:01
That’s amazing. Yeah, it is kind of nice. I mean, it’s horrible that so many men die. But that’s awesome that you guys were able to come together.
Carrie Moore 7:07
Yeah. And we can’t necessarily, I mean, I was close with one or two of them. But as a group, we didn’t really know each other very well. But you get to know each other pretty well, when you’re all sharing the same horrible experience. And your kids are all going through the same kind of stuff. So that really kind of was the catalyst for the Bradley center, because it was the thing that got us through it. And we didn’t have that for our kids. And a couple of us looked for it and couldn’t find it. Because, you know, there was one program with a waiting list of like, two years, so that’s really when I decided that was going to be something that was important to do at some point. That’s awesome. We’re gonna get back to the Bradley center.
Hilary Erickson 7:48
Everybody, anything like your church or family did that was helpful?
Carrie Moore 7:52
Yeah, sister in law, extremely helpful. She ended up taking my kids for a lot of the time while I was working. My parents, my siblings, you know, helpful in their own way. So I’m not nearly as close physically as my sister in law who only lives about a mile from me. So I’m really, really good friends. I have a wonderful congregation, people at my church just wrap their arms around us and make sure we were okay.
Hilary Erickson 8:19
That’s nice. That’s good stuff. Okay, so looking back, what would you do differently? One or two things? If somebody else is going through this, so at a similar time?
Carrie Moore 8:31
One or two things, yeah. One of the major things I would do differently is recognize that I was not protecting my children by crying in the bedroom by myself, because all that taught them was that they had to do that same thing. I should have allowed them to see my emotion because we were all in an extreme amount of pain, but I thought that if I just kind of stayed strong for them that was going to make it all better and everybody was going to be fine. And what I found out several years later was that we weren’t talking about it because they thought I was doing fine. But they were falling apart all individually on their own in their own rooms by themselves. And that just really was…
Hilary Erickson 9:11
Interesting. I know you’ve got them counseling and stuff, though.
Carrie Moore 9:14
Well, counseling for younger children sometimes is effective. But my kids absolutely refused. We went twice. And all of them told me they were never going back. It was a huge education curve for me, because I knew it was I was going to have to do it. So I just jumped in and read every single book I could find on grief and children and how they reacted what they do and what they need. And I spent probably three years doing that.
Hilary Erickson 9:40
Man, that’s frustrating that it wasn’t I feel like counseling was different though back then. Am I wrong?
Carrie Moore 9:45
Just in general, since I’m not one, I don’t want to take potshots at anybody. But I will tell you the thing that was most frustrating to me was that often with children, they believe that no one can understand them. They haven’t been through the same kind of thing. I mean, we didn’t find a counselor who had lost parents when they were kids. And all of my kids just looked at me and said, they don’t know what I’m going through. I have no clue. And they were right.
They really did not. I mean, they understand psychologically, some of the things that are happening, but kids really benefit by talking to people who’ve been through the same experience, because that loss is not like any other kind of loss. I mean, Katie, my youngest, was seven at the time, and she was in that stage where they’re still in the magical thinking thing, people can come alive again. He’s going to show up someday, she sat on the stairs inside my front door every afternoon after school for the first six months waiting for him to come back.
Hilary Erickson 10:46
Oh, did you know that’s what she was waiting to do?
Carrie Moore 10:49
Yes, waiting for okay. There’s also a ton of fear about whether the other parents going to die if I got home one minute late, or she would just go into an absolute panic. So I had to, if I was going to be late coming home from work, I had to call and make sure they knew that I, you know, I was leaving at this time and I should be home by this time and do not worry. I’m going to make it home. Yeah, that was hard. Well, that’s a lot of pressure for a mom. Yeah. Especially working on deadlines when sometimes you can’t leave a fight, you know, five o’clock, you’re there till six or you’re there till 6:30. Or you’re there to have the stories done. You know, that was that was tough.
Hilary Erickson 11:26
Well, and this was pre cellphone ish, right?
Carrie Moore 11:29
Hilary Erickson 11:30
Well, yeah. Yeah. Those were the good old days. just disappear.
Carrie Moore 11:35
But yeah, so there were a lot of things that that were difficult, and I wish I had been different, but I will say that the support system is key. And I really had a tremendous support system. I did not worry that my children were not being well cared for. I did worry about all the things they missed because I was not there to take them to soccer or dance or any of those apps. After School kinds of things that most kids get to do, I cannot rely on a friend who has six kids of her own to be carting my kids to all their sports and stuff. So there are a lot of things they missed out on. And I, I wish very much that I had been able to change them. Do you? Would you quit your job earlier? You think? I mean, you couldn’t really because of benefits, right?
Yes, we absolutely had to have insurance. And I would not have been able to insure Stephen anyplace else. I have to keep my job because he kept leukemia, so he was uninsurable if I left my job, right, that makes sense. So that’s what it is. Yeah. But there are plenty of moms out there who work who do after school stuff. Yes, yes. And then that’s true. It was just that was kind of the for them. It was kind of the bad frosting on the cake, because it’s like, this stinks anyway, and now we don’t get to do all the other stuff our friends are doing either. You know what I mean?
Hilary Erickson 12:51
Yeah, so that’s a bummer. Okay, so beyond parenting. I’ve done a post on creating a will or a trust. What would you recommend? For wives out there whose husbands are currently alive, I also have a post on how to kill your husbands. So there’s an option to, it’s actually on how not to kill your husband. I’ll put that in the show notes for everyone who’s not killing their husband right now, because we’re in quarantine while I record this Anyway, what kind of tips would you have for women to work on book, you know, to prepare for the inevitable?
Carrie Moore 13:20
I mean, husbands will die at some point, go get it done. I know it is. It is the least fun thing in the world. But I am telling you just this weekend, I’ve been working with a family where both parents were killed over the weekend, and three little kids under five don’t have parents. And parents were not old enough to feel like they needed any kind of oil or trust. It’s going to be a legal decision about who gets the kids in the state of Utah. There’s, I believe there’s an order of kind of, you know, ascendancy, but there’s some complicating factors.
So if you really think that something’s never going to happen to you, just know that you’re setting yourself up. Possibly setting your kids up for a really challenging life because it’s hard enough to lose both parents. But then if you end up with somebody that you did not necessarily know, that’s just a whole nother set of losses. Oh, yeah, that’s horrible.
Did Brad have a will? Yes. Did he have a trust? No, but he wouldn’t have either because it would all go to you anyway. Right, legally. So if you’re married, everything transfers to the spouse. So I in that sense, I did not have to worry about that piece monetarily or with my kids. But within two months, I went and created a trust because I was going to make sure somebody you know, they would go to the right place if something happened to me. Yeah. And people that are listening. It is not as hard as you imagine. It’s not fun, but it’s very doable, and they walk you through it. So yes, anything else he would recommend beyond the legal stuff?
Hilary Erickson 14:50
Yes, I would recommend that you make sure that your kids understand that they are still children and you are still a parent. I can’t tell you how many people came through the viewing with my husband laying there in the casket and my 12 year old son standing right next to me. And this is an older generational thing I get that. But so many of them looked at him and said, You’re the man of the house now. And as ridiculous as that sounds, that put a ton of pressure on him that I was not aware of, and never heard about until he was probably 18. But he really left that whole experience with the idea that he was going to have to go get a job and try to find out how to help me make a living so that we could keep our house
Wow, psychologically, that was a huge problem for him, and something that you just keep inside your head. Yes. And there are things that you should never say to people and most of them revolve around God’s role and why this happened. If you want to say anything about God, and why somebody died, say it to your spouse or somebody before you go into the church or into the funeral home. Do not say it to the people who have lost Someone because you don’t know what God has in mind or that he needed them more than your kids do or any of that.
That is simply a way to try to make the family feel better, but it ends up making them feel worse. That’s Yeah, and I think so many people. Yeah, it’s such a dumb thing to say, well, it’s one of the things and working with lots of people who are going through this, I don’t think there’s been a family who has come to the center who has not said, I’m so sick of people telling me that God needed and more than we do, almost everybody’s heard that. It’s frustrating. And it was this was God’s will and you just need to be okay with a grief creates for most people. Grief creates anger. And we have a hard time in our society and particularly in our religious culture, allowing people to feel angry at God, we don’t want to hear about it. You must not have enough face.
Don’t you know that God’s the person who’s going or god you know, God has the power that’s going to help you through this people who are who have it. Face Face know that already, you don’t need to tell them that. But they do have a right to be angry about what happened. So trying to talk them out of their anger is really harmful to a lot of people. Because sometimes we have people who say, I will never step foot in that church again, because people have decided why God let this happen to my family, and they don’t have a clue why this happened to my friend. No, I will say I feel like that’s more of a utopic. I don’t hear people saying that very much here. Yeah, very well, maybe. I don’t know.
Obviously, this is my home. So I live here. But the people that I deal with, without exception really have heard that. Yeah, I remember hearing it again. So Brad’s brother Randy died five years after? Yes. And I remember hearing people saying, oh, he needed both of them and me being so mad at the same thing. Like why would you come back again?
Right. And you know, my kids to try to get their heads around that my son especially who’d been through leukemia twice by the time he’s 12, and then he loses his dad. People are telling him well, you know, I guess God just need any more than you do. And Steve looking at me like, What the heck? Who has the right to tell me that God needs my dad more than I do? Yeah, that was tough. I think it’ll be interesting to know why people died later on, don’t you think?
Oh, yes, that’ll be fascinating for all of us. Yeah. But I, you know, I don’t spend a lot of time being angry about that anymore. But it was harmful to my children. And I see people who are really raw with grief going through it. So all right, that’s good advice for all of us. Keep that part of your mouth shut. Yeah. It’s just, you know, I am really so very sorry. What can I do not if there’s something I can do call me because I’ll never call you.
What can I do? I would like to do something. And if they don’t have anything for you to do, call them back in a couple of months and ask again, such good advice for all of us. Yeah. Okay. So you are a co owner, co runner. What are you have the Bradley center. I am the co founder and the director. Yeah. So tell us a little bit about the world. Center. The Bradley center for grieving children and families is named after my husband. It was founded in 2011.
And we provide grief support groups for children and families who’ve lost either a parent, a spouse or sibling, sometimes it’s grandparents, but it’s usually a nuclear family members. Yeah. And I love that. There’s really I don’t even see it here. I’ve talked to people about it. When we have stillborns and stuff. Nobody knows of anything like that here. So are there lots of places like that around the US?
Yes, there are a network of them across the United States, many of them modeled on a place in Portland called the Debye Center, which was the first children’s grief Support Center in the country. Ours is modeled on the doggie center, but we have added an interfaith component people who come to our center the God thing is a big deal for most families that we deal with. And if you don’t talk about that, it’s really not helpful to them because for many of them, it’s central to their lives, and often clinicians tend to shy away from that topic.
So they want to talk about, I’m angry at God. And I’m not going to talk to my religious leader. And I’m not going to talk to people in my congregation about that, because they just tell me I need to believe in God. And that’s going to be okay. Yeah, that’s hard. Yeah. Because that doesn’t solve anything, or help you get rid of your feelings. No.
Carrie Moore 20:16
Well, yeah, I mean, people need to be able to express how they feel. And a lot of them work through those feelings, but you can’t work through something you can’t talk about. Yeah, and I would guess most of the people that come to your center are members of the LDS faith. I say maybe 60% roughly the same percentage of the population is you know, we have a Latter Day Saints in the state of Utah. Yeah, but are most religious, the majority are why would say maybe 10% are not okay. But that, you know, we talked about that upfront.
This is a place where you can talk about that we’re not going to tell you what to believe or what to think or what to feel, but you get the opportunity to talk about it. So just know coming in. If you don’t have a belief system, other people will and they will be free to share what they think about them. Yeah, and the Bradley Center is a nonprofit, as are all of these, I will put the link to the Radley center in the show notes if you guys want to check it out. And is there a place where people could go to the network of grief centers if they’re not in Utah? Yes, the duggie Center in Portland has a list of grief support centers. The National Alliance for grieving children also has that same list. Yeah. So I will put all those links in the show notes, so you guys can check them out. Any of those websites will have that list of gracious workplaces across the country?
Yeah. Because it sounds like that’s amazing and so helpful. Because if you can help kids when they’re little you, yes. Right. So adults get them while other small and hopefully they don’t go to the addiction or the self harming piece because once that happens, people tend to go off the rails for a long, long time. Yeah, that’s rough. Well, Carrie, I have to say that as a 20 year old girl, I always thought you were amazing. through all of it. I watched you through young girl eyes and thought, Man, she just powers through That’s amazing. So Well, some of us put on a good face, though. Or maybe you’re amazing. Think about that. Well, maybe I had a lot of help. And both of them both from this side on the other side, I’m convinced of that.
Well, you deserve it. Well, thank you.
Hilary Erickson 22:18
Okay, guys, I hope you enjoyed that episode, I will definitely leave links to the Bradley center in the show notes. If anybody’s looking for a place to donate. That always sounds so silly. But if anybody also is looking for a place to help people in your life that are suffering through similar things, they really want to do that and they really want to be there for you for those things.
So definitely check it out. And if you’re not in Utah, that sounds like there’s a lot of other places you can check out as well. I want to thank Carrie for coming on. I was kind of nervous for this interview, because I’m kind of a fangirl, Honestly, I know. She says that she was weak, but she always looked real strong to me. So, so thankful that she came on and shared her story. It’s always interesting to look back, you know, on something that happened so long ago, I would be interested in having somebody on the show who has lost a spouse more recently.
But it’s also nice to see someone who’s come out of the other end is so successful and our kids are successful and it’s just nice to see that big thanks to our sponsor family routines. If you’re interested in getting your own routines with your family, it is the course for you. So definitely jump inside Be sure to use UNTANGLED for 15% off. If you like today’s episode, we’d love it if you would share, subscribe and review. We really appreciate it. We drop an episode every Monday and until then I hope you have a tangle free day!
Transcribed by https://otter.ai