Nowadays, the GPA question is common, especially for new grads. You can use 3.1 as your answer unless they specify they want something else. I agree with the other poster: leave it off of the resume and don't bring it up unless asked.
I'm sorry for your losses. What follows is in no way meant to belittle or trivialize what you went through and how you felt. But it's a reality you should keep in mind for your job hunt.
IMO, if you are asked about why your GPA is so low, keep the answer simple, such as "I was dealing with illness(es)/death(s) in my family at the time" and leave it at that. If they inquire further you could elaborate...but even then I'd be cautious in what you say and not get too detailed. Employers
are not interested in sob stories because a lot of people have one--or are quick to adopt one--to explain away subpar performances and try to attract sympathy in hiring. Employers are also not fans of TMI. So be honest but not too elaborate. You did endure a lot and didn't give up school through it all, which says a lot about your character and determination...however trying to parlay that alone into a job will more than likely fail. You need to show employers there is a lot more to you than just that.
About the recommendation from the dean...it definitely couldn't hurt. And I think employers expect that most of a new grad's recommendations/references for that first job are going to be from CI or nursing instructors.
Best of luck with the rest of nursing school and the job hunt!