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It's Ok That You're Not Ok: Meeting Grief and Loss in a Culture That Doesn't Understand

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From media-portrayal, to work-place regulations around allowed leave-of-absence after the passing of a loved one, to the way we inadvertently phrase our condolences and consolidations. Megan Devine shows us that rather than treat grief as an illness to recover from, we can approach it with warmth and understanding. Get the best-selling book on grief in over a decade, It’s Ok that You’re Not OK, wherever you get books. This was a helpful and comforting book in many ways, but I have to admit I was really offended by Devine’s grief hierarchy in the beginning.

Through "It's OK That You're Not OK," I learned concepts for living with the death of my daughter and how to build "a life around the edges of what will always be a vacancy.Too often, it is a case of ‘me, me, me (not just the author, but also a quote from a third party, including participants to her grief writing course),’ when a single ‘me’ would suffice to highlight the more generic points she wants to make. Megan Devine addresses this societal norm that offers no time, space or understanding for grief, and the way that norm is present in the day-to-day lives of someone dealing with a loss. I also appreciate that this book has a LOT of advice for people who are supporting a grieving person. Going through my own experiences with multiple dimensions of grief, I’ve heard almost every well-meant but unhelpful, offensive, and out-of-touch remark. A great book I would recommend to those who are in the process of grieving, want to support a loved one who’s grieving, or who desire to learn more about grief overall.

b) The beauty of the life that a grieving person can eventually settle into, by integrating, rather than forgetting, the devastation experienced. I didn't want to read a grief book, I didn't want to read that things happen for a reason, that God has a plan. It's not an easy read -- it acknowledges and touches all the sore spots, very gently, but they're still sensitive, and I found myself crying a lot -- but that acknowledgement and understanding flow off every page like a soft, warm blanket. Devine draws upon her own experience of grief and her work with clients and community members to emphasize how instead of trying to reduce or end the painful emotions related to grief, we can work to honor and make space for those emotions instead. Still, I’m glad that Devine’s book may shift or expand how we talk about grief, to promote more compassion and emotional awareness.At one point, she quotes a third party who asserts that our ‘only choice’ is to ‘become larger and more courageous and more compassionate. Furthermore, she states that unacknowledged pain results in a distinct lack of empathy for people with opposing views. She also offers practical suggestions related to coping with stress and anxiety that may stem from grief. Seeing Megan Devine writing these misconceptions out and breaking them down so succinctly was powerful today, but would’ve made a world of difference had I had this book at the time. There was far too much emphasis on how your friends, family etc get it wrong, eg, saying the wrong things, avoidance, tactlessness etc.

Gabor Maté is a renowned speaker and author, with expertise in trauma, stress, addiction, and child development.

Most people in grief do realize that others are trying to show they care when they say these things. In this special two-part episode, we face the new year together - with special guest, historian, author, and queen of awkward conversations, Kate Bowler. From the early death of a parent, to men’s emotional health, to violence against Black men and boys, to the healing power of play and community, this week’s episode is a fascinating discussion of both grief and celebration - and why you don’t get one without the other.

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