It’s Okay That You’re Not Okay

The book with this title by Megan Devine is about meeting grief and loss in a culture that doesn’t understand. She writes:

Most of what passes for grief support these days is less than useful. Because we don’t talk about loss, most people—and many professionals—think of grief and loss as aberrations, detours from a normal, happy life.

We believe that the goal of grief support, personal or professional, is to get out of grief, to stop feeling pain. Grief is something to get through as quickly as possible. An unfortunate, but fleeting, experience that is best sorted and put behind you.

It’s that faulty belief that leaves so many grieving people feeling alone and abandoned on top of their grief. There’s so much correction and judgment inside grief; many feel it’s just easier to not talk about what hurts. Because we don’t talk about the reality of loss, many grieving people think that what’s happening to them is strange, or weird, or wrong.

There is nothing wrong with grief. It’s a natural extension of love. It’s a healthy and sane response to loss. That grief feels bad doesn’t make it bad; that you feel crazy doesn’t mean you are crazy.

Grief is part of love. Love for life, love for self, love for others. What you are living, painful as it is, is love. And love is really hard. Excruciating at times.

If you’re going to feel this experience as part of love, we need to start talking about it in real terms, not as pathology, and not with some false hope of everything working out alright in the end.

You are not “OK.” You might not ever be “OK.”

Whatever grief you’re carrying, it’s important to acknowledge how bad this is, how hard. It really is horrendous, horrifying, and unsurvivable.

This book is not about fixing you, or fixing your grief. It’s not about making you “better” or getting you back to “normal.” This book is about how you live inside your loss. How you carry what cannot be fixed. How you survive.

And even though that thought—that you can survive something as horrifying as this—is unsettling and horrifying in its own right, the truth is, you will most likely survive.

Your survival in this life post-loss won’t follow steps or stages, or align with anyone else’s vision of what life might be for you. Survival won’t be found, can’t be found, in easy answers or in putting your lost life behind you, pretending you didn’t really want it anyway.

In order to survive, to find that life that feels authentic and true to you, we have to start with telling the truth. This really is as bad as you think. Everything really is as wrong, and as bizarre, as you know it to be. When we start there, we can begin to talk about living with grief, living inside the love that remains.

It’s OK That You’re Not OK is a book for grieving people, those who love them, and all those seeking to love themselves―and each other―better. It can be borrowed from the Vancouver Island Regional Library.