It's OK That You're Not OK: Meeting Grief and Loss in a Culture That Doesn't Understand
Grief is something that our society does not manage well. We don’t know how to support people who have experienced loss. A quick perusal of the sympathy card section in your local drug store makes this obvious. The platitudes are only outdone in uselessness and offense by the meaningless strings of words that card writers are able to put together. There must be something we can do to improve how we grieve and how we support those who are crushed by loss.
Meghan Devine, a therapist, who’s life partner died tragically at a young age, discovered the hard way that the current prescription our society offers for grief is painful and isolating for members who have had loved one ripped from their lives. She realized that what she knew about grief, that which she had been talking with patients about, was completely erroneous. So she took it upon herself to change how we as a society address loss. Her book, It's OK That You're Not OK, presents a powerful approach to loss and is chock full of examples and advice on how to manage one’s own grief (hint, it can’t be managed the way you think) and how to support those who are experiencing the torture of loss of a loved one. The main point that Devine hammers home, is that grief is not something to be solved and gotten through, rather it is something that changes over time, but never goes away, because the loss does not go away.
This book is a revelation and should be read by every person who experiences loss and every person who wants to support a friend or loved one who is in the midst of grief. This book should be offered as a text for a class in middle school or high school. Every student should read this and discuss it. We train our kids for practically every life eventuality, except for the one thing that we know we will all encounter. We should prepare our children to handle grief and come to the aid of people they care about when those people experience loss. Adults of any age should also take the time to read this book and understand that grief is not something that can be solved, rushed along, or ignored. It must be addressed with real compassion, deep understanding, and great bravery.