Remembrance Day is a good time to ponder loss and grief and to explore our own response to the inevitable pain that accompanies the often difficult realities of life.

Megan Devine knows something about loss and grief.

In 2009 she witnessed the accidental drowning of her partner Matt. In response, Megan has acquired deep wisdom for supporting people in grief. She is licensed as a professional counselor in Oregon and is a member of the Association for Death Education and Counseling, the North West Association for Death Education and Bereavement Support, and the American Counseling Association.

Her website is worth exploring. Here are a few excerpts from her blog that give a flavour of the direction Megan Devine heads in living with loss and grief and supporting people in pain:


People have died, and we miss them. People have died, and we need to remember who they were, where they were, why they died. 

Whether we agree with the “why,” the facts still remain. Someone died. And they left behind people like us, people like you: people with broken hearts, shattered lives, and empty spaces that cannot ever be filled.


In the first few months after Matt died, someone told me I would “do better” if I just turned away from the hole in my life. And as nicely as I could, which probably wasn’t very nicely at all, I told them that the hole was my life; that I needed to find ways to stay with it, to stay beside that gaping hole, to find ways to stay present with it and not just skip over it.

Being allowed to tend to your grief, without feeling like you need to fix it or clean it up, makes grief, itself, easier.


As many of you have experienced first hand, our culture doesn’t know how to “do” grief. We have this over-arching idea that grief is a problem that needs to be solved, therefore all our attempts to “help” are about getting someone out of their grief.

Unfortunately, when you try to take someone’s grief away, you don’t make it better. You just let them know how uncomfortable you are with their pain.

When you try to take someone’s grief away from them, you just make them feel misunderstood and alone.


We have a faulty understanding of grief in our culture. From the ways our professionals are taught, right down through the average friend or family member, most people have no idea what to do in the face of a loss like yours.

What people usually do is jump into helper mode, trying to fix things for you. But especially in that immediate state of shock –  the place you’re in when the world has turned upside down and you’re not even sure what the heck just happened – you don’t need someone to “fix” you. You can’t even register what they’re saying. Nothing makes sense.


I think we often believe that love, or healing, is the absence of pain. Some mythical medicine that removes all pain. That has never been love’s role. Love, companionship, acknowledgment – these things come up beside you, and beneath you, to support you in your pain, not to take it away.

While what has happened to us will never be okay, the truth is, in the end, and eventually, we will all be okay. Not healed, not “normal,” but okay. The love we build together in this life is the raft that supports us. The entire universe can crumble (and it does), and love will never leave.

Reach out, my loves. Reach out to each other with love, be the raft that supports and the hand that holds. It won’t make anything okay. And – always “and,” never “but” – love is the only thing that lasts.