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How to Support the Grieving: Megan Devine – Love Your Work, Episode 223
Megan Devine (@refugeingrief) is the author of It’s OK That You’re Not OK, and runs the Writing Your Grief workshop. It wasn’t until Megan, a therapist, experienced grief herself that she discovered how we as a culture utterly fail to support the grieving.
As loyal listeners know, I experienced a tragedy several months ago. My healthy, active, 69-year-old mother died suddenly. An abnormal blood vessel – which she was born with, but didn’t know she had – burst in her brain.
I lost my grandparents long ago, but losing my mother was by far my most profound experience with grief. For the first time, I found myself on the receiving end of attempts to acknowledge my own deep state of grief.
Some attempts – which you’ll hear in today’s conversation – made me feel supported. Other attempts – which you’ll also hear – not so much.
I also went to some grief support groups with my father, and was shocked at what I discovered: It was like a hidden underworld of grief. People who lost someone six months ago, or six years ago – all in pain, all struggling to feel supported by friends, coworkers, or even family.
It helped me realize how poorly I, myself, had handled other people’s grief. Which is okay. Grief is by definition impossible. But we can always do better.
If we’re going to love our work, we have to be kind to one another. And part of being kind is supporting others when they’re hurting.
In this conversation, you’ll learn:
- What are the top things to never say when trying to support the grieving? The list could get impossibly long, so Megan will share a quick shortcut.
- You may have heard of five stages of grief. I won’t bother listing them, because these stages are horribly misunderstood. Learn why thinking of grief according to stages just makes things worse.
- The #1 thing that’s broken about how we respond to grief is that we treat it like a problem to be fixed. There’s one simple mindset shift that can help us do better.
Chances are, you’ve had grieving people in your life. If you haven’t, you most certainly will. Now is the time to build these skills, so let’s get started.
Photo Credit: Stephanie Zito
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Theme music: Dorena “At Sea”, from the album About Everything And More. By Arrangement with Deep Elm Records. Listen on Spotify »
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