Remember, It’s OK: Marina Reed

By Marina Reed

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

I love thee to the depth and breadth and height

My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight

For the ends of being and ideal grace.

I love thee to the level of every day’s

Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.

I love thee freely, as men strive for right.

I love thee purely, as they turn from praise.

I love thee with the passion put to use

In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.

I love thee with a love I seemed to lose

With my lost saints. I love thee with the breath,

Smiles, tears, of all my life; and, if God choose,

I shall but love thee better after death.

(Elizabeth Barrett Browning 1806-1861)


I don’t think I loved my husband better after death, but I certainly didn’t love him less. I counted the ways I loved him every day because we had a unique and special love. One that lifted me up, one that allowed me to find my best self, one that was quiet and sweet, and powerful and exciting.

The world got very quiet and solitary for me after Luke died. Very suddenly. No warning at all. One minute we were planning his birthday (he would have been 55) lunch the following weekend, the next he was on the ground and not breathing. That was ten years ago this October 2024: it often feels like yesterday.

In that first year after his death, there was unbelievable pain, darkness and sadness. And I was no help to my son, who had witnessed Luke’s death. I wish I could have been there more for him and his agony, but I could barely contain my own.

Being a reader and a writer, the first thing I did was search for that book that would support and help me. But every single book I opened was filled with words… hundreds and hundreds of words and I just could not read all those words telling me what to do. So I didn’t. And that started my isolation.

As I was gasping for air, a remarkable woman stepped into my circle. She was gentle and wise and kind and patient. She asked nothing of me, she only offered if I asked, and she waited, watched and was there for me. She softly helped me shift my perspective away from the gaping dark hole that confronted me. She was my angel. Marian Grace Boyd.

In time, as I began to see outside the shadows of my grief, Marian and I began to talk about how so many are alone with their loss. Marian was a grief therapist (I did not know that at the time). I am a writer and educator. And together, we agreed to collaborate on creating a new paradigm to help others with their grief. The Remember, It’s OK series was born. One of the first things we discussed was that we didn’t want lots of words on each page, and we weren’t going to tell people what to do. Instead, we would validate and support them. The words we wrote, from interviews and research, are written in first person so it is like reading your own diary entry. And what follows each journal entry are words from a support person, guiding you, validating you, holding your hope until you can hold your own.

These moments, as we call them, are divided amongst colours: red, orange, yellow, green, turquoise, pale blue. Your grief journey is full of these colours, which gives you a way to feel it, not just think about it. These colours allow for movement forward, steps back, steps sideways, and more forward again. The journey or dance of grief is not linear as the famous stages would have us believe. We do not finish one stage and move onto the next, we weave in and out of our feelings and emotions and love and joy and pain constantly. We just get better at knowing our ‘right now’ will shift and change.

I spoke at a conference last summer for those who had lost spouses in the line of duty. There was so much to take away from that experience, but one moment stood out for me. There was a table in the lunch hall, full of press-on tattoos. As I was standing there, looking at the selection, one of the teenagers from a workshop I had just given came and stood beside me. He pointed to a tattoo that said Life is Now. “Look Marina,” he said, “It’s like you were saying to us this morning, right now, we have right now. Where are we right now.” Right now. It’s what Marian always says; where are we right now. So I had that press-on tattoo put onto my left forearm. And a month later, I had a permanent ink tattoo put in the same place.

Life is now. Our pain pops up from our memories. We miss and regret and long for the person we loved and lost. But life in now. What are we going to do with that? We do have choices.

You can benefit from our books at any time in your journey. We wrote a book for each loss:

  • Remember, It’s OK: Loss of a Partner
  • Remember, It’s OK: Loss of a Parent
  • Remember, It’s OK: Loss of a Friend/Sibling
  • Remember, It’s OK: Loss of a Pet
  • Remember, It’s OK: Loss of a Child
  • Remember, It’s OK: Loss for Teens (this one is for youth 13-24 and deals with a range of losses. It is different from the other books in content, but the same colours and format).

We are complex beings, made for love and connection. I encourage all of you to be compassionate with yourselves as you navigate your grief journey, finding joy and fulfillment anew and weathering the storms that gather. Life is Now. Grab it as best you can. Namaste.

For more information about Marina, you can check out her website.


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