Megan Elizabeth Griffin (Sterba) Reid died peacefully in her home on Whidbey Island, Wash., on March 1, 2021. We lost a beloved wife, mother, sister and friend. The universe gained a saint. Those of us who knew her, those of us whom she loved, remember her.
Megan’s life was one of joy, service, suffering, and sacrificial love. None of this was artificial. All of this was concrete and gritty and real. All of this was holy.
Megan lived with joy. She “was one of those people who had “light” around them.” One of her sisters remembers how “people always talked about our mom’s wonderful, shiny eyes, and Megan had that also … Megan had that shiny look in her eyes that always made me feel OK and that God was there with her.” She lived with the spontaneous joy of those who know they were made from love for love. She was known to drive up Whidbey Island with her sister in her MG, the two of them singing at the top of their lungs, with “the world’s worst voices.” Megan’s life was greatly enriched because of the love and long standing support of Cindy Sterba, her stepdaughter and her son Joey’s sister. Yes, Megan lived with genuine joy.
Her life was one of work and service. She ran the family restaurant on the Whidbey Island ferry dock. She then worked for many years as a dedicated and valued employee at QFC. She had a salad named for her, “Megan’s Salad,” that was displayed and sold at the QFC deli. Her friends recall with gratitude that they were always welcome in Megan’s home, greeted warmly, and more often than not, fed abundantly. One friend recalls that “Megan and Ray were my first Whidbey family. They opened their home to me every holiday as I was a Washington State Ferries worker orphan who worked all holidays and weekends.”
Megan knew suffering. In November 2003 she fell and suffered a terrible, disabling head injury. She lay in a coma for weeks. Her family and friends kept vigil over her day and night and celebrated with the greatest joy when she awoke and returned to them. She struggled through months of tedious and strenuous rehabilitation, and suffered a stroke that left her paralyzed on the right side. She never uttered a word of complaint. She bore her suffering for the remainder of her life with exquisite dignity and grace.
Her life was one of self giving, sacrificial love.
She and Ray were married in August 2005, two years after Megan’s injury. She loved Ray unconditionally. She loved her son Joe unconditionally. Ray reflected that she “started her angel work here on earth. She could make a room of gloom into a bright, beautiful thing. She knew and understood peoples’ negativity and depression, and needing help and advice she would nurture all of us, and she loved us all.” One sister remembers well Megan’s life-long care for her and is certain that, even now, she watches over her.
Ray would know something of all of this. His marriage with Megan was a profound example and daily expression of the most beautiful reality of self-giving love. Every day of their 16-year marriage Ray attended generously and lovingly to those needs of Megan that she simply could not manage herself. As the two of them gifted themselves to each other, they taught us all the genuine meaning of what love is. Someone once said “greater love than this no man has than that he lay down his life for his friend.” There is no better description of Ray’s care for Megan and their reciprocal love for each other.
Megan’s brother Joe said it well:
“I have many memories but one I always go back to from the time I believe, say, 4 or 5 years old. We would go on walks in Everett. Oftentimes I would fall behind, my little legs at the time not keeping up, and Megan would always fall back to grab my hand and help me along back up with the group. And with doing that instilled in me the belief that no one gets left behind as she always lived by that belief her entire life.”
All were welcome
Everyone was fed
Everyone was loved
No one gets left behind.
So we remember Megan and close with the poet’s words:
“Don’t tell me saints are only those that sit in cloisters.
Saints love God.
And because they do
They love the rest of us
Megan is survived by her loving husband Ray, son Joey, stepchildren, sisters and brothers, and Ray’s sisters and brother.