Am I weird or is grief weird?  Help me decide: Last night, I spent some time with my girlfriend Jenny. Finally. Many years ago she also lost her mother, so when I saw her, it was like medicine to the dying. I exhaled and relaxed as she walked up to me. I didn’t realize I had been holding my breath, waiting to wrap my arms around this woman who I knew would know precisely how I feel. No explanation needed. No “how have you been doing since your mother died/it must be so hard blah blah shit.” She brought me two books she’d thoughtfully selected: a collection of Emily Dickinson poems and a small, cute book called “Grief Is The Thing With Feathers.” As she placed them in my hand and explained how the woman at the bookstore had suggested she buy them both because they compliment each other, I cried. A month and a half of withheld emotions tumbled out of me. I knew with her it was safe to let myself melt. Of course she held me. Of course she took her finger and wiped each tear. Of course she kissed my face three times. Of course she knows. Cancer stole her mom, too. Of course. The weird thing is, lots of my close girlfriends have been reaching for me since Mama died on June 10th. I’ve been hugged more in these last weeks than I have all year. I am hugely grateful. But last night, warm in Jen’s arms, it dawned on me that I haven’t allowed anyone to soothe me like Jenny did. I’ve kept the origami of my heart folded tight, permitting only my friend’s hands to unwrap me. Softly, I wept right there in the beer garden in northeast DC. (Not that the venue matters; I just didn’t want you to think we were some place conducive to long hugs and salty kisses). And no, Jen wasn’t drunk. She’s just not afraid to touch me and I am not afraid to let her. So, I ask you: is grief weird with its pickiness, its dos and don’ts, or am I being a snotty, little grief bitch? Should I allow myself to be loved and comforted no matter the time, place or person, or should I act like the prettiest girl at the ball who only grants the prince a dance? When we are floating in grief, should we grab the closest life raft or wait for the perfect ship? Use the paper plate of shallow consolation or the fine china of sincere and empathetic compassion? At the end of the evening, I didn’t want Jenny to leave. I thought about running behind her like the family dog chasing the station wagon pulling out of the driveway. I wondered when I would see her again. I made her sign the books she’d gifted me so a part of her could drip from each page. She hugged me one last, good time and we parted. I sigh and brood as I share this with you knowing I’ll probably “save myself” and my real feelings for Jenny’s next visit. I’ll cry and she’ll catch my tears on her fingertips, intent on loving this sobbing husk of a woman. Again.  
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