Today is Grief Awareness Day.

Over the weekend was Rainbow Bridge Remembrance Day.

Maybe this is me being tired and cranky; I have no love for either of these. I think in the long run, marking one day as especially significant to grievers further supports the idea that Grief is best as a limited engagement.

I know that's not true.

Grief and remembrance are as expansive as I will allow them to be. They are vast and mighty, and as terrifying as it is to think of giving them more room to move around, they are capable of so much good that way.

They ground me. As much as I sometimes feel untethered after the death of someone I love dearly, encouraging myself to grieve and remember that someone keeps me connected.

I used to wait for these special kinds of socially acceptable days to let it all wash over me. The birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays along with these designated "Grief-friendly" days. Grief had so much for me to do on those days that I was overcome and felt like it was a mistake to open myself to any of it. So I shut her out. I believed that she was a liability and I was better off without her.

By the way, Grief is a friend of mine and her name is Deirdre, so I refer to her as "she." In my world, she is as distinct and individual as any other being in my life and I treat our relationship (and her) accordingly.

Over the years I've come to welcome Grief into my life. She is unexpectedly gorgeous and nurturing. I used to believe she was out to ruin me and my life; now I understand that she comes so that I can maintain my connection with those I love, including the parts of me I have lost along the way. When I turn toward her and take in what she has for me on a regular basis, I find that the life I build up again incorporates her needs and is stronger and more flexible. She is my special sauce, and because of her I have an appreciation for life and mortality that I couldn't fathom years ago.

It used to be that courageous for me was keeping Grief at bay and minimizing remembrances. Today I am courageous and open with others because Grief fortifies me. I know that everyone I have ever loved (and will always love) is a part of who I am in this moment. How could I be anything other than courageous with such an army of support?

I believe Grief is something we need to learn about, and we all start somewhere. So an awareness day isn't the enemy, for sure, although sometimes it feels like a check mark kind of thing so people can get on with it.

I believe Grief requires community for nourishment to happen.

I believe griefy nourishment is among the best that life has to offer. It's not about growth and I don't believe that pressuring people to growth through Grief does any good. The nourishment comes from the support and shared vulnerability - it's not about learning lessons or becoming more resilient.

I believe Grief is a lifetime of love, and now that I've discovered this for myself I won't have it any other way.