Grief and Marriage

A relationship defined by loss

Kellyn Shoecraft
13 min readJul 5, 2020
Wedding day | Photo courtesy of the author

My husband, Nate, and I started “courting” in the fall of 2003. I choose that term because it’s the only one I can think of to accurately describe the bizarre song and dance of our early affection.

This confusing period lasted from the day I noticed our AIM conversations had suddenly turned flirtatious (late August 2003), until we became “official” (late April 2004). Despite many months of obvious interest, the transition to boyfriend/girlfriend was fuzzy. One day I worked up the nerve to ask Nate if he would be my boyfriend and he responded with confusion, “Oh, I thought I already was…”

This long, bewildering period was partly due to the fact that I was terribly awkward, inexperienced in romance, and lacking self-confidence. Meanwhile, my partner in crime wasn’t particularly forward, was purposefully avoiding a new relationship after the relatively recent break up with a long-term girlfriend, and had a hell-of-a-time reading my mixed signals. To add a little spice to this sultry mix, my dad was dying.

Anticipatory Grief

My life at that time was dominated by anticipatory grief. I had been readying myself for my dad’s death since childhood. The ultra-smart doctors at Mt. Sinai and other fancy New York hospitals struggled to categorize my dad’s…



Kellyn Shoecraft

Navigating sibling & parent loss and trying to change the way people support each other in grief. Founder at