Another Dating Blog: Grief-Riddled Wedding Brain

The Author

I am a native Texan, cradle Catholic, and lover of live music and all things chocolate. I graduated with my MA in Marriage, Couple and Family Counseling from Texas State University, and am currently a Catholic counselor. I love writing, and have been in love with it since the 3rd grade when I wrote a response to 'The Polar Express'. Ever since that day I have been writing about what I see, trying to make sense of myself and the world I live in.

I don’t even know how to describe the state I’m in right now. I want to cry and/or throw stuff and/or scream and/or burrow beneath my blankets and hide for awhile. I want people around me and/or I want to be alone. I want to plan my wedding and/or I never want to see another wedding Pin for the rest of my life. Up and down, down and up. It’s dizzying and completely nonsensical. Being the therapist that I am, I find myself labeling this state as “possibly bipolar” or “inching on borderline”. When really, there’s only one label that fits:


I hate grief. It is unpredictable and isolating. It is nauseating and heavy. It makes you push people away when you really want to cling to them like bark on a tree. It makes you rethink the whole world and life and death and souls and all that other existential stuff you try so hard not to ever think about because, oh yeah, it’s DEPRESSING. It makes me scared, no, terrified to live life fully, because what if I lose more people or die myself or go crazy or get a terminal illness or someone gets in another accident or a tornado hits or a volcano erupts or, or, or…

Cue the ensuing panic. I convince myself I can’t possible bear any more loss.

I am worn out from my groaning. All night long I flood my bed with weeping and drench my couch with tears. My eyes grow weak with sorrow. – Psalm 6:6-7

Then I hear God’s voice, “Do you really trust me so little?”

Sigh. You see God, it’s not that I don’t trust you, it’s that I don’t trust me. I’m the weak link in this equation. I’m the one not strong enough, brave enough, or holy enough, to handle all of the sad you dropped into my life. You tossed one too many balls into my already shaky juggling act, and I’m just one depressing-news-story away from screwing up and dropping everything.

And now I’m panicking again.

It really makes me long for numbness, for the emotional wasteland I curl into when I’m all emotioned-out. Sometimes it feels good to be here, not feeling anything. But I don’t feel God here, and it makes me push away my fiance and close friends. I block them out and trudge on with wedding planning, as if it’s an event I have no emotional connection to. Here I can shun ALL of my emotional tasks, and conserve the little energy I have left on putting myself together again. Alone.

But that’s the irony – I can’t put myself together alone, when I’m not even the one who put me together in the first place. I’d have no idea where to start.

For it was you who formed my inward parts; you knit me together in my mother’s womb… My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes beheld my unformed substance. In your book were written all the days that were formed for me, when none of them as yet existed. – Psalm 139:13-16

But my future husband knows. Which is why he put away all of our wedding planning chores last night, and read Psalms to me instead. He knew what I had forgotten – that only God can put me back together, and he can only do that if I let Him. It’s kinda like saying, “You know I’m REALLY thirsty, but don’t feel up to opening my mouth and using my throat muscles, so maybe if you could just pour water over my head, I might absorb some through osmosis.” Yeah, not happening.

It’s much the same way with God. I keep trying to trudge on with the wedding stuff, my wedding brain and grief brain battling it out for mental space, and think that I’ll just shut everyone out and get it done. All the while I’m telling God, “Hey, this sucks, so can you wave your arms around and fix me while I stay all closed so I can finish editing my wedding website? I don’t really feel like opening up and being all vulnerable and in pain while you heal me with your love rays or whatnot.” Besides being offended by my use of “love rays”, I’m sure God would also shake his head sadly, knowing he’s not going to force his love upon me. I know God can do whatever he wants, but being Love Itself, he respects my freedom and waits patiently for me to open up to his gift of grace.

Which is what my fiance helped me to do last night: to gently face the hard feelings, to sit quietly in God’s space, and allow for His love to start to fill in the cracks of my heart. It wasn’t a walk in the park, but it was much easier to do when I let someone in to help me.

Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted. Relieve the troubles of my heart and free me from my anguish. Look on my affliction and my distress and take away all my sins. – Psalm 25: 16-18

As for the wedding stuff, it can certainly take a backseat. As relentless and obsessive as my wedding brain is, I have to shut it up to make room for the hard emotions that need to be felt and understood. Not only that, but I need to set it aside so I can nurture the emotional relationship with my fiance through all of this. Then maybe, once I hand over my grief into God’s trusting hands, I can begin to heal.

I love you, Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. – Psalm 18:1-2

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  • Trenton Henrichson

    Thank you Britt for sharing. Your writing is always a gift, but we should appreciate it even more so in a time when it is difficult to open up and when the emotions are still very present. God has brought forth a powerful testimony thought your grief. If their is anything your brothers and sisters in Christ can do to help you process let us know. Otherwise I just hope you know we love you and we’re praying for you.

    • Britt Holan

      Thank you for your heartfelt words, Trenton. I really and truly appreciate your feedback and support. It means a lot to me!

  • Love Nana

    Brittany, I was reading my life right now. Putting the wedding plans aside for me, I feel like I’m walking in your shoes. I try to ask God to help me, but it doesn’t always work out……………tears….sorry. I’ve shed many tears, and sometimes they won’t stop…..tears……..I’m sure Tim is there for you, as Papa is there for me. It takes time to grieve, but I feel it’s taking too long. I have a lot of Patience, but I probably need more.
    Hang in there. Remember it’s only temporary, but, it’s o long temporary in this situation.
    Love you and Tim.

    • Britt Holan

      Nana, I love you so so much! Grief has its own agenda, doesn’t it? We just have to ride the wave sometimes, and it feels terrible. You are such a strong, courageous, loving mother – you inspire me constantly, and I hate that you suffer so. I love you and Papa so much – I pray for you always. It will never be the same, but it won’t always be this hard. One day at a time, and if necessary, 1 hour at a time. Love you!!

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