• Family children of DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley Hale run in field
    Holidays

    Old Places, New Meanings

    There is a farm where the earth is flat and the grass is brown this time of year, but the fireplace is so warm that it’s hard to stay awake next to it. Up above, the birds fly in large flocks, and even when I’m out on a long run, I can see the house in the distance, glowing. The house is old and creaky, with pipes that mostly work and bookshelves that hold generations of memories. It is a place where you can curl up with a blanket all afternoon, just like we both have done over the years. It is a place that I have loved for many…

  • Thanksgiving food for blog by DC widow writer Marjorie Brimley
    Holidays

    The Top 5 Reasons Thanksgiving Can Really Blow for Widows

    For years and years, whenever anyone would ask me what my favorite holiday was, I’d reply, “Thanksgiving!” It’s true. I’ve always loved gathering with family and friends, cooking all day and staying up late telling stories. In fact, for much of the first decade of our marriage, Shawn and I hosted Thanksgiving at our house every year. Usually we had at least 25 people, and sometimes many more. It was always one of my favorite days of the year. Even once we pared down our celebration and sometimes traveled to be with family and friends, it was still the holiday that I looked forward to more than any other. But…

  • Bouquet of flowers for DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley Hale
    Family & Friends

    Bring Meatballs

    He brought meatballs. It was 2017 and it was freezing that evening in December when my neighbor Mark showed up at the side door, a steaming bowl of meatballs in his arms. It was enough to feed twenty people, and though it was almost comical how much food he’d brought, I didn’t laugh at the quantity. I appreciated it. Shawn was so sick that I didn’t really know what else to do besides accept everything that came my way. And the meatballs were so good, so filling, so hot and so full of love. I was really appreciative, but I didn’t write him a thank-you card. It was okay. I…

  • Claire Brimley and cousin at concert with DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley Hale
    New Perspectives

    Feeling Bad That It Doesn’t Feel Bad

    Three years is a strange marker in the widow world. The first year of widowhood is just about survival. It’s about figuring out how to get up every day, how to grieve and still pay the bills, how to put one foot in front of the other when you’re so tired you can’t even really think. It’s about making it through to the end of the day. Or at least it was for me. The second year feels easier for some people, and harder for others. It’s when the day-to-day life gets more manageable, and yet the intensity of the loss is still there. My second year, I had a…

  • Family of DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley Hale walks in woods
    Missing Shawn

    I Am Happy, Like You Wanted

    My school is a place where we celebrate everything. Christmas, Diwali, Passover….you name it. I love that we celebrate all of the many wonderful traditions that students do at home. This year, a teacher from my department decided that we should do a Day of the Dead altar, something from his culture. He invited us all to participate by bringing a framed photo of a dead loved one, as well as an object that person loved. The display was covered in orange flowers and slowly a few photos appeared. After a few days, I decided I wanted to add my own photo, so I went back to my desk to…

  • Empty garage for blog by DC widow writer Marjorie Brimley Hale
    Missing Shawn

    Totes in the Garage

    I love spring cleaning. I love getting rid of things I don’t need, wiping down the surfaces of stuff that’s been in storage for the winter, organizing and using my label maker. I’m that girl. I love it so much that I also do a fall clean-out. And sometimes I even add a winter cleaning. But being a widow makes this process more complicated. I’ve always been a person who gets rid of everything I don’t need, and everyone knows this about me. In fact, my kids are so aware of this part of my personality that they’ll frequently give me something (a toy from a birthday party or a…