• Inflatable Santa in the yard of DC widow Marjorie Brimley

    Decorating for Christmas

    My front yard looks like something out of one of those bad Christmas movies.  I’m serious.  There are lights randomly strewn about, two fake deer, a dozen solar-powered candy canes and two massive inflatable figures – a snowman and a Santa.  I bought none of this stuff – it was all Shawn. Last year, he set it all up even though he was in the emergency room less than 24 hours later.  I know he worried that I wouldn’t be able to figure out the wiring system he used, and he had very specific ideas about how the lights should look.  When I think back on it, I remember him…

  • Shawn Brimley and his son Austin dressed up as Santa in the house of DC widow Marjorie Brimley

    Santa Shawn

    I can’t actually remember why we decided to throw our first Christmas party, but I do remember this: Shawn was adamant that he was going to dress up like Santa for it.  He spent hours scouring the internet for the perfect outfit and he even bought new shoes and tiny fake eyeglasses.  He tried on the outfit before the party and decided that his dark eyebrows gave him away, so he went to the drugstore and bought a white makeup pencil which he used to color in his eyebrows. He took it all very seriously.  “You know the kids are TWO,” I told him, “so you don’t have to do all this. …

  • Marjorie Brimley DC widow stands in field in the fall
    New Perspectives


    “You are so strong.” The woman – the one who I barely know – looks at me with sorrow in her eyes. “You are amazing,” she says. “I think just about anyone else who had to face such loss would not do nearly as well as you have.” I thank her, and we part. I know she meant well, so I don’t think much of it. Also, I hear something like this at least a few times a week, so I’m used to it. I know everyone wants to be encouraging and maybe the people who tell me I am strong are actually impressed with my ability to keep it…