• Restaurant similar to that frequented by DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley
    What Not to Say

    Where’s Your Husband?

    You can get the best huevos rancheros in Austin, Texas.  Though I’m not a native-born Texan, I’ve spent big chunks of my life with my family in this great town.  So when I get the chance for a meal out, I do it.  A few days ago, on a weekend downtown by myself, I wandered into a restaurant specializing in Oaxacan cuisine and asked the waiter what he recommended for my brunch.  His answer:  huevos rancheros. We got to chatting after that.  I asked him about how they make their amazing sauces, and he told me more about the history of the restaurant.  Then, as conversations sometimes do, we turned…

  • DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley hugs daughter Claire in church

    “Are You Going To Die?”

    “Are you going to die?” Claire asked me.  Her voice was strained.  She sat next to me on the couch and gripped me like she was three years old. “What?  Of course not!” I said.  “I’m going to visit Aunt Lindsay and Uncle Sean and their new baby.  Babies can’t hurt anyone!” “I mean on the plane,” she said.  “Are you going to die on the plane?” “No,” I said, emphatically.  “Planes are really safe.  They are safer than cars, actually.  I’ll be fine.” She did not look convinced, and kept clutching me.  She probably asked me a half-dozen more times if I was going to die.  Each time I…

  • Shawn and Marjorie Brimley, writer of DC widow blog, after their wedding
    Missing Shawn

    The Look of Real Love

    Since becoming a widow, I’ve started to study other people’s relationships. I didn’t start doing this on purpose, and for many months after Shawn died, I didn’t really notice other people. But then I started to look out. I began to watch my friends and acquaintances for clues as to how I was going to navigate the world without my husband. I did a lot more observing than I’d ever done before. The other day, I met up with a new friend and although we’ve known each other professionally for a while now, I don’t know much about his personal life. I hadn’t seen him in a few months and…

  • Children of DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley play in the sea with boats nearby
    What Not to Say

    The View in Portofino

    Over by the docks was a little spot where I saw someone soaking their feet.  “Let’s play in the water, kids!” I said. Claire opted to stay back in the main square to chat with a new friend, so I brought the boys down to the water.  They took off their socks and shoes and joyously splashed around.  I snapped a few photos and then went to sit on a bench.  I watched them cautiously at first, but then relaxed a bit.  Wow, I thought, my feet really hurt. After a few minutes, a man walked up to the bench, looked at my boys and then sat down facing the…

  • Children of DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley build a sandcastle on the beach
    Family & Friends


    Getting lost in a foreign country is never a good idea. It happened to me all the time before I started traveling with Shawn. I’d be somewhere by myself, in a country where I didn’t speak the language, and I’d realize that I was lost. I always managed to find my way home, though sometimes this meant that I lost a whole day of traveling or, worse, made some dubious decisions like getting in cars with strangers. But once I met Shawn we never got lost. On our first big trip we went to Vietnam (which wasn’t actually that far, as we were living in Japan) and there was a…

  • DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley and her daughter Claire on a boat in summer

    Swimming in the Mediterranean Sea

    It was time to jump.  And Claire was scared.  Not just a little bit scared, the way kids can get when they say “I’m scared!” but it’s mostly just nervous excitement.  No – she was legitimately scared.  The waves were actually pretty rough and the boat was rocking significantly.  “Claire,” I said, taking her face in my hands, “you can do this.  You’re only going to get this one chance.  I know you’re scared but I’ll jump with you.” Then I took her hand and led her up to the jumping-off point of the boat.  She held tight.  I could see the fear still in her eyes but I could…