• Family of DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley walks in field
    Love and Chris

    Holiday Cards

    Holiday cards have not been easy for me over the past few years. The year Shawn was dying, we somehow sent one out with the five of us on the front, and then for months afterwards when I’d go into my friends’ houses, I’d see our photo up on their walls. I loved that they were remembering him…and it was hard to face at the same time. He looked sick. The next year, I had no idea what to do about a holiday card, because the options I was faced with included statements like, “it’s the most wonderful time of the year!” and “oh what fun!” which was basically the…

  • Steaming coffee cup for blog by DC widow writer Marjorie Brimley
    Love and Chris

    He Makes the Coffee

    When Chris first came to stay with us, he was shocked to learn that I drank instant coffee. He didn’t understand how I could drink something so terrible when I really enjoyed food and cooking. “It’s just so much easier,” I explained. Of course, it was more complicated than that. I started drinking instant coffee when Shawn died. I did it for a lot of reasons, but I told myself that I made this decision because it didn’t make any sense to make a full pot of coffee when I was the only one drinking it. I’d gotten used to crappy coffee as a teacher (teacher’s lounge coffee is universally…

  • Car seat for blog by DC widow writer Marjorie Brimley
    Love and Chris

    Cold Pizza in the Back of the Mazda

    My kids don’t go anywhere anymore. We started out 2020 by taking some great trips, but obviously Covid changed all of that. For the past 8+ months, our lives have mostly been confined to the house. We are all on top of each other all the time – for school and lunch and playtime and work and everything in-between. Just like every other American family, I guess. Do I want to let them have more freedom? Yes. But Covid makes me nervous, because even though I know we’d all likely be okay if we got sick, I don’t have a guarantee. Sure, it may be only a very small chance…

  • Tommy's drawing of mom for DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley

    Water and Fire

    The first Thanksgiving we spent without Shawn was really hard. We were with our dear friends Josh and Becky, out on Josh’s family farm, surrounded by people who loved us. But it felt heavy. And I was Just. So. Tired. One of the nights, Tommy woke up at 2 am, crying about something, and I couldn’t comfort him. Eventually, I brought him into my bed where he calmed down, his snotty face resting against my chest. I stayed awake for a long time, thinking about how I was the only person who could comfort him. Yes, there was a whole household of people there who loved him, but there was…

  • DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley with her sister
    Family & Friends

    Fierce Loyalty

    When my mom died, my dad couldn’t face cleaning out her closet. I was just 19, and so it didn’t fully make sense to me why the closet had more meaning than any other space. I volunteered to do it, and along with my sister Lindsay and our childhood friend Marcie, I went through my mother’s clothes. It was a quiet process, which is my lasting memory. Marcie took things out of the closet and my sister and I sorted through them. My sister, always meticulous, folded the clothes that we were going to keep. I don’t remember much else. I do remember that Lindsay and I talked very little…

  • Bike in road for blog by DC widow writer Marjorie Brimley

    Two Widows at the Orthodontist

    Austin is a pretty chill kid, unfazed by a lot of the mini-dramas of childhood. He doesn’t get anxious about schoolwork or whether he’ll get picked to play first base, and he never seems to worry much about the things that sometimes bother other kids. Thank goodness, because as long as Covid lasts, he has to go into the orthodontist’s office without me. He does it with little fanfare, and I sit outside the office on the sidewalk each time. Last week, he had an appointment to get braces on his top teeth, which apparently takes forever. I was working on my phone, answering emails from students and trying to…