• Son of DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley Hale jumps in ocean
    Family & Friends

    They Were Happy Years for You

    On your first day of elementary school, the teacher had to hold you as I walked away. You were screaming and crying and yelling, “Mama!” like I might never return. In your arms, you held your beloved stuffed animal, Horsey Horse. “Mama always comes back, Austin,” I said to you. You were so little – just four years old – since you started as a pre-K student. It made sense that you cried. But I hated that you never seemed to get used to school that year, and always would rather be with me. Even in Kindergarten, when you’d walk into the school with your teacher, you turned to watch…

  • Children and husband of DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley Hale pose at baseball game
    Holidays

    First Father’s Day

    One of the more surprising things we discovered as we began the adoption process was this: once Chris officially adopted the kids, their birth certificates would change to show him as the father. And Shawn’s name would be removed. It seemed strange to me. They are both the kids’ fathers, so why did the government need to erase Shawn’s name? I get it, in the legal sense. It’s important for forms and other legal issues and I’m sure it is a product of the closed adoption system that was common in the past. But still. Shawn’s role in the kids’ lives mattered, and continues to matter. Just not on paper.…

  • Cookbook image for blog by DC widow writer Marjorie Brimley Hale
    Family & Friends

    Widows in Quarantine

    I’ve taken Covid tests so often that I know what to expect. There’s always a bit of fear, but then…everything is fine. I’m tested every week at school, and I’ve taken more rapid tests than I can count. We made everyone Covid test for our wedding. And every single time I’ve taken one, it’s been negative. Apparently, according to my dad and the National Institutes of Health, having an allergy to nuts (which I have) lowers your risk of getting Covid. Hey, I’ll take it! I mean, I’m a teacher and have been teaching in person for over a year. I have three kids in different schools and I eat…

  • Grandpa Tom and DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley Hale make jam
    Family & Friends

    Making Jam with Grandpa Tom

    My dad does many things that other people think are hard. “It’s not hard!” he often says, when referring to doing his daily exercises or keeping up with the medical literature or giving up his retirement to help raise his grandkids. He truly believes it. I mean, if I ask him to think rationally about the time it takes to do a task, he will admit that he expends effort. But he will still claim that “it’s not hard” with a smile on his face and a ring in his voice. Sometimes he openly laughs at me if I have skepticism about the difficulty of any task. “I know it’s…

  • Picture of compass pointing to insurance for blog by DC widow writer Marjorie Brimley Hale
    New Perspectives

    Hypotheticals

    I have been trying to figure out what to do about some changes in my health insurance. It’s been a fun process! (If you’re American, you know that was said with great sarcasm.) I’ve spent the past couple of days calling health insurance companies to figure out what’s the best coverage for my family in the future. Yes, I can see some details on the papers they provide, but it is not enough for me. I need to talk to a person who can really understand my needs. Every time I call someone, I actually feel bad for the customer service representative who gets me. At first, I must seem…

  • Couple on bench for blog by DC widow writer Marjorie Brimley Hale
    Dating

    “I’m Dating a Widow…”

    …and things are very confusing. That was the start of an email I got a few weeks ago. It’s certainly not the first email I’ve received on this topic. Maybe it’s because if you put “date + widow” into Google, one of the few non-AARP articles that comes up on the first page is the one I wrote for Vox on dating as a young widow. The person who wrote to me (let’s call him Matt) wanted to know how to approach dating a widow who had a somewhat similar story to mine. Matt told me that his new love interest is a widow with kids who lost her spouse…