• 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…

  • Grandparents and kids and cousins of DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley
    Family & Friends

    Nana and Pop

    “You made it!” We could hear Nana and Pop shouting from their driveway. Next to them stood Chris’s sister Becky, her husband Josh and their two kids. Our kids bounded out of the car, excited to finally be free. Everyone jumped up and down and hugged. “All our grandkids from DC are finally here!” Nana said, laughing with joy as she was almost tackled over by the five of them. It was a great moment, and one that almost made me cry. But before I get too into that, let me back up and explain a bit more about Chris’s parents, Nana and Pop. I’ve actually known Joanie and Billy…

  • DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley as a child with her mother
    Family & Friends

    Why? (On the Anniversary of My Mom’s Death)

    One night a few years ago, when my dad was living with me after Shawn died, I was up late working on this blog in the kitchen. My dad had been reading in his room, listening to Gordon Lightfoot after we had put the kids to bed, but he came downstairs and met me to say goodnight. I was stuck on something I was writing and somehow we ended up talking for a long time about my mom. Though we often discussed my mom in general terms, we had just started talking about what it was like when she was sick. For a long time, we’d let that part of…

  • DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley with cousins and Aunt Terry outside tattoo parlor
    Family & Friends

    Terry Gets a Tattoo

    “Claire and I found a little bitty ladybug. She was about 4 or 5. And I said, ‘We never kill ladybugs. They’re good luck, and sometimes they fly away. So we watched it awhile, and then it flew away!'” Those lines were spoken by my 78-year-old Aunt Terry, as she recounted a tender moment she once had with Claire. In the tattoo parlor. Let me be clear – the story about the ladybug wasn’t set in a tattoo parlor. Rather, Terry told us this story to explain what she was doing. And what she was doing was getting her first tattoo – of a ladybug, on her shoulder, over 4th…

  • Pink heart and heartbeat for blog by DC widow writer Marjorie Brimley
    Family & Friends

    You’ll Survive

    When I was a kid and I’d fall and scrape my knee or get the stomach flu, my parents would comfort me, because that’s what parents do. But they had different approaches to this. My mother was a very gentle person, someone who worried a lot about my sister and me, and she would gingerly pat my cut dry or give me a cool washcloth. I have such embodied memories of her touch, especially when I was sick, and how it felt to have her sit next to me and comb her fingers through my hair. Every time, it soothed me. My father was not like this. As any child…

  • Family of DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley watches movie from pool
    Family & Friends

    The Clark Family, Part 2

    I was a bit nervous the week before my family’s 4th of July reunion. If I’m being honest, I got so nervous at one point that I had a hard time sleeping. It’s not a new feeling for me. Much of early widowhood (at least a year and a half!) was filled with sleepless nights, and just after I felt like I was really settling into life as a young widow, the pandemic hit. But this recent sleeplessness was not because of the pandemic – everyone in my family who could be vaccinated had been, and we took all the precautions we could for the little ones. Rather, my sleeplessness…