• DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley Hale hugs family at wedding
    Family & Friends

    You Carry the Passports

    This year for Spring Break, you went to Texas. Claire and Tommy came with you, but your dad and I stayed behind in DC to work. As we packed up the bags for your first solo airplane trip, we reminded Claire about watching Tommy and calling us when you landed. She started to get really nervous. I tried to calm her down as I packed her bag with the passports. “Don’t lose these!” I said, sternly, which didn’t help her nerves. She got so upset that she had to sit down and collect herself. I looked at the passports and then at Chris. And then we both quickly decided that…

  • Son Tommy of DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley Hale runs to her at wedding
    Family & Friends

    To All That Is to Be: Yes

    When I asked you what I should write for the blog post on your birthday, Tommy, you smiled a bit and then said, “You should write about how many friends I’ve made this year. I have, like, ten new friends!'” You’ve always been like this. Joyful and happy, unaffected by the worries of the world. But that does not mean you’ve been unaware of those around you. On the contrary, you can see what’s happening with a certain clarity. It’s always been that way. When you were 3 years old and you lost your dad Shawn, you didn’t cry. Maybe you were just too young. Maybe you would be untouched…

  • 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…