• Children of DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley Hale watch fireworks
    Holidays

    How We Remember

    I’ve been in Texas all week, gathering with my family as we do every year. It’s been lovely, full of all the things that make my family great – big pool parties, loud arguments, belly laughs and a whole lot of ice cream. I haven’t done any work, and I haven’t even thought about writing, until now. I’ve simply enjoyed the company of my aunts and uncles and cousins and the zillion kids that are here. It’s been glorious. And so, it was a bit odd to be getting ready for lunch yesterday when I realized that it was July 3rd. It surprised me. Not that I had remembered the…

  • 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.…

  • Children of DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley Hale jump into lake
    Holidays

    Mother’s Day, Year 5

    “Be careful.” It’s one of the most frequent things I’ve said as a mom. Be careful with the small Legos around your baby brother. Be careful climbing that tree. Be careful riding your bike to get ice cream. Be careful. Of course, I said “be careful” a million times before Shawn died. But it felt like I said it a whole lot more after he died. Be careful. Be careful. Be careful. If you’re careful, then you’ll be safe. And if you’re safe, I’ll never have to worry about losing you. That was my rationale, anyway. I think it’s probably the rationale of many parents. And it’s something I know…

  • Daughter of DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley Hale, Claire, hugs her
    Holidays

    Today, You Get the Ring

    Many years ago, my grandmother’s grandmother turned 13. On that day, her father took her into town via horse and buggy, and bought her a tiny little ring, just perfect for her hand. I do not know her name, and I am not even sure if it was actually my grandmother’s grandmother, or someone even further back than that, or merely my grandmother’s mother. I only had the story told to me once, on my 13th birthday. On that day, I didn’t just hear the story. I also got the ring. My mom gave it to me. She had gotten it from her mother on her 13th birthday, and her…

  • Microscope for blog by DC widow writer Marjorie Brimley Hale on colon cancer awareness
    Holidays

    National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

    It’s only been a couple of decades since President Clinton declared that March would be National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. And it’s only been a couple of years since I’ve known about it. It’s strange, how unaware I was about colon cancer, an illness that is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer and the second leading cause of cancer death (in men and women combined) in the United States. Seriously, before Shawn got colon cancer, I’m not sure I knew anything about it. It was a disease old people got, right? That’s why you got a colonoscopy when you’re old, right? I guess it could seem surprising that even though…

  • DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley Hale dances with husband Chris at wedding
    Holidays

    43

    When I was a child, the best day every year was my birthday. No matter how my mom was feeling, she made my birthday magical: big parties and special treats and lots of dancing to the Beatles “Birthday” song when we got home from school. It was a day when I always felt celebrated and special and adored. And so, I loved my birthday – at least, until my mom died. I was 19 at the time, and once the shock wore off, one of my first thoughts was about my birthday. Who was going to celebrate it with me? How would it possibly be special without her in it?…