• DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley Hale smiles at husband Chris on wedding day
    Holidays

    You Are Us

    Two weeks ago, I texted a few friends to ask where I could get the best fresh crab meat. I told them I was making a special Valentine’s Day dinner for Chris, and I wanted it to be perfect. They were helpful, but also teased me a bit: how cute was it that I actually was fawning all over my husband on Valentine’s Day? Ah, newlywed love! I smiled at their texts, thinking about how funny it was that I was back in the stage of “new love.” Making a special Valentine’s day dinner, and thinking about it two weeks ahead of time! I try to not be too obnoxious…

  • DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley Hale in forest at her wedding
    Holidays

    Hello, 2022… (Part 2 of 2)

    Hello, 2022. Hello love stories. Hello to embracing the hard things we have to face, and laughing at the joys we get to have. I think we’ll find a lot of them this year. Hello to long runs and walks with friends, backyard barbecues with family and long adventures on bikes with Chris. We haven’t beat you yet, Covid, but we’ve learned to still have fun with you around. Hello to letting others accompany me in my grief. No one can fix it. But you can be by my side. Hello to love that I can see and share with you all. Hello to seeing (and hearing!) the love between…

  • DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley with son in front of Christmas tree
    Holidays

    Goodbye, 2021… (Part 1 of 2)

    Goodbye, 2021. Goodbye, nightmares. I know I also said this last year (and the year before that and the year before that), but those really terrible ones? For real, no more nightmares, please. Goodbye, junk mail that still arrives for Shawn. Especially when it’s life insurance policies. Goodbye to making everyone happy. Yes, things may have been different in the past. But now, I need to make the best decisions I can for my family, which may not please everyone else. Goodbye worries that our wedding will be ruined or our guests will do all the wrong things. Turned out, in every way it mattered, it was perfect. Goodbye anxiety over…

  • Family of DC widow writer Marjorie Brimley Hale at her wedding
    Holidays

    Other People’s Joy

    Joy! It’s the word I see everywhere this time of year, a sentiment (“joy!”) that I loved so much before widowhood and yet it was the one word that drove me completely crazy after Shawn died. Why was everyone insisting that I feel joy, just because the calendar was turned to the December page? It was maddening. And yet, I also wanted to feel that joy. I wanted it…and I couldn’t find it. What did that mean? The first year of widowhood, I went through at least a hundred holiday cards, looking for one that didn’t say, “The Merriest Time of Year!” or some similar sentiment. As I wrote in…

  • Holiday image for blog by DC widow writer Marjorie Brimley
    Holidays

    Ask a Widow: “But We’ve Always Had Christmas at Grandma’s” (with holiday resources)

    OMG THE HOLIDAYS. Okay, yes, it’s that time of year. No matter your background or how you celebrate, the holidays are often loaded for just about everyone. Forget it if you’re a widow. Then everything is loaded. My first holiday season was BRUTAL. I mean, I think I cried every single day in the parking lot before school and every single evening after I put the kids to bed. How was my tree all lit up, how was I saying “happy holidays” to everyone I saw, how was I sending out cards to my family and friends…and Shawn was dead? It was all such an act. I didn’t feeling joyful.…

  • Family children of DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley Hale run in field
    Holidays

    Old Places, New Meanings

    There is a farm where the earth is flat and the grass is brown this time of year, but the fireplace is so warm that it’s hard to stay awake next to it. Up above, the birds fly in large flocks, and even when I’m out on a long run, I can see the house in the distance, glowing. The house is old and creaky, with pipes that mostly work and bookshelves that hold generations of memories. It is a place where you can curl up with a blanket all afternoon, just like we both have done over the years. It is a place that I have loved for many…