• Letters I love dad for blog post by DC widow writer Marjorie Brimley

    Father’s Day, Year 3

    I try not to look at social media on Father’s Day. I know I’m not alone. A lot of widows purposefully avoid social media on these fraught days – and there are many fraught days. Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Valentine’s Day, Christmas, Thanksgiving…the list could go on. Because here’s the thing about social media on days that are celebratory: people post photos of their smiling and (usually) intact families. They sing the praises of the fathers in their children’s lives. This is great, and yet it is all a brutal reminder to me that my own family does not look like it once did. Father’s Day is probably the hardest…

  • DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley sits on bench in park with children

    Mother’s Day, Year 3

    I am spending a lot of time with my children right now. I guess we all are. It’s one of the blessings and curses of this pandemic. Every day is family day. Anyway, since I rarely leave my children, they’ve become even more attached to me than usual. It’s meant that bedtime takes longer because no one wants me to leave, and that Claire insists we talk about all sorts of intense subjects at the end of the day. Almost every night as I’m leaving her room she says something like, “don’t die, mama, okay? In case you do, I want you to know that I love you so much.…

  • Kids walking into school with backpacks like children of DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley

    Teacher Appreciation

    The day that I took my husband to the hospital for surgery, we walked our children to school together. I mean, we didn’t really walk, since Shawn couldn’t do that anymore. We drove the car to the school parking lot and then we slowly made our way to the drop off point for the kids. Tommy was still in preschool, so I carried him as we took Austin to his first grade line and then Claire to her third grade line. The night before I had emailed the kids’ teachers and told them that Shawn had stage 4 cancer. “We told our children tonight,” I wrote, “and Austin didn’t seem…

  • DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley hugs daughter Claire


    My sweet Claire, today is your birthday. You are eleven. This one seems different than the others, somehow. You are so much older and wiser, so much more aware of the world around you. Maybe it’s how all 11-year-olds are. But something makes me think you have just a bit more insight than many kids your age. The light in your eyes is bright, but you have wisdom in them too. That, I think, is something that’s special about you. Life hasn’t always been easy on you, but you have made the best lemonade out of the lemons you’e been dealt. Yes, you lost your father when you were just…

  • Railroad tracks like that discussed by DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley


    Tomorrow, I turn 41. I should be celebrating. I love my birthday – it’s one of my favorite days of the year. I love how everyone is super nice and wishes me “happy birthday” all day and how I hear from new and old friends alike. I love how my kids are on their best behavior and I love the cards they make me every year. But I can’t quite get excited about it because I’m turning 41. It’s the birthday Shawn never got to celebrate. It’s not just that I’m going to be older than him, for the first time ever. It’s not just that I’m now “in my…

  • Red roses like those of DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley

    Valentine’s Day, Year 3

    I’m spending Valentine’s Day with 3000 high school students. I actually volunteered for this assignment. It’s one I’ve been doing for years, including when Shawn was alive. I run the Model UN program at my school and the students have a big conference every year right around Valentine’s Day. The first year I did it, Shawn sent a massive bouquet of red roses to the hotel where we were staying, and all of my students went totally crazy. (“OMG, that’s so sweeeeeet!“) I laughed when I called him later that day, recounting the story. He didn’t do it because he needed to show me he loved me – I already…