• Tommy Brimley, son of DC widow writer Marjorie Brimley Hale, kneels by his father's grave
    Missing Shawn

    My Body Still Knows

    It was my racing heart that woke me up around 4 am every morning last week. It was confusing, usually. Why was I feeling so nervous? Sometimes, I’d get up and get a drink of water or just walk around a bit, trying to shake away the anxiety inside my body. But it persisted. Maybe I was nervous about the return to school, I figured. Covid is really bad in DC, so maybe I was worried about getting sick at school, or maybe I was just feeling the general angst in the air every time I go to the grocery store. Maybe it was the snow that kept falling last…

  • Family of DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley Hale walks in woods
    Missing Shawn

    I Am Happy, Like You Wanted

    My school is a place where we celebrate everything. Christmas, Diwali, Passover….you name it. I love that we celebrate all of the many wonderful traditions that students do at home. This year, a teacher from my department decided that we should do a Day of the Dead altar, something from his culture. He invited us all to participate by bringing a framed photo of a dead loved one, as well as an object that person loved. The display was covered in orange flowers and slowly a few photos appeared. After a few days, I decided I wanted to add my own photo, so I went back to my desk to…

  • Empty garage for blog by DC widow writer Marjorie Brimley Hale
    Missing Shawn

    Totes in the Garage

    I love spring cleaning. I love getting rid of things I don’t need, wiping down the surfaces of stuff that’s been in storage for the winter, organizing and using my label maker. I’m that girl. I love it so much that I also do a fall clean-out. And sometimes I even add a winter cleaning. But being a widow makes this process more complicated. I’ve always been a person who gets rid of everything I don’t need, and everyone knows this about me. In fact, my kids are so aware of this part of my personality that they’ll frequently give me something (a toy from a birthday party or a…

  • File cabinet for blog by DC widow writer Marjorie Brimley
    Missing Shawn

    A New Life Insurance Plan! (An Annotated Reading of the Latest Letter to Our House)

    Dear Shawn, As I understand it, you have a birthday coming up soon….Happy Birthday! Well, yes, technically Shawn’s birthday is in June. He’d be 44, which seems really old, even though I am 42! But he’s frozen at 40, of course. Not LITERALLY frozen, because the ground has thawed out at this point in the year. But I digress. Back to that letter. This might be a great time to buy a new life insurance policy. Really? Tell me MORE. Have you been hearing about changes in Shawn’s life lately? DO TELL. Here’s why: Life insurance rates have just dropped to all-time lows and many companies will charge more for…

  • Person holding weight for blog by DC widow writer Marjorie Brimley
    Missing Shawn

    The Pieces We Don’t Know

    A few years before he died, Shawn got really into CrossFit. He was trying to get in better shape and thought maybe something that required extreme discipline was just what he needed. Plus, he had a group of friends at his work who were already part of a gym nearby. He could go at lunch. Once he started, he went almost every weekday and often on the weekends too. To supplement this new workout routine, he tried a variety of diets, including one where he didn’t eat any processed sugar at all (I hated that one, as it was no fun) and one where he put butter in his coffee.…

  • Backyard with children of DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley
    Love and Chris,  Missing Shawn

    Springtime, Finally

    We have the most beautiful double-flowering cherry tree in our backyard, one that produces blossoms so huge that everyone marvels at it. When Shawn and I put an offer on the house, in the spring of 2012, it was in full bloom and seemed to take over the yard. A year later, at Austin’s birthday party, the kids ran under the tree as pink petals blew everywhere, almost as though they were running through a snowstorm. At some point, Shawn told all the kids to stand under the tree and then he shook one of the branches, producing a million loose petals. A dozen tiny voices screamed with joy, and…