• Claire, daughter of DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley, chops wood
    New Perspectives

    The First Day of School, Part 2

    When class lists came out, the kids were thrilled. Both of the boys got teachers they really liked, and Claire was excited about the new teachers and classes she was going to have. Everyone was back in real, full-day school for the first time since March 2020 and the mood in our house was one of excitement. I felt that way, too. Really. But I also had this nagging sensation in the back of my mind. What will this year hold for them? Are they ready for this transition, both in school and in our family life? And – logistically – do I need to email their teachers with our…

  • New Perspectives

    A New Look for DC Widow

    If you’ve been a reader for a long time, first of all, thank you. Maybe you’ve read since the beginning, or maybe since I published that article in Vox about dating that sent a number of young widows to this blog. Or maybe you just lost your spouse and just started reading and if that’s you, I’m sending you a virtual hug. Hang in there. I promise it gets easier. Over the past three-and-a-half years (and over 500 posts!) I’ve learned a lot. I’ve grown up, as a mother and a teacher and a widow and a human, and I’ve gone from writing a blog that’s singularly about me and…

  • Bar for blog by DC widow writer Marjorie Brimley
    New Perspectives

    You Can Just Be Happy

    In early 2020, before the pandemic hit, I went out with the Cabal to an Irish pub, where we flirted with the bartenders and told funny stories and cried a little and laughed a lot. It was exactly how many of the Cabal gatherings always had been – filled with every possible emotion. I think our stated reason for the gathering was that someone was celebrating a deathiversary (and yes, that’s a word – otherwise known as the anniversary of someone’s death – see my posts on January 9th each year.) In any case, we definitely spent part of the night talking about loss. But we also discussed lighter things,…

  • moving boxes for blog by DC widow writer Marjorie Brimley
    New Perspectives

    Sh*t People Said That Just Wasn’t True*

    *at least not for me People say all sorts of crazy things to new widows. Some of it is platitudes (I’m thinking of you in this terrible time”), some of it is comforting (“remember that hilarious story your husband used to tell?”), and some of it is tough-love truth (“yes, your husband is gone, so let’s make sure your health insurance covers the kids”). I think it’s really hard to know what to say – I know I have screwed up when talking to new widows, even though I am a widow myself! So I try not to judge when people say things that are mildly insensitive or off-key. For…

  • DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley in her garden
    New Perspectives

    Successes (Part 2 of 2)

    My life as a young widow has included a lot of failure, especially in (though not limited to!) the first year. There were so many things I did wrong, so many choices I regretted and so many ways in which I made my already difficult circumstances worse. And yet, my years of widowhood have not all been about failure. In fact – even that first year – I’ve had some successes. So, here they are! Ways I’ve succeeded as a widow: Logistics: One of the very first failures I experienced was my broken washing machine, which happened less than a week after Shawn died. It was just the start of…

  • Cemetery of DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley
    New Perspectives

    What Happens to My Body When I Die?

    It was dinnertime on Father’s Day this year when Claire looked at me and said, “wait, we didn’t go to the cemetery today!” She didn’t look upset, just surprised. Didn’t we always go to the cemetery on Father’s Day? In fact, we haven’t always done that. The very first Father’s Day I celebrated without Shawn, we went to the toy store and the local diner and the pool. I wanted to make sure it felt like a fun day for the kids, and for me. While we went in 2019 and 2020, this year we all wanted to celebrate Chris, and though we spent time remembering Shawn, we didn’t go…