• Orange flowers for blog by DC widow writer Marjorie Brimley
    Things That Suck

    The Room at the Hospital

    I had to get a mammogram the other day. I might be a young widow, but I’m not that young, and I was already months behind on my check-up due to the pandemic. I’m never behind – I am deeply fearful of cancer – so I donned my mask and went to the appointment. As usual, the initial mammogram was inconclusive. Something is almost always a bit strange with my body, and I usually have to get the follow-up testing. The doctor told me they could do it immediately, but I’d need to change rooms and wait just a bit for the technician to do the procedure. She brought me…

  • Computer and glasses on table like that of DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley
    Things That Suck

    How Am I Actually Going to Do This?

    I keep getting emails from my school (and the kids’ schools and my other educator friends) about the importance of engagement in distance learning and doing better with emotional connections with students and all of the technological advances I need to know about for my classes. It’s all important. I believe in it all, I do. And I am totally overwhelmed by it. I know that most of my teacher friends are overwhelmed. I know that most parents are overwhelmed. I know that working parents are even more stressed and I know that single parents have it the worst. I know that my situation is not unique, and I know…

  • car driving like that in blog by DC widow writer Marjorie Brimley
    Things That Suck

    Sometimes Bad Things Don’t Happen

    The crash was so loud and the impact was so close to me that I screamed involuntarily. “Are you hurt?” the man working at Goodwill asked as he ran up to me. I looked down. The car hadn’t touched me, somehow, but it was close enough that it had brushed my long skirt. “I’m okay,” I said, grateful that he’d come over, even if he was violating the 6-foot social distancing rule. I wasn’t so sure about my car. I had been parked and standing next to my car when the other car ran into mine. The driver of the car had gotten out and was profusely apologizing. The other…

  • Bus at sunset for blog by DC widow writer Marjorie Brimley
    Things That Suck


    About two months after Shawn and I started dating, we went to Vietnam for a week. I know this may sound like major excursion, but we were living in Japan, and Vietnam was just a few hours away by plane. We made a plan to start in the south and take the train north. We had no hotel reservations or timeline of events, except that our plane flew into Ho Chi Minh City on a Saturday and out of Hanoi a week later. It was the type of plan I often made in my early 20s, which consisted of, “I’m sure it will be fine.” We spent a great first…

  • Dawn over a field like that referenced by DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley
    Things That Suck

    3 am

    I woke up at 3 am last night. I was confused for a moment, as it wasn’t yet light and I hadn’t been awoken by my children. I sat in the confusion for a moment, and then I felt a warm body next to mine. I felt calm as I laid my head back down to sleep. This does not seem like the start of a dramatic story, but when I reflected on it in the morning, I realized how far I’ve come. Like many people, I’ve woken up at 3 am throughout my life. As a college kid, on the couch that had enveloped me in sleep. As a…

  • DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley looks at husband Shawn from bed
    Things That Suck

    Hard Things Are Hard

    It had been a really hard week at my school. An incident had shocked my students and made them fearful and frustrated. I stood in the back of the auditorium, listening to our head of school talk to the students. I sighed. I was about a year into widowhood and everything seemed hard. I didn’t need anything else on my plate. The head of school talked about the importance of holding space for each other and reaching out to teachers if students needed more support. The kids were listening, but it wasn’t an easy talk. At one point, our head of school paused his speech. I think he was attempting…