• DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley with her three children tackling her in the water
    What Not to Say

    Can’t You Just…?

    A few months ago, I was talking to an acquaintance and had a moment of candor. “I’m really lonely,” I said. “I miss Shawn. And I’m also tired of being alone all the time. They’re two parts of my sadness that are linked, but also separate in a way.” She looked at me thoughtfully. “I understand you really miss Shawn. But if you want to get rid of the loneliness, can’t you just set up an online dating profile?” I awkwardly tried to tell her that it wasn’t so easy. Putting myself out there is a really daunting prospect. She meant well. She was trying to be helpful. I wasn’t…

  • Arial view of 4 doctors like those treating husband of DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley
    What Not to Say


    There were so many questions after Shawn died. So many. Was there a family history of cancer? Did he exercise? What were the warning signs? Why didn’t you demand a colonoscopy earlier? Did he have a regular doctor? Did he smoke? Did the medical team try immunotherapy? Did he eat a special diet? Did he drink a lot? Did he have symptoms earlier in the year? Was he healthy otherwise? Those were just some of the things people asked me. Of course there were questions. Shawn was an incredibly vibrant 40-year-old. How could this happen, they wondered? But the big question was lurking under all of these questions, one that…

  • Restaurant similar to that frequented by DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley
    What Not to Say

    Where’s Your Husband?

    You can get the best huevos rancheros in Austin, Texas.  Though I’m not a native-born Texan, I’ve spent big chunks of my life with my family in this great town.  So when I get the chance for a meal out, I do it.  A few days ago, on a weekend downtown by myself, I wandered into a restaurant specializing in Oaxacan cuisine and asked the waiter what he recommended for my brunch.  His answer:  huevos rancheros. We got to chatting after that.  I asked him about how they make their amazing sauces, and he told me more about the history of the restaurant.  Then, as conversations sometimes do, we turned…

  • Children of DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley play in the sea with boats nearby
    What Not to Say

    The View in Portofino

    Over by the docks was a little spot where I saw someone soaking their feet.  “Let’s play in the water, kids!” I said. Claire opted to stay back in the main square to chat with a new friend, so I brought the boys down to the water.  They took off their socks and shoes and joyously splashed around.  I snapped a few photos and then went to sit on a bench.  I watched them cautiously at first, but then relaxed a bit.  Wow, I thought, my feet really hurt. After a few minutes, a man walked up to the bench, looked at my boys and then sat down facing the…

  • Image of garage similar to that of DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley
    What Not to Say

    Soulmates and Other Things I Don’t Believe In

    I don’t believe in soulmates. So when I was pouring my heart out to my therapist the other day and she said to me, “It’s so hard for you because Shawn was your soulmate,” I had to stop and say, “no, I don’t believe in soulmates. We just really loved each other.” I didn’t mean to be rude. She was being empathetic. When people hear me talk about Shawn, they can feel the love in my voice. They can hear about our almost-always-happy marriage. They think, “well, they must have been soulmates.” But I don’t believe in soulmates. Neither did Shawn. In fact, one time we tried to explain this…

  • image of woman typing her blog on computer just like DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley
    What Not to Say

    How Did You Cope?

    Three times a week, I pour out my emotions on this blog and I tell the world exactly what’s on my mind. Last year, I got a lot of texts/calls/emails from friends and family after certain blog posts. But lately, I’ve started to hear more from people I don’t know. I get messages from people who’ve read my articles and found my blog and want to connect. Sometimes I write back, and sometimes I don’t. (If you want to know who I don’t write back to, let me say this: my blog is not a dating site. Please do not write me and ask me to go on a date…