• Image of book similar to that read by DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley
    What Not to Say

    The Worst Book I’ve Read in a Long Time

    Dear book club: I’m sorry I’m slamming our book. I know most of you also disliked it, so that helps. But if you liked it, if you got something out of it – that’s great. It’s just that, well…..I hated it. “Girl, Wash Your Face” is the worst book I’ve read in a long time. It’s been slammed elsewhere, which I didn’t know when I started reading the book. So maybe this review isn’t super unique, but I still have to add my two cents. The book, which is a kind of self-improvement book, centers around the idea that each one of us can decide to be happy. As the…

  • DC Widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley's desk with note that says you are loved
    What Not to Say

    What (Not) to Say in Crisis

    Right after Shawn died, lots of people tried to say things to me that were supposed to be comforting.  Most of these sayings reminded me of Hallmark cards, even if they were heartfelt (i.e. “I’m thinking of you in this difficult time.”)  Other times, people stumbled over their words, trying to find the right thing to say.  Sometimes, people said nothing at all. (As a note, I think saying nothing at all is the worst.  Better to mess up and say something annoying/imperfect than to ignore a terrible situation.  Even if it’s been a year or two and you still haven’t said anything to someone who’s grieving, you can do…

  • Image representing DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley pushing a shopping cart in a grocery store
    What Not to Say


    I am a bit of a hothead lately. Well, at least compared to my previous self. I’ve always been a somewhat emotional person, but anger wasn’t something I often felt. Sure, I’d get frustrated when Shawn did something like leave dirty dishes in the sink when he left for work. I can remember thinking how “angry” I was at him. But I wasn’t really angry. I was irritated. So all of this anger I’ve been feeling lately – well, that’s something that’s relatively new for me. I feel angry much more often than I ever did when Shawn was alive. To be fair, I’m not screaming at random people in…

  • Shawn and Marjorie Brimley lighting candles for birthday party in DC backyard
    What Not to Say

    Why I Might Have to Stop Reading “Mommy Blogs”

    I’ve always loved “mommy blogs.” These blogs, where writers discuss the (sometimes hilarious) ups and downs of being a mom, often validate how I feel – overworked, under-appreciated, and just really, really tired. When my kids were babies, mommy blogs were what kept me at my paid job when I thought I might quit. The things I read made me realize that most other moms felt like I did and that we were all just doing the best that we could. But God, I can’t read half of them anymore. I just finished an article about a working mom in which the author discusses how she does so much more…

  • Marjorie Brimley hugging Claire after becoming a widow
    What Not to Say

    We All Hurt

    “You’re awfully young to be a widow,” the jeweler said to me with a shocked expression on his face. I was at a jewelry shop looking at new ring settings. I’ve been thinking about getting my wedding ring re-made into something that I could wear on my right hand. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to do it, but I figured talking to a jeweler could help me figure that out. Obviously, I had to tell my life story to the jeweler, and I found out quickly that he was one of those people who said exactly what was in his head. I mean, I’m sure a lot of people…

  • Brimley family in field before losing Shawn and becoming a widow
    What Not to Say

    A Review of “A Widow’s Guide to Healing”

    I went on Amazon the other day and put in “widow book.”  Now that I’m emerging – just a tiny bit – from the fog of the first few months, I’m trying to figure out how to make my life work.  I’ve been reading everything I can get my hands on about loss and grief.  I talk to everyone and I keep going to different types of therapy.  I know there’s no magic answer, but I figure it can’t hurt to just try everything I can to help ease the pain. Anyway, Amazon recommended this book called, “A Widow’s Guide to Healing,” and so I bought it.  I’ve spent the…