In My Driveway

Nighttime image of street and car like that in post by DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley

There he was, standing in my driveway.

He was leaning just slightly against the garage door, grinning at me.  I hadn’t seen him in over a month, and it took a moment to sink in.  How was he here?  He was supposed to be far, far away.  How was he actually standing in my driveway?

But there he was.  And within a second, I knew it wasn’t a dream.  I knew he was real and I knew he had come for me.  I ran to him as fast as I could and I threw my arms around him.  “How are you here?” I kept saying, as he laughed and I cried and we kissed and embraced.

He was real.  And he was here.

You’d think at this stage in my life, it would be hard to shock me.  I know that crazy things can happen.  I’ve lost both my mom and my husband decades before they should have died.  I had a baby on my living room floor before the paramedics could arrive.  I’m living through a damn global pandemic and haven’t hugged anyone outside my family in months.  If there’s something crazy that’s going to happen, I know there’s at least a decent chance it will happen to me.

But let me say this: I was totally and completely surprised to see him standing there in my driveway.

I knew he loved me in that moment.  I guess I knew it before, but I really knew it then.

Our romance was unique in many ways: separated by physical distance and a global pandemic, we began our connection not in person but instead via winding phone conversations each night.  We joked that we were running a real-life “Love is Blind” experiment, though we’d already known one another for many years.  And yet, there was so much we found out about each other over those late-night discussions.  What did we want from life?  What were our favorite things?  Who did we most value in our lives? 

What the future held was impossible to know.  But after a few weeks, we knew one thing: we needed to see each other.  He’d been in total isolation for over a month, and so had I.  My kids knew him and wanted him to visit.  Maybe he could come in a few months?

I didn’t think he’d show up so soon.  But there he was, smiling and laughing and picking me up at the end of my driveway.  

It was like magic.

And magic, of course, is not something that you get often in this life.  If you’re lucky, you get it once.

And if you’re really lucky, you get it twice.

Is that what I am?  Lucky?  I mean, I feel really lucky right now.  But I know the reason that I feel lucky is at least partially because I was really fucking unlucky to lose Shawn.

The crazy thing is, I’ve spent so much time since Shawn died dreaming about him coming back.  I’d dream that he was actually lost, not dead, and in my dream he’d arrive at my door or in my bedroom or in the backyard, laugh at my worry and say, “of course I’m fine!”

I dreamed about him showing up, out of the blue, and having him back in my life.  

But this man, the one who showed up in my driveway, he was not Shawn.  He had a glint in his eye like Shawn, with a softness that Shawn had too.  But he was most definitely not like Shawn in other ways, and my feelings towards him were separate as well.

And I felt so incredibly happy that he was there.  

He was standing in my driveway, waiting for me.  All I wanted in that moment was to jump into his arms, have him spin me around and tell me that he loved me.  And that is what happened.  It felt like a dream.

Once upon a time, I dreamed of this happening, only the person at the end of the driveway was Shawn.  Now that it was happening with someone else, what did that mean?

I’m not sure.  I’m not some sort of widow-guru who has all the answers to finding love after loss.  Writing about all of this is hard, because I don’t really know the ending.  But what I know is this: I still remember that dream I had about Shawn coming back.  I still think about him every single day, and I’m not sure that will ever change.

But when I saw the man at the end of the driveway – the one who I’d somehow fallen in love with over the phone – when I saw him I knew only one thing: I wanted to be with him in that moment, and for as many moments as I could afterwards.

I wanted it to be him standing in the driveway.

24 Replies to “In My Driveway”

  1. So happy for you! ❤

    1. Thank you!

  2. I don’t know you, Marjorie, and I stumbled upon your blog by accident. I’ve left a few comments here and there. But I’ve been following your story. Your words make you so relateable, and I’m sure there are more than a few people who feel like we KNOW you — even though we don’t. At least not in person. But WOW! I feel so incredibly happy for you reading this! Best wishes for much happiness.

    1. Oh, thank you so much! And thank you for reading – it’s such a blessing to feel like people are invested in my story and in sharing theirs.

  3. Hooray! All the feelings. I celebrate and delight in your happiness. You have so much love to give, I knew you had a romantic relationship in your future, I’m so excited it is NOW!
    P.S.— thanks for providing me the perfect reading material as I wait, masked, in line at Trader Joe’s!

  4. Tracey McConnell says: Reply

    Love it! We are so in the same page and time frame. Thanks Marjorie these always show up when I need them hugs ♥️

  5. I want that to happen to me, but also afraid it will happen to me…so happy for you!

  6. I’m a year behind you. Our similarities are uncanny. I’ve got something similar happening. Very similar. And my mom died decades too early, and I have young children. I even used to live there – my late hubby & I bought our first home in Alexandria. Glad I found your blog. And happy for you…and us. ♥️♥️♥️

    1. Actually – and this is the last comment I promise – I just read your story and I’m exactly 2 months behind you. March 9 is when I lost my husband. 2018.

  7. And I had a vivid dream like that! Lol. Sorry I just can’t believe how much we have in common and I to happen to see your posts at the right times.

  8. I am so happy for you Marjorie. You are one strong woman. Greetings to your Dad.

    1. Thank you!

  9. This is wonderful. I also have dreams about my dead husband still being alive and now I am remarried (he died 5 years ago) so I understand. It is great to meet someone who makes you smile.

    1. Thank you! I do feel really lucky.

  10. Sharm Running says: Reply

    You deserve every moment of happiness and joy that comes your way! This story is beautiful! Love you girly!!!!!

    1. Thank you!

  11. Thank you for bringing happy tears! Glad to hear your stories of new love as it makes me hopeful for the future. I, too, have dreams of my husband coming back and they are very different than the ones from the first few weeks after he died. I don’t really want to thin’ of meeting someone new in the future but the thought of spending the next 30 to 40 years alone is too much to bear.

    1. I’m glad it brings you a happy feeling to read my story. I often felt angry when I thought about the widows who found new love, because it made me think, “how is that even possible??” But it is. And still, even with that knowledge, I know it’s hard for so many people. Hang in there.

  12. HI Marjorie: I’m mostly thrilled, a little weepy and slightly jealous of/ for you and yours. My wife Anne, was widowed twice(!) at age 27 and 31, took a chance on me when she was 33, and we had 40 (!) years. Her second husband was my friend, so Anne and I had been pals for 3 years before he died (killed by a drunk driver). She’ll be gone 3 years next month, and I still miss her so, and I want to be open to the possibility of love again. You give me hope, and thank you so much for writing.

    1. Thank you so much for your honesty. I actually remember reading accounts of other widows finding love and feeling the same emotions – thrilled, weepy and jealous. But mostly, it made me feel possibility, and I’m glad that my story makes you feel that a bit too.

  13. As a never-married woman in her early 30s, one of the things I appreciate most about your blog is your reflections on your relationship with Shawn so of course now I’m fascinated (and thrilled to hear) about this new chapter! This might be a bit strange, but would you ever be willing to write something about your overall relationship/dating advice? I guess I just feel like you have the kind of wisdom I don’t exactly see reflected in BS magazines and podcasts (#sorrynotsorry) and would love to hear your thoughts in general.

    1. Oh wow – this is a super interesting idea and I really appreciate that you think I have some sort of interesting insight! I am always looking for new blog posts so…..I’m going to keep this one as a possibility!

  14. Beth Maglione says: Reply

    Dear Marjorie: You simply cannot know how much joy this story has given me in a time where things seems so… joyless (due to anxiety and stress about working/parenting/existing in a pandemic, not personal loss). I’m a friend of Becky’s, I love your writing here, and I am truly celebrating this new development in your life. C. is a stellar human, and I feel SO happy for you and for him. Sending much love to you both, and your families too. Be well.

    1. Oh, thank you! There’s more to come on the blog about this part of my story, and I really appreciate your well wishes! Yes, my new guy is….the best. I love that you know him, and Becky!

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