• DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley after engagement
    Love and Chris

    Someday, I’ll Watch Him Die (500th Blog Post)

    “I’m so sorry,” the clerk said, handing the papers back to me, “but this won’t work. It’s a copy, and we need the original death certificate in order to issue you a marriage license.” She nodded sympathetically as I sighed. My heart sank. I knew it wasn’t a big deal, really, because we still had time to get all the paperwork together. I knew that part of marriage is just getting the contract in order, and that had nothing to do with love. I knew we could eventually get everything sorted. I was still totally overwhelmed in that moment. We’d come to the town hall in Chris’s hometown in Maine,…

  • 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 with cousins and Aunt Terry outside tattoo parlor
    Family & Friends

    Terry Gets a Tattoo

    “Claire and I found a little bitty ladybug. She was about 4 or 5. And I said, ‘We never kill ladybugs. They’re good luck, and sometimes they fly away. So we watched it awhile, and then it flew away!'” Those lines were spoken by my 78-year-old Aunt Terry, as she recounted a tender moment she once had with Claire. In the tattoo parlor. Let me be clear – the story about the ladybug wasn’t set in a tattoo parlor. Rather, Terry told us this story to explain what she was doing. And what she was doing was getting her first tattoo – of a ladybug, on her shoulder, over 4th…

  • Pink heart and heartbeat for blog by DC widow writer Marjorie Brimley
    Family & Friends

    You’ll Survive

    When I was a kid and I’d fall and scrape my knee or get the stomach flu, my parents would comfort me, because that’s what parents do. But they had different approaches to this. My mother was a very gentle person, someone who worried a lot about my sister and me, and she would gingerly pat my cut dry or give me a cool washcloth. I have such embodied memories of her touch, especially when I was sick, and how it felt to have her sit next to me and comb her fingers through my hair. Every time, it soothed me. My father was not like this. As any child…

  • Family of DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley watches movie from pool
    Family & Friends

    The Clark Family, Part 2

    I was a bit nervous the week before my family’s 4th of July reunion. If I’m being honest, I got so nervous at one point that I had a hard time sleeping. It’s not a new feeling for me. Much of early widowhood (at least a year and a half!) was filled with sleepless nights, and just after I felt like I was really settling into life as a young widow, the pandemic hit. But this recent sleeplessness was not because of the pandemic – everyone in my family who could be vaccinated had been, and we took all the precautions we could for the little ones. Rather, my sleeplessness…