• DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley Hale hugs family at wedding
    Family & Friends

    You Carry the Passports

    This year for Spring Break, you went to Texas. Claire and Tommy came with you, but your dad and I stayed behind in DC to work. As we packed up the bags for your first solo airplane trip, we reminded Claire about watching Tommy and calling us when you landed. She started to get really nervous. I tried to calm her down as I packed her bag with the passports. “Don’t lose these!” I said, sternly, which didn’t help her nerves. She got so upset that she had to sit down and collect herself. I looked at the passports and then at Chris. And then we both quickly decided that…

  • Austin and family of DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley
    Family & Friends

    Just Like Your Dad

    Everyone says you look like your father. It’s true, Austin. Photos of Shawn at your age show not just a resemblance, but an image so similar I almost always have a moment when I think it’s a photo of you. The the shape of your eyes and the way that you smile and the size of your head and so many other features about you look just like every photo I’ve ever seen of him. Even the way that you hold a pencil is similar, as is the look in your eyes when you focus. Maybe this is why when he died, I worried the most about you. You were…

  • Austin Brimley son of DC widow writer Marjorie Brimley wades through ocean
    Family & Friends

    I Am From

    A few weeks ago, Austin came downstairs and wanted my help editing a poem he wrote. “It’s for school,” he said. Their class had read the poem “Where I’m From” by George Ella Lyon and he was supposed to write his story – the story of his life – in a similar style. The kids were all working on a shared document, so we could see what his classmates had written. As you may imagine, there was a lot of discussion of favorite sports and playing with siblings and other fourth grade interests. On the first line, Austin had written a bit about being from “mom and dad,” but he…

  • Room of child of DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley
    What Not to Say

    Teachers, We Hear You

    My kids’ online lessons started a week before I began teaching, as we are in different school systems. So I had an entire week to observe their teachers without the distraction of my own students. What I realized was this: parents are listening to everything. As a teacher myself, I don’t fault their teachers for a lot of the mistakes they make because I know I make them myself. (I also didn’t properly set up my breakout rooms and wasted all sorts of class time on the first day. I feel for you, 6th grade teacher!) I can’t imagine trying to teach any children younger than seven and actually keeping…

  • DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley walks with family
    Family & Friends

    Austin’s Hero

    Two years ago at the start of 4th grade, Claire had to identify her “hero” and write a short blurb about that person. She chose to write about me, and I wrote a blog post about how touching it was to have her do that. So when Austin finished his first day of school last Monday, I already knew what his first assignment was going to be. He needed my help, because everything is digital now. I asked him who he was going to pick as his hero. “Grandpa Tom,” he said, as though it was the most obvious thing in the world. I asked him why he picked Grandpa…

  • DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley helps son Tommy with shirt
    New Perspectives

    You’re Not Really a Widow Anymore

    A few days ago, Austin woke up early and came downstairs. I had been writing, but I paused to talk to him for a few minutes as he ate his cereal. We discussed what we were going to do that day, and then he wanted to know what I was doing on my computer. “I’m trying to figure out what to write for my blog,” I told him. “Do you have any ideas?” “There’s not really anything for you to write about anymore,” he said, simply. “What do you mean?” I asked. “Well, you’re not really a widow anymore,” he replied. When I gently asked him why he thought this,…