• Grandpa Tom with baby of Marjorie Brimley DC widow blog writer
    Family & Friends

    A Hug, Finally

    I didn’t hug my dad for a year. I know this made me no different from millions of Americans my age. Our elderly parents, many in their 70s and 80s, spent the year celebrating holidays alone and zooming into family birthday parties. My dad was no different, and while he had kept me safe for many years, it was now my turn to protect him. It was a drastic change for my family, and especially my kids, who had grown accustomed to living with their grandfather. But it was what was best, I told them. Still, it was hard on everyone, especially because of the role my dad had played…

  • Airplane in sky for blog by DC widow writer Marjorie Brimley
    Things That Suck

    The Anxiety is Real

    My sister recently had a baby. A little girl, her second, perfect and tiny and the best possible thing to happen in this year of horror. My dad was finally vaccinated, and he was traveling to see my sister and help with her children. I jumped at the chance to see them both. But that is all the subject of a different blog post. This blog post is about what it’s been like to be on a very full airplane, next to perfectly nice people who are nonetheless scaring the shit out of me. No, they are not reckless, and they have mostly been wearing their masks. But my greeting…

  • Backyard with children of DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley
    Love and Chris,  Missing Shawn

    Springtime, Finally

    We have the most beautiful double-flowering cherry tree in our backyard, one that produces blossoms so huge that everyone marvels at it. When Shawn and I put an offer on the house, in the spring of 2012, it was in full bloom and seemed to take over the yard. A year later, at Austin’s birthday party, the kids ran under the tree as pink petals blew everywhere, almost as though they were running through a snowstorm. At some point, Shawn told all the kids to stand under the tree and then he shook one of the branches, producing a million loose petals. A dozen tiny voices screamed with joy, and…

  • Car in car wash for blog by DC widow writer Marjorie Brimley
    New Perspectives

    Just Keep Doing It

    Last week I realized that I hadn’t washed my car for an entire year. Why would I wash it? I rarely drove it on a day-to-day basis anymore, and when we went on long car trips I figured it was going to get dirty anyway. Plus, I truly don’t care about my car. When Shawn was alive, I did almost nothing to it, as he was in charge of all of the maintenance, right down to the windshield wiper fluid. After he died, I learned enough to keep it running, but I only cleaned it when it was truly disgusting. And I haven’t been in it enough lately to care.…

  • Grocery bag for blog by DC widow writer Marjorie Brimley
    What Not to Say

    It’s Not Too Late to Say “Thank You”

    A year ago, I was really scared. Not scared like I was when Shawn was sick, or scared like I was after he died. Not like that. But not unlike that, either. My dad had left DC at the beginning of the pandemic and I was in lockdown with my kids. In those early days, I had no idea what the future held, but I knew one thing: I was alone. I wasn’t truly alone, of course, because I had friends and family who checked in on us, and modern technology that allowed me to continue teaching during the day and see my dad via FaceTime every night as I…

  • Family of DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley
    Love and Chris

    Opinions on Kinetic Sand

    The other day, Tommy got out his kinetic sand and played with it for hours at the dining room table. When he was done he cleaned it up. For those of you with young children, you know that “cleaning up” kinetic sand is just like cleaning up real sand, except that it is also neon and somehow sticks to surfaces even worse than the real thing. “This stuff is terrible,” Chris said, as he tried to scrape little bits of it out of the crevices of the table. “I know,” I said. “I don’t even know why we have it except that Tommy loves it.” We joked about what kind…