• Stack of papers for blog by DC widow writer Marjorie Brimley
    Love and Chris

    So Then Who Are You?

    A few nights ago, Tommy woke me up. “There’s something in my room!” he said, eyes wide. “There’s nothing in your room,” I said. “Let’s go back to sleep.” He wasn’t consoled, and as I tucked him back in he said, “listen! There’s scratching in the walls!” He was right. I told him that it was probably just a tree branch, but I knew otherwise. It was a mouse – or something worse – crawling around inside the walls of our house. “You have to call the pest company tomorrow,” I said to Chris as I crawled back into bed. “I’m teaching all day and this needs to be taken…

  • Corn field like that in blog by DC widow writer Marjorie Brimley
    New Perspectives

    The Price of Corn

    I teach American government, so you can bet that if something newsworthy happens in politics, I’m going to hear about it from one of my students. Last week, after the Iowa Senate debate, I received this (now infamous) clip of the two candidates discussing farming and commodity prices. The challenger, Theresa Greenfield, knew the price of corn right away, but the incumbent, Joni Ernst, couldn’t remember the price of soy. It was one of those “gotcha” kind of questions that politicians are often asked. It’s the kind of question that may seem unfair. But I love these kinds of questions. Do I know the price of corn? No — but…

  • Claire Brimley working on paperwork in DC house
    New Perspectives

    Promises I Can’t Keep

    Four days. That’s how long Shawn and I had to plan. I knew late Friday night that things were going badly, but it wasn’t until Saturday morning, January 6th, that the doctor told us that Shawn had “weeks, not months” to live. We thought we had at least a few weeks to get things together, but really, we ended up with only a few days. After we got the news, we cried. Well, mostly I cried. Shawn seemed to take it all in stride. He wanted to know how hospice worked and how we would make sure that he got all of his medicine. And then he wanted to plan…

  • Marjorie making breakfast with Claire before becoming a widow
    Things That Suck

    Why Being a Widowed Single Mom is So Hard

    I realize the title of this post could be an entire book.  There are like 1000 reasons why being a widowed single mom is so hard.  Today, however, I think I may have narrowed it down to one. The day started out like many days have started out in the past 6 months.  I woke up before the kids, came downstairs for some coffee and to prep the amazing amount of things that my kids need for their days.  My kids have learned to help each other, because they get that mom cannot possibly do everything they need.  So Austin went and got Tommy his clothes for the day and…

  • Brimley family gardening with single mom Marjorie
    Work

    It’s Just Me

    “Mom, where is my purple headband?” Claire yelled at me. “I asked you to put it in my drawer last night and it’s not here!” “Claire,” I answered, “I don’t know. I can’t deal with that right now.” It was 7:30 in the morning and I had three kids to get up and dressed and out of the house. I’m pretty sure I don’t need to describe the scene that lay before me, but it was filled with dirty dishes on the counter and pull-ups that needed changing and papers strewn everywhere. “Mom!” Claire continued to whine, “this is important!” “Claire,” I said sternly, “it’s not important that I find…

  • Shawn and Marjorie Brimley playing guitar and having fun
    Things That Suck

    To Update the Account

    At 5 am the day Shawn died, I called and woke up my friend Becky. I needed her to get my will and bring the advance medical directive to the hospital so I could take over the medical decision-making for Shawn. She woke up our friend Michelle and they called a lawyer, who helped look over the documents. They got everything digitized and brought hard copies to me by the time the sun came up. I never needed them. Shawn died too quickly. I didn’t have to make any truly terrible decisions about his end-of-life care. But I’ll never forget them arriving at the crack of dawn, paperwork in hand.…