• DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley Hale at her wedding with husband Chris and father Grandpa Tom
    New Perspectives

    No One’s Looking at You

    A few days before our wedding, my dad called me to chat. “Well,” he started, “I tried on my suit, but the pants have holes in them!” I laughed. My dad used to dress only in suits, but he’s gotten rid of a lot of them since he retired. “Dad, it’s time to buy a new suit!” “I don’t need a new suit!” he said. “The jacket is in good shape, and I found some pants that are just fine. They’re both blue. They’re not exactly the same color, but who cares!” I imagined my dad standing in his mismatched blue suit at the wedding. “Well, Dad, remember you’ll be…

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • Father and child of DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley in their kitchen
    Family & Friends

    Why Heat the House When I Can Wear a Hat?

    It’s been almost a year since I last hugged my dad. I know I’m not special in this regard. I know that so many people have lost so much more. I feel lucky that my dad loves to talk on the phone and FaceTime with his grandkids. I am relieved that he is safe in rural Oregon, away from the germs of my children and the crowds of the big city and the Covid spikes that have happened around the country. I am glad that he doesn’t mind solitude. I usually call him as I’m making dinner. It’s one of my favorite times of day now. It’s funny – I…

  • Grandpa Tom makes breakfast for DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley in kitchen
    Family & Friends

    Do You Know What’s Hard?

    “Grandpa Toooooom!” Claire, Austin and Tommy were all trying to cram their faces into the screen at the same time, shouting their grandfather’s name and jumping up and down. It’s not like they hadn’t seen his face lately – we FaceTime as a family at least a few times a week – but rather that they were excited to each share the latest updates of their lives. Tommy wanted to show off his new book on space, Austin wanted to talk about his backyard science experiment and Claire was trying to describe her most recent adventure in baking. Grandpa Tom was all smiles as he listened. “That’s great!” he said…

  • 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…