• Road in forest for blog by DC widow writer Marjorie Brimley Hale
    From the Archives

    From the Archives: That’s What We Have Right Now. Hope.

    My dad arrived a week before Christmas. Initially, when Shawn was diagnosed, he’d offered to come in January for the duration of the chemotherapy. Shawn and I thought it would take about six months, and my dad could help our family until the worst was over.   What we didn’t know was that my dad had different plans. After he saw the scans that were taken a few days before Shawn’s colonoscopy, he knew it was much worse than we realized. I didn’t know till later that he’d sat at his computer in his living room and held a printout of the scan, crying as he looked at it.   My dad…

  • Family of DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley Hale together before Shawn's death
    From the Archives

    From the Archives: Marjorie, What If I’m Dying?

    Throughout the past 4 1/2 years, I’ve written pieces that never appeared on the blog. Sometimes, these pieces of writing were too raw for me to share, and sometimes they were simply musings that I wasn’t sure were interesting for a bigger audience. Often, I wrote to process what had happened and to try and understand how my life had turned out the way it did. These writings went in a folder, and for the next few months, I plan to share some of them with you. I’m calling these posts, “From the Archives”. Here’s the first one. The pain in Shawn’s gut became obvious at the end of October,…

  • Cookbook image for blog by DC widow writer Marjorie Brimley Hale
    Family & Friends

    Widows in Quarantine

    I’ve taken Covid tests so often that I know what to expect. There’s always a bit of fear, but then…everything is fine. I’m tested every week at school, and I’ve taken more rapid tests than I can count. We made everyone Covid test for our wedding. And every single time I’ve taken one, it’s been negative. Apparently, according to my dad and the National Institutes of Health, having an allergy to nuts (which I have) lowers your risk of getting Covid. Hey, I’ll take it! I mean, I’m a teacher and have been teaching in person for over a year. I have three kids in different schools and I eat…

  • Microscope for blog by DC widow writer Marjorie Brimley Hale on colon cancer awareness
    Holidays

    National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

    It’s only been a couple of decades since President Clinton declared that March would be National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. And it’s only been a couple of years since I’ve known about it. It’s strange, how unaware I was about colon cancer, an illness that is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer and the second leading cause of cancer death (in men and women combined) in the United States. Seriously, before Shawn got colon cancer, I’m not sure I knew anything about it. It was a disease old people got, right? That’s why you got a colonoscopy when you’re old, right? I guess it could seem surprising that even though…

  • Orange flowers for blog by DC widow writer Marjorie Brimley
    Things That Suck

    The Room at the Hospital

    I had to get a mammogram the other day. I might be a young widow, but I’m not that young, and I was already months behind on my check-up due to the pandemic. I’m never behind – I am deeply fearful of cancer – so I donned my mask and went to the appointment. As usual, the initial mammogram was inconclusive. Something is almost always a bit strange with my body, and I usually have to get the follow-up testing. The doctor told me they could do it immediately, but I’d need to change rooms and wait just a bit for the technician to do the procedure. She brought me…

  • Steaming tea kettle used by DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley
    Things That Suck

    Sore Throat

    I woke up with a sore throat this morning.* I’m writing this at 5:30 in the morning. A few minutes ago, I woke up with a slight headache and a sore throat. It’s the kind of thing that I would have totally dismissed a month ago. I would have pulled myself together, taken an Advil, gone running with Purva and taught a day’s worth of lessons, never thinking about the sore throat again. But these are not normal times, are they? So I’m sitting in my living room drinking honey and lemon tea, trying not to freak out. I can already hear what my dad and sister are going to…