• DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley as a child with her mother
    Family

    Why? (On the Anniversary of My Mom’s Death)

    One night a few years ago, when my dad was living with me after Shawn died, I was up late working on this blog in the kitchen. My dad had been reading in his room, listening to Gordon Lightfoot after we had put the kids to bed, but he came downstairs and met me to say goodnight. I was stuck on something I was writing and somehow we ended up talking for a long time about my mom. Though we often discussed my mom in general terms, we had just started talking about what it was like when she was sick. For a long time, we’d let that part of…

  • Arial view of 4 doctors like those treating husband of DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley
    What Not to Say

    Questions

    There were so many questions after Shawn died. So many. Was there a family history of cancer? Did he exercise? What were the warning signs? Why didn’t you demand a colonoscopy earlier? Did he have a regular doctor? Did he smoke? Did the medical team try immunotherapy? Did he eat a special diet? Did he drink a lot? Did he have symptoms earlier in the year? Was he healthy otherwise? Those were just some of the things people asked me. Of course there were questions. Shawn was an incredibly vibrant 40-year-old. How could this happen, they wondered? But the big question was lurking under all of these questions, one that…