• Austin and Chris walk in street for blog by DC widow writer Marjorie Brimley Hale
    Parenting

    What Would He Be Like?

    My kids like to ask questions that surprise me. They’re much more curious about illness and death and things like guardianship papers than most other kids their age, so I’m used to tough questions. We talk about what happens when people die, how adults plan for death and what it means to die young. You’d think I’d be prepared for every question, and yet, they still continue to surprise me. The other day, we were sitting around the dinner table talking about what would happen to them if Chris and I died. (They really want the specifics. I get it. It’s a possibility they know exists in the world.) Chris…

  • DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley Hale hugs husband Chris at wedding
    Love and Chris

    What If It’s Better?

    One of my favorite things to do is to read fiction. After a break when the kids were babies, I started to read fiction again in 2017, the year that Shawn got sick. Obviously, when he was in the hospital, my reading was put on hold, and once he died I found I couldn’t focus long enough to do much reading of anything. But as I began to heal, I also began to read again. Nonfiction was impossible for me at first, so I stuck with beach reads and dystopian fiction, my two favorites. Once Chris and I were seriously dating, he marveled at how I could get lost in…

  • 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,…

  • Sea by Eastport for blog by DC widow writer Marjorie Brimley Hale
    New Perspectives

    Along the Coastline

    The music was loud and the wind whipped through the car as we drove north. Chris and I had dropped our kids at overnight camp in Maine and had a weekend to ourselves. The scenery, especially as we neared the border, was spectacular. We were in Eastport (“Easternmost city in the United States!“) and it seemed that all that was ahead of us was the sea and the Canadian provinces of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. “Shawn always said Nova Scotia was the most beautiful place in the world,” I said to Chris. “He wanted to take me there. But I can’t imagine it being more beautiful than this.” “Well,…

  • Children of DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley Hale watch fireworks
    Holidays

    How We Remember

    I’ve been in Texas all week, gathering with my family as we do every year. It’s been lovely, full of all the things that make my family great – big pool parties, loud arguments, belly laughs and a whole lot of ice cream. I haven’t done any work, and I haven’t even thought about writing, until now. I’ve simply enjoyed the company of my aunts and uncles and cousins and the zillion kids that are here. It’s been glorious. And so, it was a bit odd to be getting ready for lunch yesterday when I realized that it was July 3rd. It surprised me. Not that I had remembered the…

  • Microphone for blog by DC widow writer Marjorie Brimley Hale
    Missing Shawn

    What If?

    I teach the only International Relations class at my school, so I’ve spent a lot of time over the past few months listening to the news. I am a particular fan of podcasts, because I can also cook or clean or do other tasks while I listen. And right now, all I’m listening to is one news analysis after another, particularly around the war in Ukraine. Did Putin miscalculate? What do we know about Zelensky? How are refugees faring? I like listening to podcasts, because I like knowing about the world and because – like many people – I find it hard to look away from what’s happening in Ukraine.…