• 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…

  • Trees and mountains for blog by DC widow writer Marjorie Brimley
    New Perspectives

    On Details and Memory

    I was talking with my sister the other day. We were trying to remember some things about my mom. When did she get sick? When did we know? When was it obvious to other people? We could remember the basics: that she had depression our entire lives, that it got worse when we were young teenagers, that by the time we were both in high school she rarely got out of bed. But the other details were hard to remember. What year did we take the last trip together as a family to the mountains? Three years before she died? More? You would think we would remember everything – she…

  • Stethoscope for blog by DC widow writer Marjorie Brimley
    Family & Friends

    The Vaccine

    I saw the text and immediately started crying. “I got the vaccine!” It was from my sister Lindsay. I called her immediately. She was smiling and I was laugh/crying with relief as we spoke. Her baby girl was sitting in a high chair, cramming pancakes in her mouth, and my kids came over to say hello and do a cheer. The vaccine! I wasn’t expecting her text, even though Lindsay is an emergency room nurse in a busy urban hospital. Even though she spends much of every 12-hour shift with confirmed Covid-positive patients. Even though she wanted the vaccine as soon as it was available. I had called her the…

  • DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley with her sister
    Family & Friends

    Fierce Loyalty

    When my mom died, my dad couldn’t face cleaning out her closet. I was just 19, and so it didn’t fully make sense to me why the closet had more meaning than any other space. I volunteered to do it, and along with my sister Lindsay and our childhood friend Marcie, I went through my mother’s clothes. It was a quiet process, which is my lasting memory. Marcie took things out of the closet and my sister and I sorted through them. My sister, always meticulous, folded the clothes that we were going to keep. I don’t remember much else. I do remember that Lindsay and I talked very little…

  • Nurse in mask like that of sister of DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley
    Family & Friends

    Front Lines

    My sister Lindsay is an ER nurse. And let me just state the obvious: Right now is not an easy time to be an ER nurse. The other day, she called as she was leaving work, clearly exhausted. She lives on the West Coast and works the night shift, so we usually talk when it’s mid-morning for me and she’s traveling home. I asked her about how things were going and we discussed how hard her shifts had become, how they were making tough decisions about testing or not testing potential cases of COVID-19, and the shortage of masks. Lindsay doesn’t sugar coat things, and she acknowledged that without the…

  • DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley smiles with her sister in front of pink background
    Family & Friends

    I Am Someone New, Too

    My sister had a baby last month. I was abroad when it happened, and I spent hundreds of dollars that day on my phone bill. I could hear the thrill of new parenthood in her voice, even just a few hours after she became a mom. I went to visit her a few weeks later. The second I saw her, I felt like I was going to start crying. There she was, holding her baby in a sling on her chest. The baby was sleeping. And my sister was beaming. In that moment, I could see it. My sister was the person she’d always been: thoughtful, and with a great…