• Book for blog by DC widow writer Marjorie Brimley Hale
    From the Archives

    From the Archives: My Mom’s Diary (Part 1 of 2)

    To be honest, I wasn’t sure if I was ready to face my mom’s diary. What was it going to tell me about who she had been? How might it change the memories I had of her? Was it even right to read someone else’s diary, even if she had left it for us to find? I knew I couldn’t do it at home. For some reason, I wanted to be away both from my kids and from my dad. It wasn’t just about the constant interruptions that happened at home, but rather more that I needed a clear head. Becky and Michelle offered to go away with me for…

  • Candles at funeral for blog by DC widow writer Marjorie Brimley Hale
    From the Archives

    From the Archives: It’s Hard for People Who Don’t Know the Whole Story

    Fall seemed too quick the year Shawn died, though maybe it was better that way. I didn’t want to spend the whole season reliving his illness. Instead, I spent a lot of time writing in the safety and warmth of my bedroom, though I also found refuge in my kitchen after the kids’ bedtime. I still wasn’t cooking much, but I could brew a cup of tea and eat a bowl of chocolate chips and feel like I was getting some sort of treat. One night, when I was up finishing a blog post about my life just after my mom died, my dad came downstairs. “You writing?” he asked…

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

    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…

  • Mother of DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley
    Holidays

    Happy Birthday to My Mom

    My mom would be 72 today, if she had lived beyond middle age. She lived a full life, even if it was short, but she never got to watch her daughters get married or hold her grandchildren. She never became a photographer or a teacher later in life, and she never lived long enough to think about dying her hair or letting it go gray. She missed the many events that come with grown children and grandchildren and she missed the life she could have had. She missed it. And for much of my life when I thought about my mom’s death, I’d think about the events in my life…

  • Queen Anne's Lace
    Family & Friends

    Queen Anne’s Lace

    My mother was beautiful as a young woman, or at least that’s what my dad always says. Actually, he always says that she was beautiful at every age, and I know he means it. I remember her much more as an older woman of the 1980s and 1990s, wearing culotte shorts and sporting the hair of the time period. She looked like any other mom, I guess, and I never thought of her as particularly beautiful. But to my dad, she was. My dad loves to talk about my mom. I knew her better than my kids ever knew Shawn, because I had more time with her. But of course…

  • Two photos of Marjorie Brimley's parents and husband before the death of her mom and Shawn
    Things That Suck

    20 Years

    Two decades ago, a woman I barely knew shook me awake. I was staying with a friend on one of my days off as a camp counselor, and I had gone to bed early only to be awoken at dawn by my friend’s mother. “Your father is on the phone,” she said to me. I was disoriented, but went to the kitchen to pick up the phone. “Hello?” “Marjorie,” my dad said.  I knew something was wrong immediately by the tone of his voice.  And then he said the words that would change my life forever. “Your mother killed herself last night.” “No,” I said, “no, no, no!” I fell…