• Son of DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley looks at crossword puzzle
    Family & Friends

    Guess Random Numbers

    Every night at dinner, we do highs and lows. Last week, Tommy had a big low, and we all talked about it. That day, he had a math assessment. He’s in first grade, so this assessment didn’t seem too difficult. He just had to do basic subtraction. But he struggled, and we could hear him sigh – and then cry – from the dining room table where he does virtual school. We texted his teacher about it, and she was kind and loving and gave us some strategies to help him. We tried to encourage him and he finally finished and felt relatively accomplished. We were glad he persevered through…

  • Children bury Tommy in sand for blog by DC widow writer Marjorie Brimley
    Family & Friends

    Seven Kisses

    Every night at bedtime, you make me give you six kisses. “Because I’m six!” you say, and you count them up each time. It doesn’t matter if I’m tired or if I’m stressed or if I really just need you to get in bed. I have to do those six kisses. Tonight, I’ll give you seven. Because today, my sweet Tommy, you are seven years old. How impossible it was to imagine, all those years ago, that you would be a boy that is thriving? That despite the fact that you lost your dad when you were just three, you’d still find a way to see so much joy in…

  • Tommy's drawing of mom for DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley
    Holidays

    Water and Fire

    The first Thanksgiving we spent without Shawn was really hard. We were with our dear friends Josh and Becky, out on Josh’s family farm, surrounded by people who loved us. But it felt heavy. And I was Just. So. Tired. One of the nights, Tommy woke up at 2 am, crying about something, and I couldn’t comfort him. Eventually, I brought him into my bed where he calmed down, his snotty face resting against my chest. I stayed awake for a long time, thinking about how I was the only person who could comfort him. Yes, there was a whole household of people there who loved him, but there was…

  • Partner and sons of DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley walk in a field
    New Perspectives

    Make a Prediction (Part 2)

    For the past few weeks, Tommy has continued to practice “making predictions” during his quiet reading time. Sometimes, he gets it right (“I predict that the dog is going to rescue the little boy!”) but sometimes he still cannot grasp what will come next. Claire and Austin have been trying to help him, but that doesn’t stop the wild predictions Tommy sometimes creates in his head. “Maybe….” he might say, a slight smile on his face, “the dog decides to blast into outer space!” So while it seems like Tommy can understand this idea of “making predictions” it’s still not something that comes naturally to him. His life doesn’t revolve…

  • ER hallway like that visited by DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley
    Things That Suck

    Room 9

    Tommy’s clothes were covered in blood when I saw him. He’d been playing football with the big kids and had finally gotten the ball. Excited by this thrilling turn of events, he took off…and collided with the iron fence. The cut on his head was deep. He needed to go to the ER. Chris volunteered to go, but the health insurance for Tommy comes from me. As we’ve already discovered, just because the kids and I think of Chris as a parent doesn’t mean he legally has those advantages at this point. I needed to take Tommy. Chris would stay behind with the big kids, both of whom were pretty…

  • DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley walks away from the camera with son Tommy
    Dating

    Being Alone is Scary

    One night in early February, as the wind whipped the trees so hard that they seemed to bend sideways, I laid in bed and tried to warm up my freezing toes. Life finally had a rhythm to it, and I was getting used to year three of widowhood. I thought about Valentine’s Day, and how it was around the corner, and I was still without a partner. This year, however, I was feeling a sense of peace about my singledom. I was still dating, but the urgency of finding someone new had abated. As I sat there writing and thinking, Tommy came to my door and then climbed into my…