• Marjorie and Chris Hale at their wedding reception for blog by DC widow writer
    New Perspectives

    Last Post: There’s No Handbook For How to Do This

    5 years ago today, I started this blog. It was my birthday, and I was turning 39. Shawn had been gone for about six weeks at that point and honestly, I was still mostly in shock. I hadn’t yet hit rock bottom (though I believed I already had) and I was hoping that the blog might be a way for me to start to heal. Or at least I hoped it could be a place for me to tell my friends and family why I wasn’t returning their phone calls. My friend Caitlin helped me set up the blog in the weeks leading up to my birthday. I did all…

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

    Letter to Shawn (Part 2)

    Dear Shawn, Right now, I am watching the sunset. It is gorgeous, and I am happy. It occurred to me that this might be strange for you to hear, all these years later. I was so sure that I’d never be happy without you, but here I am, more than 5 years after you left this earth and I am telling you that it is true. I am happy. So if you can somehow access this letter, I want you to know I’ve been thinking of you. I’ve been thinking of all that has changed since you left us and all that is somehow just as you imagined it back…

  • DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley Hale smiles at Grandpa Tom before wedding
    From the Archives

    From the Archives: On the Phone with My Dad

    It was those early days in the pandemic, and I spent most of the time during the day with my kids and my students, but in the late afternoons, I talked to my dad. Evenings had become a race to bedtime so I could spend the rest of night on the phone with Chris. It was a weird – and somehow happy – existence. One day as I began to prepare dinner in the late afternoon, I called my dad. We spoke on FaceTime as I chopped vegetables, and he told me stories about what was happening in my hometown. How were we doing in DC? Was I feeling okay?…

  • Grandpa Tom, father of DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley Hale, hugs a friend
    From the Archives

    From the Archives: Aren’t We Lucky?

    “Aren’t we lucky?” When I was a kid, it was one of my dad’s favorite phrases to say. When he’d realize that frozen grape juice concentrate was on sale or that my mom had made stir-fry or that the local newspaper was delivered early, he’d smile as though he’d won the lottery. As a young child, I was delighted in how he embraced serendipity, but as I approached the teen years, I thought it was annoying. “Listen! It’s my favorite song on the radio!” he’d say in his characteristic Texas twang, and I’d retort, “Dad, every song is your favorite song.” He never let my teenage doubts get to him.…

  • DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley Hale dances at wedding with husband Chris
    From the Archives

    From the Archives: Falling for Chris

    It was the early days of the pandemic. And I was falling hard. Chris and I were just texting, I reminded myself. A series of texts didn’t mean true love. Maybe he didn’t want more. But then, we started to talk on the phone. It was innocent at first, just a catch-up to touch base during such a strange time, a simple “hello” that turned into a three-hour conversation during which my kids got way too much screen time and I missed their bedtime by an hour. That same night, he asked how I was feeling about dating and relationships at that point in my life. “I want to date…

  • Family of DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley Hale in the kitchen
    From the Archives

    From the Archives: Playing on the Roof

    Tommy greeted me breathlessly at the door, screaming “Mama!” and throwing himself in my arms. I was late, again. Teaching was supposed to be a job where you got home early, but that first fall without Shawn there seemed to be too many students who needed my help and too many papers to grade. I was getting home when the sun was low in the sky almost every day. “I’m sorry I’m late,” I said as I stepped in the door. Inside were a half-dozen kids and I could hear more upstairs.  I went and greeted my dad, who was reading in the recliner, seemingly oblivious to the noise around…