• Shawn and Marjorie Brimley kissing
    Missing Shawn

    My Flawed Husband

    I love reading things written by other widows. Even short Facebook posts are helpful for me because they remind me that I’m not the only one experiencing loss and that my feelings are not actually that bizarre (thank you, Hot Young Widows Club!) Sometimes, I find a good blog and spend hours learning more about the experiences of someone else. This happened to me the other day, and I read all about a woman who also lost her spouse at a young age. Like me, she wrote about the life she shared with her husband and young kids. But there was one glaring difference. She did not post anything that…

  • Shawn and Marjorie Brimley playing guitar and having fun
    Things That Suck

    To Update the Account

    At 5 am the day Shawn died, I called and woke up my friend Becky. I needed her to get my will and bring the advance medical directive to the hospital so I could take over the medical decision-making for Shawn. She woke up our friend Michelle and they called a lawyer, who helped look over the documents. They got everything digitized and brought hard copies to me by the time the sun came up. I never needed them. Shawn died too quickly. I didn’t have to make any truly terrible decisions about his end-of-life care. But I’ll never forget them arriving at the crack of dawn, paperwork in hand.…

  • Brimleys holding hands in hospital
    Things That Suck

    I’m Not Grateful

    I really should just stop looking at Facebook, at least at the end of the day.  I actually like hearing the updates from friends and family and I don’t even mind the cute (and curated) photos of everyone’s kids and vacations.  But – and I mean this in the kindest way I can say – the quotes that appear on my screen are often really awful.  Here was one I stumbled across today:  “Motherhood sucks me dry of my time, of my energy, of my independence.  But when I fall into bed at the end of an upended day, when the tired I feel is already bleeding over into tomorrow,…

  • Marjorie Brimley and Tommy before becoming a widow
    Things That Suck


    I was dropping off Tommy at a play date the other day with a friend. The mother, my friend, had invited a few kids over, and as I turned around, I saw one of Tommy’s classmates with her dad. He looked at me, trying to place me. Our mutual friend said, “Oh, I’m sure you know Tommy’s mom.” He froze. I stood there awkwardly, balancing my youngest kid on my hip. “I’m Marjorie,” I said to him. “I think we met at the parent social but it’s great to see you again.” He fumbled through some sort of greeting, but it didn’t matter. I’d seen him freeze, and I knew…

  • Clark cousins at zoo in Washington DC
    New Perspectives

    It Doesn’t Matter

    When I turned 39, I decided that since no one was around to buy me a really nice birthday present, I would buy myself one.  Shawn and I both believed that it was important to do nice things for yourself, so I knew he would have approved.  In any case, I recently got a great new camera and I’ve spent the past few weeks taking test photos of my children. Last week, my cousin came to town and we took the kids to the zoo, so I used the opportunity to bust out my new camera and see what it could do.  I think I took about a thousand photos…

  • Austin Brimley fishing on camping trip in Virginia
    Missing Shawn

    The Last Perfect Weekend

    Last weekend, on three of the prettiest days of the spring, I found myself back in a place that I loved. I was cabin camping with my kids and our dear friends, a trip that we’ve done every six months for many years. Tommy climbed into my lap that afternoon and I rocked him in the rocking chair on the back porch of my cabin as I chatted with my friends. The other kids explored the forest and rode their bikes. One of the guys made us a batch of margaritas, and we toasted to a great weekend. Just about then, I looked down and realized that Tommy was asleep.…