• Claire and Marjorie Brimley on a farm outside Washington DC

    Full Time

    For the past four years, I have walked my kids to school every day.  When Tommy was born, I went to part-time and the flexibility allowed me to take my kids to school and pick them up most days.  Shawn walked them some mornings, especially as the kids got older and there were different preschool and elementary school drop offs that we needed to share.  In fact, the last morning he had with them before he entered the hospital, we walked the kids to school together.  We had to drive part of the way, but he soldiered on and we made sure to drop each of them with their respective…

  • Shawn and Marjorie Brimley at their wedding in Oregon
    Missing Shawn

    Where Should We Begin?

    Right now, I’m obsessed with the podcast “Where Should We Begin?” by Esther Perel.  The host is a couples therapist, and the podcast is basically her sitting down with a couple and discussing whatever is going on in their marriage.  I stumbled upon it after listening to Perel on the podcast “Terrible, Thanks for Asking” which is hosted by the Hot Young Widows Club founder, Nora McInerny.  So, oddly, I have spent now countless hours listening to a podcast about couples because of a connection I have through one of my spousal loss groups. In any case, I love Perel’s podcast.  I’ve listened to couples dealing with infidelity, couples who…

  • Marjorie Brimley with husband Shawn at the birth of their son Tommy in hospital
    New Perspectives

    Brave Through It

    I woke up Wednesday morning with a smile on my face. I can’t remember the last time that happened. The night before, I received a text from my closest friend at work that she had delivered her first child, a boy. I had lived through her pregnancy in a way that I hadn’t ever done with my other friends. I remember helping her navigate the early days of pregnancy, getting baby bump pictures while I was in the hospital with Shawn and watching my daughter tenderly touch her belly at Shawn’s funeral. When I came back to work, we talked a lot about my life, which was sad, but we…

  • Tommy Brimley Baptism in Washington DC church
    New Perspectives

    Peace Be With You

    Getting to church on time has proven to be very difficult in the past few months.  Hell, getting anywhere on time in the past few months has been tough.  So it was no surprise when I arrived to services halfway through the first reading with my three kids last Sunday.  Austin and Claire ran ahead and found Austin’s godparents, Josh and Becky.  They were sitting in a row with their own children and an elderly couple on the aisle.  My kids starting climbing over this couple to get to Josh and Becky.  They were making a huge racket and I embarrassingly sat down in an adjacent row with Tommy.  Becky gave…

  • Shawn Brimley teaching Claire to play the guitar
    Missing Shawn

    Pooping on the Potty

    Yesterday afternoon I heard the ding of a new text message as I was sitting in our school library, attempting to grade an essay.  “Good news,” my dad wrote, “Tommy pooped on the potty at preschool today.  He is very proud of himself.” “That’s incredible!” I texted back. Seconds later, I had the immediate thought that I should text Shawn.  It’s a reflex that’s still there months after it should have ended.  I don’t ever actually start texting him, but the moment where I think, “I cannot wait to tell Shawn about this,” always occurs when something like this happens with our kids. I didn’t text him.  But I did…

  • Claire and Austin Brimley in Rock Creek Park in DC

    Why Do All the Damn Parents Die in Disney movies?

    A few weeks ago, Claire was invited to a birthday party at the movies to see “A Wrinkle in Time.”  It’s a movie about a girl who has to find her lost father.  Thoughtfully, the mother of the birthday girl texted me to see if I thought it would be a good idea for Claire to watch the movie, or if it was better to plan a separate event for our two kids.  I talked to Claire about it, and we watched the trailer together.  She was excited about the movie, and didn’t seem upset by any of it, so I let her go. But this got me thinking.  If…