• Marjorie Brimley and kids with cake for Shawn's birthday after his death

    Shawn’s Birthday, Part 2

    As promised, I took the kids to the cemetery on their Dad’s birthday, which was Wednesday. I had no idea how it would go. They were at a tennis camp with my friend Christine’s two kids, and so when it came time to go, Christine decided that she’d come with her kids too. So we loaded them up and took off right after lunch – just two moms on an outing with their kids to the cemetery. We talked a lot in the car about the cemetery. I told them that it looked like a park and that Shawn’s grave had a marker on it and grass growing over it.…

  • Austin Brimley looking at Shawn Brimley's grave outside DC

    Shawn’s Birthday

    My kids always seem to have a knack of knowing when important dates are coming up.  They are too young to use calendars, so they don’t usually recognize when something is about to happen.  But somehow, in the past six months, they’ve known when a big event is on the horizon.  Maybe that’s because I become anxious, and they can feel it in the air. Father’s Day was like this.  The kids didn’t know exactly when it was, but they seemed to be just a little more on edge in the days leading up to it.  And so, I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised when they were totally wild…

  • Road that is empty outside Washington DC
    New Perspectives

    5 Stars

    Living in DC means taking cabs. Shawn and I took plenty of cabs for the 13 years we lived in DC together, and he always loved chatting with the drivers. I remember one time when we were going out he got into a long discussion with our driver who had fled Iran during the 1979 revolution. Our friends who were also in the cab were blown away with how much Shawn knew about the revolution. Our driver, who became Shawn’s newest best friend, was pretty impressed too. But now I’m taking cabs alone, so I prefer using a car service where I can see who my driver is. I especially…

  • A portrait of Shawn Brimley for CNAS

    CNAS Tribute to Shawn

    Below is the speech I gave on Thursday, June 21st in honor of Shawn.  The CNAS Next Gen Program will now be called the Shawn Brimley Next Generation National Security Leaders Program. Thank you all for having me here, and congratulations to the Next Gen Class of 2018. I am Marjorie Brimley, Shawn Brimley’s wife.  I’ve been invited here to tell you a little bit more about Shawn. Shawn and I met teaching in Japan, and he proposed a year later on the beach with a ring made out of a coconut shell.  We moved to Washington with very little except each other and a belief that somehow we could…

  • Austin Brimley eating Brussels Sprouts in DC
    Family & Friends

    Brussels Sprouts

    A few days ago, I came home from an afternoon at the pool and said “screw it” to a formal dinner.  The kids were starving and I had eggs in the refrigerator, so that’s what everyone was getting.  I also decided that we’d all get in our PJs and then eat dinner while watching Kung Fu Panda. Obviously, there’s a lot of “winging it” going on now that school’s out. In any case, I sent Claire and Tommy up to take baths, and Austin begged to go over to see the next-door neighbor.  I relented.  He’d taken a shower (I think?) at the pool, or at least he told me…

  • Shawn and Tommy Brimley on river before cancer

    Father’s Day

    My anxiety around Father’s Day this year was out of control.  I guess that’s to be expected, but I had a hard time focusing on the last few days of school because I was obsessed with what would happen on Sunday.  It’s not like Father’s Day was this huge event in our house in previous years.  My kids would make Shawn a card and maybe he’d go see a movie with friends. But still.  It’s such a marker of what we don’t have that seemingly everyone else in the world has. I know that’s not true, of course.  I know there are lots of single moms out there, and plenty…