• Brimley family treadmill in basement in Washington DC house
    Missing Shawn

    The Treadmill

    People really hate having treadmills in their houses. I’ve heard this before, but I truly realized it a few months ago when I posted this to my community listserve: I’m looking for a free/cheap treadmill. If you have one you’d like to sell or give away, please email me. I got three responses in the first 20 minutes it was up. I wanted a treadmill because it’s been really hard to figure out how to fit in a workout without Shawn around.  Of course, my dad is almost always home during the school year, but in the mornings (when I liked to work out) the kids really just want me. …

  • Rain falling in stock image
    Things That Suck

    Who’s Saving Our Basement? (Part 2)

    DC has been getting a LOT of rain. My sister came to visit a week ago, and we had grand plans to go to the pool and the zoo and on all sorts of fun adventures.  Instead, we’ve been stuck inside having marathon dance parties and playing laser tag.  Even for two girls from Oregon, this rain was too much. Wednesday night, I invited over a few friends for some food and a break from the rain-filled monotony of the day.  It was pouring.  The kids ran around playing laser tag and we drank wine, marveling at the intensity of the rainstorm.  I think I was in the middle of…

  • Claire Brimley reading while Marjorie reads books about grief

    Reading with Claire

    Every night, the routine is the same.  I read a book to Tommy.  I read a book to Austin.  Then I sit on the end of their bed until they fall asleep.  They have a bunk bed, but they both sleep in the bottom bunk together.  This is something they did for most of 2017, and it seemed like last fall, Austin was ready to move to the top bunk.  Of course, now all bets are off.  It’s actually comforting to me that they have each other, even if it means that when one of them wakes up and comes to my bed in the middle of the night, the…

  • Marjorie making breakfast with Claire before becoming a widow
    Things That Suck

    Why Being a Widowed Single Mom is So Hard

    I realize the title of this post could be an entire book.  There are like 1000 reasons why being a widowed single mom is so hard.  Today, however, I think I may have narrowed it down to one. The day started out like many days have started out in the past 6 months.  I woke up before the kids, came downstairs for some coffee and to prep the amazing amount of things that my kids need for their days.  My kids have learned to help each other, because they get that mom cannot possibly do everything they need.  So Austin went and got Tommy his clothes for the day and…

  • Claire Brimley in Brimley kitchen before losing her father
    Missing Shawn


    I was chatting with some of my girlfriends the other day when we began to discuss this guy one of them knew who lives in another city.  I can’t remember his name, so I’ll call him Bob.  Anyway, Bob is apparently single and my friend wanted to find him a girlfriend.  We all spent time having a heated, if somewhat ridiculous discussion about which teacher at our kids’ elementary school we’d like to see him date.  Then, one of the women there said, “But really, I don’t really have any friends who are single anymore.” Others chimed in.  A few people had some divorced friends, but most of the situations…

  • Nana and grandkids in the pool in Texas during family reunion
    Family & Friends


    One day near the end of the school year, I picked Austin up and he insisted that we call his Nana.  “Today at school,” he told me, “we had a cake made out of ice cream for a birthday party.  I want to call Nana and see if they have those kind of cakes in Texas!” I smiled, and felt a bit guilty too.  Had I really never introduced ice cream cake to my 7-year-old? We called Nana, and she picked up on the first ring.  “Hi Nana,” Austin started. “Austin!” Nana shouted.  I could picture her face – smiling and full of life. “Guess what?” Austin asked her.  “We had…