• Brimley kids watching fireworks after death of Shawn

    I Want to Die Right Now Because at Least Then I Wouldn’t Have to Carry Anyone Home After They Throw Up from Eating Too Much Ice Cream

    The title of this blog post is from an actual text I sent some of my girlfriends this summer. If there’s something that sums up my summer, it’s probably that text. By August, I was so exhausted that the idea that I had to do one more thing for my kids was just too much. So, as I sat watching Tommy eat an ice cream cone that was bigger than his head, I thought, “dear God, please don’t let him throw up. If he does, I’m going to have a mental breakdown.” And hence, this text. My friends all laughed and offered encouragement, because that’s what friends do. They knew…

  • Waves crashing on the pier during Brimley family vacation
    Things That Suck

    Running With Anger

    I may have mentioned it once or twice but just in case you didn’t know, this summer has been really hard on me. Mostly, it’s been exhausting from the combination of a thousand marker events (like Shawn’s birthday) and the toll that single parenting has taken on me. I hope I never have another summer like this one. So many people have helped me but no matter how many people do, I continue to be totally overwhelmed. I think this is why I need to run almost every day. Usually, I do it on my treadmill, but sometimes I am lucky and I get to go outside. Last week, while visiting friends,…

  • Claire Brimley holding Tommy's hand in the airport this summer
    New Perspectives

    The Marine

    While traveling this summer, I had one day that was particularly bad. I was alone with my three kids and we’d been bumped from our original flight to a later one. We were seated in random seats across the very last row of the plane, and everyone was exhausted. As we got on, I instructed Claire to hold Tommy’s hand and make sure he didn’t fall in the crack between the airplane and the tarmac. When we got to the last row, a kind woman there offered to switch seats so that all three kids could sit in a row. She said she didn’t mind and then offered me the…

  • Brimley backyard in Washington DC
    Things That Suck

    A Beautiful Day

    Is there anything worse than crying in the middle of a really beautiful day? I’m talking about a really beautiful day. You know what I mean. Those perfect days, where the temperature is just right and there’s fun music coming from over the neighbor’s fence and you can smell someone grilling? The kind of day that we all live for – the kind of day where you say, “Isn’t it great to be alive?” I used to have that feeling a lot. I can’t count the number of times I’ve said that exact phrase, “Isn’t it great to be alive?” and truly meant it. Now I just feel grateful to…

  • Marjorie Brimley next to statue in cemetery after Shawn's death
    New Perspectives

    That Poor Girl

    Right after Shawn’s funeral, I was standing in the church greeting people, when I heard someone around me say, “Oh, that poor girl.” I was in a deep fog, and so I didn’t really think much of it.  I was also standing with Claire, so it’s possible whomever said it was talking about her. But for some reason, it’s one of the things I remember from the line at the church.  Isn’t that odd?  Of all the things to stick in my head, that was one of them.  I started to think about it the other day, and it made me remember my mom’s funeral, and something that happened there. …

  • Marjorie Brimley laughing with friends after becoming a widow
    New Perspectives

    The Power of the Word “Widow”

    A few weeks ago, I heard through friends that the General Manager of Millie’s, our favorite neighborhood restaurant, had died after being shot a few weeks prior.  He left behind a wife and baby.  I didn’t know them, but I can’t stop thinking about his family.  Many people I know posted things on social media or shared text messages about what had happened.  Everyone expressed sympathy for his wife.  I reached out to a few friends who knew her, offering condolences and any help I could offer when she’s ready. But you know what I felt for her?  Sympathy.  “It’s so awful,” I said to my sister.  “Another young widow.”…