• Child of Marjorie Brimley dressed up in zombie costume for Halloween in DC

    Dad Is Not a Zombie

    A few weeks ago, I was driving through DC with Tommy and we passed a cemetery. “Mom, look!” he said, “graves!” “Yes,” I said. “There are graves in a….” He stopped because he couldn’t find the word. “Cemetery,” I answered. “And,” he said, “there are zombies in cemeteries.” I didn’t expect him to say that, so I paused for a second to reply and then before I could say anything else, he said, “My Dad is in a cemetery. So my Dad is a zombie!” “Dad is not a zombie,” I said back to him. “Dad died and his body is in the ground. He did not become a zombie.”…

  • Shawn Brimley and his three children hugging in front of their DC home

    CNAS Tribute to Shawn (Part 2)

    Below are the remarks I gave on October 29, 2018 at the CNAS event honoring the life and work of Shawn Brimley. Thank you all so much for being here to honor Shawn. I thought a lot about what I wanted to say to you tonight. Shawn was a brilliant, funny, thoughtful man, and I have many good things to say about him and his impact on the world. It’s hard to choose the best Shawn story or fully describe the impact he had on his coworkers, friends and family. Instead, I decided I would speak about what Shawn valued as his greatest lifetime achievement: being a dad to Claire,…

  • Austin Brimley running during Colon Cancer run in DC 2018
    Things That Suck

    Guns and Cancer

    After Shawn died, my friends Ilan and Phil organized a group to participate in the Colon Cancer Run here in DC. There were hundreds of people who showed up and the event raised thousands of dollars. As I was running with the kids that day, I thought about how supported and loved I felt. When I turned the corner mid-way through the run, I saw the Capitol and snapped this cover photo of our oldest boy – number 5008 – running towards it. I thought about this moment when I first saw news of the shooting last weekend at the Tree of Life Synagogue. Of course, I was horrified. And…

  • Facial creme at a salon where DC widow Marjorie Brimley went in this story
    New Perspectives

    Life advice from the aesthetician

    “Do you have kids?” the woman at the salon asked me. It was an innocuous question – one that I’ve asked other people a million times. But I knew where it might go. “I do,” I said, “three of them. All under 10.” “Wow,” she said, “that’s a lot of kids to handle.” “Well, yes, especially since I’m a single mom,” I said. “No kidding,” she said without pause, “I’m a single mom too. And it’s not easy.” A kindred spirit, of sorts, and here she was, giving me a facial. She looked like she was around my age, so I thought I’d just tell her the whole story. “My…

  • Marjorie Brimley ordering food with her children after becoming a single mom and a widow
    New Perspectives

    It’s Easy to Judge (100th Blog Post)

    I was at a store the other day and the man helping me was very chatty. He wanted to know everything about me, and since I’m a talkative person myself, I started telling him about my life. I hadn’t yet mentioned that I was a single mom, and it was clear that he thought I was just another suburban wife with a handful of kids. “It’s great that since you’re a teacher, you get to spend so much time with your kids after school,” he said. “I’m lucky,” I said. “You know, there are just so many moms out there making bad choices,” he said. This came a bit out…

  • Person doing yoga poses showing Marjorie's dislike for yoga before becoming a widow
    New Perspectives

    “Holistic Medicine” and Other Words I Never Used to Like

    I was never that girl who liked yoga. All of my friends did it, but I found it boring. When my mom died, yoga didn’t calm me – it made me feel mad at all the people in the room with their “pretend” traumas. When I was a new mom, yoga didn’t make me feel connected to my baby – it made me feel ridiculous that I was sitting around chanting my baby’s name with people I didn’t know. I didn’t even try to do yoga when Shawn died because I knew that it was likely to trigger all sorts of negative emotional responses. It’s not just yoga that I…