• DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley smiles with her sister in front of pink background
    Family & Friends

    I Am Someone New, Too

    My sister had a baby last month. I was abroad when it happened, and I spent hundreds of dollars that day on my phone bill. I could hear the thrill of new parenthood in her voice, even just a few hours after she became a mom. I went to visit her a few weeks later. The second I saw her, I felt like I was going to start crying. There she was, holding her baby in a sling on her chest. The baby was sleeping. And my sister was beaming. In that moment, I could see it. My sister was the person she’d always been: thoughtful, and with a great…

  • Shawn Brimley, husband of DC widow blog writer Marjorie, is hugged by his grandmother when he was a child

    What Austin Brought to Camp

    On Saturday, I helped Austin pack for camp. We went through the extensive list of things he needed, and near the end, I pointed to his toiletry bag. “Austin, you have a toothbrush, toothpaste and some soap,” I said. “What else do you think you’ll need for the bathroom?” Austin looked at the bag and then at his body. “Nothing,” he said, and shrugged. “Actually, I probably won’t even use most of the soap.” I laughed, though he wasn’t trying to make a joke. He is really low-maintenance. It’s one of the many ways that Austin is just like his dad. (Once, about 6 or 7 years ago, Shawn went…

  • Arial view of 4 doctors like those treating husband of DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley
    What Not to Say


    There were so many questions after Shawn died. So many. Was there a family history of cancer? Did he exercise? What were the warning signs? Why didn’t you demand a colonoscopy earlier? Did he have a regular doctor? Did he smoke? Did the medical team try immunotherapy? Did he eat a special diet? Did he drink a lot? Did he have symptoms earlier in the year? Was he healthy otherwise? Those were just some of the things people asked me. Of course there were questions. Shawn was an incredibly vibrant 40-year-old. How could this happen, they wondered? But the big question was lurking under all of these questions, one that…

  • DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley and daughter Claire smile at each other

    Our Bathroom

    Claire and I share a bathroom. It wasn’t always this way, of course. Once upon a time, Claire used the bathroom by her room, the one Shawn and I designated for the kids after we remodeled the house a few years ago. But when Shawn died and my dad moved in, all of the sudden there were four people using the kids’ bathroom and just me using the master bathroom. “I should share this bathroom with you,” Claire said one day. She had just turned 9. “It can be the girls bathroom. The boys can all use the bathroom in the hallway.” I wavered a bit, but somehow just a…

  • Elevator man similar to that in story by DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley
    Things That Suck

    What I’m Scared Of

    I slipped into the last spot on the elevator going up to my hotel room last week.  As I fumbled in my purse for my room key (so I could push the button to my floor) the man standing next to me said, “quick! You better show us your room key so we know you are allowed up!” He meant it as a joke, but it felt like a strange thing to say, and I sort-of half smiled/half frowned at him while continuing to rifle through my purse.  He beamed at the other people on the elevator, who were clearly friends of his.  I got off at my floor, and…

  • DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley holds her baby boy

    Heavenly Love

    When Austin was first born, I was taking a walk with my sister and my new baby boy. Austin was probably a week old. Claire, who had just turned two, was home with Shawn. My sister and I were talking about birth and love and all of the other big things you can talk about with someone you’ve known your whole life. At some point, she asked me something about how it felt, now, to love two kids instead of one. While I don’t remember her exact question, I remember my answer. “Well,” I said, “I love Austin, but if for some crazy reason I had to choose between them,…