• Thoreau book on map belonging to husband of DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley

    The Bear

    I was downstairs making dinner when I heard my children screaming. This, in itself, is not a unique experience, as any parent can tell you. But they were hysterical, so I went upstairs to investigate. Claire met me first. “BEAR!!!” she screamed, unable to say anything else. I came into the room where the kids were gathered with their cousins, and their screams overwhelmed me. “BEAR! BEAR! BEAR!” they all yelled at the same time. I looked out the window and couldn’t see anything. Yes, we were staying in a cabin in the woods in Virginia, and yes, it was pretty wild out here. But….a bear? My brother-in-law went outside…

  • DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley grills while Tommy looks at her
    New Perspectives


    I’ve never been a particularly accomplished cook, but over the years, I learned enough to make a decent meal or two. As a teacher, I always arrived home in time to make dinner for my family, so usually this task fell to me. Unless it was summer. Because once the warm days arrived, it was time for grilling. And I was definitely not in charge of grilling. That was Shawn’s job. He loved it. When we moved into our current house almost a decade ago, he bought a grill that was way outside of our budget. When I admonished him for it, he said, “Marjorie, we will use this grill…

  • Daughter of DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley looks at camera without smiling
    Things That Suck

    Kids That Could Be My Own

    My kids often have a really hard time being away from me. Not always, mind you. Sometimes, they can go skipping off on a playdate, or to get ice cream with a favorite aunt and they are all smiles. But overall, they don’t want me to leave them. They don’t like when I take an evening for myself and they don’t like if they have to be with a sitter. They have to be away from me sometimes. I went and saw my sister and her new baby, and they really missed me then. Sometimes I need a day or two to get away and write. And every once in…

  • DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley with her three children tackling her in the water
    What Not to Say

    Can’t You Just…?

    A few months ago, I was talking to an acquaintance and had a moment of candor. “I’m really lonely,” I said. “I miss Shawn. And I’m also tired of being alone all the time. They’re two parts of my sadness that are linked, but also separate in a way.” She looked at me thoughtfully. “I understand you really miss Shawn. But if you want to get rid of the loneliness, can’t you just set up an online dating profile?” I awkwardly tried to tell her that it wasn’t so easy. Putting myself out there is a really daunting prospect. She meant well. She was trying to be helpful. I wasn’t…

  • DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley's husband Shawn plays with his youngest son in playroom

    “My Dad Died in the War”

    The other day, Tommy had over a friend for a few hours. They spent much of the time playing some sort of game where they were both soldiers and tried to “get” each other. I wasn’t really paying attention to them, but then I heard Tommy say, “my dad died in the war.” I turned to him. “Your dad didn’t die in the war,” I said. “Yes he did!” Tommy said back to me. “Why do you think that he died in the war?” I asked. “Well, dad was in the army, and he died, so he died in the war!” he said emphatically. I sat down and explained to…

  • Kitchen counter similar to that of DC Widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley
    Missing Shawn

    Nights at the Kitchen Counter

    When Shawn was alive, we reconnected most nights in the kitchen after the kids went to sleep. They were all so young back then, and went to bed by 8 pm, always. We treasured the few hours together that we got without them. (Oh how he would hate Claire’s new bedtime of 9 pm!) Anyway, each night we’d both come down to the kitchen, and usually he’d re-heat food I made earlier in the evening or put something else in the oven. I’d sit at the counter and we’d talk about our days. I often had some drama from school (the staff meeting went way too long, or some student…