• DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley smiles in black and white photo with friends Becky and Michelle
    Family & Friends

    Ministry of Presence

    My friend Kumar is a pastor.  As part of his work, he runs a bereavement group, and we meet up sometimes to talk about loss and how to help people make meaning of their lives.  One day, I was telling him about some of the things that people had done for me after Shawn died, and he said, “we call that the ministry of presence.” I liked that phrase, so I asked him to tell me more.  He said the following, The basic idea is this – as a pastor, you can preach a good sermon, but in the end, did you go on the journey with your parishioners?  You…

  • Child of DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley lying on couch under blanket
    Missing Shawn

    So Close. And Yet So Far Away.

    Right after Shawn died, I boxed up a number of his shirts, certain that I’d do something meaningful with them.  I never did.  Even after I cleaned out his side of the closet and added even more clothes to the box, I felt paralyzed about what to do.  Then, out of nowhere, an old friend from high school contacted me to volunteer to make a quilt out of his old shirts.  I took her up on it, shipped her the clothes and forgot about it. It took a few months, but early this fall, I got the final product.  It literally took my breath away. There were his shirts, all…

  • Image of book with sunshine like that read by husband of DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley

    September 11, 2001

    I was falling asleep at night when I got a call from a friend. “Turn on the TV,” he said. I couldn’t understand what I was seeing. I couldn’t understand what I was hearing, either, as the broadcast was in a language I didn’t yet know. But as the minutes turned into hours, as our friends gathered together to pull an all-nighter watching the one TV in our building with international news, as we sat in shock as the sun came up, all we knew was this: September 11, 2001 was going to change our lives forever. I had been in Japan for a month. About two weeks earlier, I’d…

  • Father and child of DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley walk to school
    Family & Friends

    Grandpa Tom Returns

    We counted down the days.  Tommy, unable to understand the days of the week, would simply ask, “is it tomorrow?” every day.  We cleaned the house and Claire made a cake.  We were so excited, and when he finally walked in the door after a summer away, all three kids screamed at the same time: “GRANDPA TOM!!!” My dad was laughing.  He was tan, a result of daily rounds of golf back in Oregon, and his white hair stuck out at the sides.  He set down his bags and picked up each kid before giving me a hug.  “We’re really glad you’re here,” I said, in the biggest understatement of…

  • Cutout of man stepping like post of DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley
    Things That Suck

    Do It When It Doesn’t Make You Want To Throw Up

    I remember the moment – the exact moment – when someone brought up dating in our grief group. “When will we know it’s time to date?” Our group therapist, who was both blunt and kind, leaned back in her chair and took a deep breath. “You can start thinking about dating,” she said, “when it doesn’t make you want to throw up.” I remember very little about this grief group, as Shawn had died just a few months prior to it and I was in the haze of new loss. But this comment stuck with me. At the time, dating was not remotely on my radar, and if I had…

  • DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley and husband Shawn having drinks
    Missing Shawn

    Home Base

    In the spring of 2016, I went to a party with Shawn at Momofuku.  The firm that had invited Shawn to the event had rented out the entire restaurant.  The night before, we had been talking about our upcoming days, and he said, “I’ll be a little bit late.  I have to go to this thing at some new restaurant.”  The second I found out it was Momofuku, I freaked out and immediately began texting babysitters.  “I’m coming too!” I told him. Shawn always loved that I liked his parties more than he did.  I would spend the evenings trying new food and drinking with the most interesting people.  Frequently,…