• DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley smiles as she hugs her son
    Missing Shawn

    I Guess This Is What Healing Looks Like

    High schools are not exactly the kinds of places that allow for a lot of privacy. I eat in common spaces with other teachers and sometimes other students. I don’t have my own classroom, as we share them, so I can’t just close the door. The history teachers all share an office, and that office has an open-door policy. In short, whatever happens at my school is often public knowledge. When Shawn was sick, it was useful, in a way, that everyone knew that I was constantly on the phone with doctors. Everyone knew that my kids were often at school with me early in the morning. Everyone knew that…

  • DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley faces DisneyWorld castle with children

    The Happiest Place on Earth

    “Tommy, listen to me,” I said very seriously as we sat on the plane down to Florida, “you are going to have to walk a lot on this trip. Mama can’t carry you all the time, and you’ll have to stay with our family. There will be a lot of people and I don’t want you getting lost.” Tommy looked at me and earnestly nodded his head.  I knew he was really excited.  Claire and Austin squealed behind us.  Just a few hours prior, I’d announced that instead of a few days at a local indoor waterpark, we were headed to DisneyWorld for a week!  I couldn’t believe I’d managed…

  • Railroad tracks like that discussed by DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley


    Tomorrow, I turn 41. I should be celebrating. I love my birthday – it’s one of my favorite days of the year. I love how everyone is super nice and wishes me “happy birthday” all day and how I hear from new and old friends alike. I love how my kids are on their best behavior and I love the cards they make me every year. But I can’t quite get excited about it because I’m turning 41. It’s the birthday Shawn never got to celebrate. It’s not just that I’m going to be older than him, for the first time ever. It’s not just that I’m now “in my…

  • DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley with family in field

    Out of the Corner of My Eye

    Back when I was happily married, I used to have these moments that made me long for another life. I’d be doing something like picking out eggs at the grocery store while I fed my baby Cheerios, and I’d see something out of the corner of my eye. Maybe it was a magazine with a cover story on European train trips or a newly-in-love couple trying the free samples together. Whatever it was, I’d wish for a little bit of excitement, a little bit of something new. I’d think, I like my life. I am happy. But I just wanted a little bit more. Now I want to go back…

  • Parenting

    Homework with Austin

    A few weeks ago, Claire came upstairs, clearly upset. “Austin is doing a terrible job with his homework!” she exclaimed. I was puzzled. “Claire,” I said, “Austin is in third grade. He’s just figuring out how to do homework.” She insisted I come and see his homework. The assignment was to write about a subject in school that he liked. “Look!” Claire said, pointing at his paper. Austin had written about all of the subjects he didn’t like instead. “This will hurt his teacher’s feelings!” Claire said. I was pretty sure Austin’s teacher had thicker skin than that. She is a great teacher and Austin adores her, even if he…

  • DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley cooks over a stove in a kitchen
    New Perspectives

    Learning to Like Food…Again?

    For much of my life, I claimed that I’d rather take a pill than eat a meal. My friends and my husband thought I was insane. “But food is so enjoyable!” they’d say to me, and point out all the fun restaurants in DC. I held firm. Yes, sometimes I enjoyed a good meal, but often, I just wanted to continue on with my day, uninterrupted by the need to eat. Part of this was being a busy mom who hated cooking things my kids wouldn’t eat. Part of this is the fact that I have a food allergy, which can make eating a bit scary. But still – my…