• Backyard of DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley

    Shawn’s Birthday, Year 3

    I’m doing the best I can to make this summer a happy one for my kids, but it hasn’t always been easy. Back in March, when schools were closing and my dad was leaving, I started to worry about being home for a long time with no possibility of seeing anyone else. How was I going to manage my children and my teaching responsibilities? How was I going to go to the grocery store? What in the world were we going to do all summer, if we couldn’t see our extended family or go to camp? So during that first week of quarantine, I bought a pool. Turns out, it…

  • Empty bench on boardwalk for blog by DC widow writer Marjorie Brimley
    Ask A Widow

    Ask a Widow: Dating is Hard When You Try to Predict the Future

    I’ve said it before, but I’ll repeat it again: people write to me all the time about dating. Usually, I get private messages on my blog or my social media pages. The questions range from the existential (“does it mean I don’t still love my late husband if I want to date?”) to the mundane (“what’s the best dating website for widows?”) I try and answer the questions as best I can, but I’m no expert. I’m merely someone who has written openly about my own experience. Often, readers give me their backstory before asking me about dating. It might go something like this: My husband and I were married…

  • DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley laughs with friends
    New Perspectives

    How to Host a Crappy Zoom Call

    I hate Zoom. I mean, I also love it, of course. For many months I spent all day on Zoom talking to students and I can now use it with some ease to facilitate discussions and give lectures. That part is great. What I hate about it is that it’s pretty much the only way to connect with my friends right now. Sure, I could use FaceTime or Houseparty or whatever, but it’s all the same. It’s me looking at my friends via a screen. It just feels so….contrived. There I am, alone in my kitchen staring at my phone with one or more of my friend’s faces staring back…

  • Letters I love dad for blog post by DC widow writer Marjorie Brimley

    Father’s Day, Year 3

    I try not to look at social media on Father’s Day. I know I’m not alone. A lot of widows purposefully avoid social media on these fraught days – and there are many fraught days. Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Valentine’s Day, Christmas, Thanksgiving…the list could go on. Because here’s the thing about social media on days that are celebratory: people post photos of their smiling and (usually) intact families. They sing the praises of the fathers in their children’s lives. This is great, and yet it is all a brutal reminder to me that my own family does not look like it once did. Father’s Day is probably the hardest…

  • Husband of DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley lifts massive pumpkin

    Tell Me About Him

    About a month after Shawn died, I was on the phone with his former boss. She was asking about the kids, but then we started talking about Shawn. She shared stories with me, and I smiled, but mostly I cried. She worried that she was upsetting me, and I reassured her that I wanted to keep talking about Shawn. In fact, it’s all I wanted to do in those early days. I wanted to talk about Shawn all the time. I knew it was inappropriate to tell strangers on the metro and at the grocery store about my dead husband, but I did it anyway. It was a compulsion of…

  • Son of DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley as a baby
    What Not to Say

    You’re Not Crazy. You’re Grieving.

    As I type this, Tommy is in timeout for hitting his brother. He’s six, so I don’t think he’s going to turn into a bank robber just because he hit his brother. But in our house, actions have consequences. (Or at least I try to make it that way. I’m no perfect parent and I am not necessarily consistent with enforcing consequences. I’m just doing my best, like all single moms. But I digress.) My kids know that hitting is not okay, and an acceptable defense is not “but I was mad at him!” When they use this line of reasoning (which is common), I say, “it’s okay to feel…