• DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley and partner Chris
    New Perspectives

    A Life That Sparkles (400th Blog Post)

    I don’t know what the statistics are around it, but I know a lot of widows who’ve recently decided to move. I think there’s a number of reasons for this, but certainly a house can feel heavy when so many memories remain in it. Given different circumstances (if my husband had died in the house, for example) I might have moved too. But Shawn was insistent that I stay in the house. He knew what it would take for me to stay, and he talked me through it. He instructed me on how to pay the bills and fix the clogged drains and how often to clean the gutters. “Staying…

  • Family of DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley
    Things That Suck

    The Danger of the Fast-Forward Button

    About two and a half years ago, as I sat with the early grief of losing Shawn, I wrote a blog post called “Press Fast-Forward.” In it, I talked about how I wished I could just fast-forward my life to a better place. Here’s a bit of what I wrote: My ability to hold other people’s pain and frustration is significantly less than it once was. I want to feel for other people, but I just can’t. I guess this is because I can barely hold my own emotions throughout the day. Grief has made me into a more selfish person – a person who is more likely to reach…

  • Wall of photos in home of DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley
    New Perspectives

    I’m Not a Polygamist*

    Every year since Shawn died, I’ve hosted the “parent parties” for my kids’ classes. Basically, they are parties where the parents of the kids in a specific class gather to meet each other as well as the teacher of the class (the kids don’t come.) They are fun nights that involve very little preparation and only a few hours of clean-up, so I like to do them as a way to show that I’m an involved parent. I also like to do them because then I don’t have to answer the question all year long about where my husband is. Sure, I usually have a few awkward conversations during the…

  • Children of DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley

    They Were So Little

    I love Facebook memories. I know lots of widows hate them, because it reminds them of what they’ve lost. But most of my memories are of my children, which I think makes it easier from a grief standpoint. They’re often photographs or videos that Shawn took and they remind me what he found hilarious or adorable about the kids. When we were first parents, we were debating with some other parents about whether it was okay to put your kids’ images online. “I think being able to document their young lives is actually pretty cool,” Shawn said. “I mean, think about it. They’re going to have this great record of…

  • DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley hugs son Austin in front of Supreme Court

    Tell Me How To Do It (Tribute to Ruth Bader Ginsburg)

    I met Ruth Bader Ginsburg once, right after watching her sit for a case at the Supreme Court. I’d been assigned to teach Constitutional Law for a semester and although I wasn’t fully prepared to teach it, I took it on with zeal. I spent much of the previous semester reading court cases and planning out lessons. Sure, I wasn’t a lawyer, but I could still teach this course, right? As I was laying out my final syllabus for approval that fall, Shawn went into the hospital. I kept working on it, taking notes as he slept next to me and drafting lesson plans in between his bouts of nausea…

  • Mountain and valley for blog by DC widow writer Marjorie Brimley
    Things That Suck

    State of Exception

    I was talking to a friend the other day about our lives, and the changes that have come with the start of the school year. We both admitted that the past few weeks have seemed harder than expected. We recognized that things could be far worse – we both had our health and our kids and our jobs. But something seems to have shifted as the autumn approaches. It’s hard to put my finger on, exactly, but I think it’s this realization: This is just my life now, isn’t it? Sure, maybe we will get it together as a country and manage to combat the coronavirus in the next few…