• Beach for blog by DC widow writer Marjorie Brimley
    Missing Shawn

    The Exploding Whale

    Yesterday, an old friend alerted me that it was the 50th anniversary of the exploding whale video. I laughed to myself as I searched for the video. “Kids!” I said loudly, “come in the kitchen and watch this video. It was one of dad’s favorites!” I clicked on YouTube and there it was: the exploding whale video. (For your amusement, I’ll link it here, but since it’s kind of gross I won’t embed it. For a description: a dead whale washed up on an Oregon beach in the 1970s and the authorities decided to use dynamite to blow it up. It did not go as planned.) The kids watched with…

  • Family & Friends

    The Best Condolence Letter

    I got a lot of letters when Shawn died. Mostly, they were letters with photos of flowers on the front (why are there always flowers on sympathy cards?) and a short note inside saying something like, “We were so sorry to hear about Shawn’s passing. Our thoughts and prayers go out to you and the kids.” I appreciated these notes, at least in theory, but mostly I just tossed them into a drawer and forgot about them. I was thankful that people sent them and I really loved the cards where my friends and family recounted memories they had of Shawn. I saved a lot of them for the kids.…

  • DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley with family and President Obama in White House
    Missing Shawn

    His Kindness Will Echo

    Moments after a Biden win was announced, a friend turned to me and said, “I’m thinking of Shawn right now. It feels like he’s with us.” I smiled. I was camping with a few friends but we managed to get some service and (since we are Biden supporters) celebrated in the socially-distanced way that we could with our kids. We drank a few beers and roasted a extra marshmallows that night. I tried not to think too much about what could have been, because what’s the use in that? I’m happy now in my personal life – more than I ever thought possible – and though I still miss Shawn,…

  • Abstract lights for blog by DC widow writer Marjorie Brimley
    Things That Suck

    DC Widow Is Taking Today Off

    Just a note to say that DC Widow is taking the day off today. I decided to come up with a list of all of the reasons why I needed to take today off, and here is what I have: Um, first, the election. Obviously. I felt as though I was going to have a panic attack a dozen times over the past two days and I could barely watch the returns come in last night. I never drink too much, but I needed that third gin and tonic. I stayed up way too late and let my kids do the same and now I’m so sleep deprived….. ….and speaking…

  • Sun peeking through trees for blog by DC widow writer Marjorie Brimley
    New Perspectives

    Election Day 2020

    Like many middle-school kids in America, Claire is hyper-aware of the upcoming election. She may not understand all of the nuances, but she does get that the adults around her are on edge. She knows that the stores in DC are getting boarded up. She hears about the election every day at school from her peers and teachers and she also observes a lot when I’m teaching my government classes. She’s still a child, but she’s too old for me to shield her from much. The other day she turned to me and said, “what if something bad happens after the election?” “Claire,” I said, “I understand your concern, but…