Brimley backyard in Washington DC
Things That Suck

A Beautiful Day

Is there anything worse than crying in the middle of a really beautiful day?

I’m talking about a really beautiful day. You know what I mean. Those perfect days, where the temperature is just right and there’s fun music coming from over the neighbor’s fence and you can smell someone grilling? The kind of day that we all live for – the kind of day where you say, “Isn’t it great to be alive?”

I used to have that feeling a lot. I can’t count the number of times I’ve said that exact phrase, “Isn’t it great to be alive?” and truly meant it.

Now I just feel grateful to be alive, which isn’t really the same thing. I am so grateful for every single day on this planet. I know that life can be much too short and I know I am lucky that I have three perfect kids that give me the strength to continue on during the days when it feels like too much.

The thing about grief is that it’s sneaky. Some days, I barely cry at all, or at least not in public. I manage my grief well on those days. But then, in an instant, I can find myself in tears at an amazingly inappropriate time. A time when no one else is even remotely sad. Of course, when this happens and I have others around, they are always lovely about it. They are supportive and they are kind. They are my friends and my family and they know it is okay – and it is normal – for me to feel this way.

But it’s disruptive to the flow of everyone’s day to see the young widow crying under perfectly blue skies. It would be much better if things like grief could be scheduled, or at least could remain dormant when things were otherwise great.

Of course, that’s impossible. Grief shows up when grief wants to, and sometimes that’s in the moments that Shawn would have really loved. Late afternoon barbecues on perfect spring nights, for example. Or early morning baseball practice on the weekend. Or even on a run with friends at the park.

I do not know when this type of grief will fade. I only know that it is with me now, and that sometimes it comes when I least expect it.

Please know that if you see me crying as my kids frolic in the pool, I haven’t lost my mind. It’s just that grief is with me in that moment.

But so is Shawn.

Image Credit: Stefanie Harrington Photography.


  • Janet

    Another eloquent piece. I believe I’ve read all that you’ve written in this blog. What always comes through in your writing is the lovely way you honor your husband and bring his memory to light. I admire how strong you are and what a supportive network of family and friends you have. After I lost my Mother in 2016, I had these same waves of grief come over me at the most unpredictable times. I can completely relate! I wish you and your family all the best.

    • Marjorie

      Oh thank you so much for such a sweet comment and for sharing your experience with me as well. Grief is terrible, but I do feel that the more we share our emotions, the better it is for the world.

      • Janet

        How kind of you to reply. I think you are spot on with sharing our emotions. I need to work on that. By the way, we share the same February 25th birthday, but I am 51, so a little bit older 🙂 Have a wonderful day. Janet

  • Ian

    A little behind, what with the twins’ birthday and such, but your last three postings leave me feeling so much hope for you, Teach.

    Yes, there’s grief there – but there’s apparently more happiness than there’s been in some time, and the razor-like SNARK of the post prior to this HAS to speak of you swinging back at your grief, HARD.

    Setbacks will continue to happen, but you’re right: he’s right there … and you can bet your ass he’d be so proud of you for how you keep moving forward.

    We’ve never met face to face but you may possibly be the strongest person I’ve ever known.