• Street view for blog by DC widow writer Marjorie Brimley
    Love and Chris

    2020 Vision Revisited

    2020. You certainly didn’t go as planned, did you? I mean, I wrote a whole blog post at the start of last year about vision, and how important it was going to be for me to have some clarity about my life in 2020. Yes, 2018 had been the year of survival, and 2019 had been the “year of yes” but 2020 was going to be the year that I finally pulled myself together. Here’s a piece of what I wrote in the post “2020 vision“: Recently on my runs, I’ve started to pass by the National Cathedral here in Washington. Because I run so early, I’m often passing it…

  • DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley at kitchen counter with partner
    Love and Chris

    Kitchen Counter

    The kitchen is my favorite room in my house. About a year before Shawn died, we remodeled part of the house, putting in a new kitchen with more light and a few more cabinets. I had never been a big cook, but I was excited about the project. I thought that having a nicer space might help me improve my culinary skills. Things didn’t quite go as planned. The kids were still so small and Shawn was working on building a new business and my teaching job was picking up, and there wasn’t any time. I figured once Tommy was in full-time preschool, I’d be able to really work on…

  • DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley stands in field with partner Chris
    Love and Chris


    Below is a post that was written by my partner, Chris. It took me two months of persistent lobbying to get him to write again after his original blog post. He’s worried he doesn’t have anything to add to the conversation about widowhood, that it’s not his place to talk about the things that he hasn’t lived. But he loves me, and loving a widow is….complicated. Here’s just a bit of that story, written only because I put him under (some) duress. “You know my only rule, right?” It was a question that made me feel a little bit uncomfortable, I guess in part because I had no idea what…

  • Tree branches on wood for blog by DC widow writer Marjorie Brimley
    Love and Chris

    The Tree Sale

    When Chris and I started dating, we understood that our relationship might elicit a few raised eyebrows or puzzled looks. What we didn’t realize was how often people would assume that we were a nuclear family that all shared one last name. It happens a lot when we’re out in a public place, like a park, and we see a group of strangers. We just take it in stride, because let’s be honest here: people assume a lot about strangers that is inaccurate. But what I find odder is when it happens in our community, as it did a few weekends ago at the elementary school fundraiser. Chris’s sister Becky…

  • Family of DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley walks in field
    Love and Chris

    Holiday Cards

    Holiday cards have not been easy for me over the past few years. The year Shawn was dying, we somehow sent one out with the five of us on the front, and then for months afterwards when I’d go into my friends’ houses, I’d see our photo up on their walls. I loved that they were remembering him…and it was hard to face at the same time. He looked sick. The next year, I had no idea what to do about a holiday card, because the options I was faced with included statements like, “it’s the most wonderful time of the year!” and “oh what fun!” which was basically the…

  • Steaming coffee cup for blog by DC widow writer Marjorie Brimley
    Love and Chris

    He Makes the Coffee

    When Chris first came to stay with us, he was shocked to learn that I drank instant coffee. He didn’t understand how I could drink something so terrible when I really enjoyed food and cooking. “It’s just so much easier,” I explained. Of course, it was more complicated than that. I started drinking instant coffee when Shawn died. I did it for a lot of reasons, but I told myself that I made this decision because it didn’t make any sense to make a full pot of coffee when I was the only one drinking it. I’d gotten used to crappy coffee as a teacher (teacher’s lounge coffee is universally…