• 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…

  • 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,…

  • Husband of DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley smiles at table outside
    Missing Shawn

    Letter to Shawn

    Dear Shawn, I was watching the news last night, listening to a politician who was speaking about current events in the United States. I was only half listening because I was trying to work on my blog (I’ll get to that in a minute), but it occurred to me that so much has changed since your death almost three years ago. If you arrived in our living room this morning, you might be really surprised at what has transpired over the years since you left. So here’s my update to you, just in case you can somehow access it. Let me start with the most surprising things happening in our…

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

    Who Would You Love More?

    A few weeks ago, as I was chopping vegetables, Claire came into the kitchen and started talking to me. We chatted for a while about our lives, including when my boyfriend Chris was going to come back to stay with us again. “He’s back home for another week,” I told her, “but then he will be here for a long stretch. He’s really excited to see us again.” She smiled, did a little hop and said “yay!” It was quiet for a moment as she looked at me to see what I’d say next. As I sat in that space, I could feel her thinking. I waited. “Mama,” she said…

  • Children of DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley play at cemetery
    Missing Shawn

    Ghosts in the Backyard

    My children are currently obsessed with ghosts. They somehow discovered this app for their iPad that lets you “discover” ghosts that are living nearby. You can search for these ghosts and then “talk” to them via the app. They are a tiny bit scared by it all, but mostly it’s a thrilling distraction to our daily boredom. I have been watching them play this game (is it a game?) for weeks. It never seems to become boring, and all three of them like to play it together. Even better, it’s something they can play outside. So I guess I should like it. And I do. I think it’s harmless, childhood…

  • Missing Shawn

    The Bookshelf

    I stood there staring at the bookshelf for a long time before I started. I’m not quite sure why. The bookshelf stood in an infrequently used part of the basement, next to the printer and the filing cabinet and bins of old magna-tiles. I could delay organizing it because I didn’t need access to it on a daily basis, and so that is what I had done. It stood there, crammed with books and memorabilia and all sort of other things that Shawn had once owned. And I let it collect dust over the months – and then years – since his death. I’m not totally sure why I waited…