• Bedside table for blog by DC widow writer Marjorie Brimley Hale
    New Perspectives

    What If My Grief Is Over?

    I love running in the pre-dawn hours. Yes, it’s dark. And yes, it’s often cold. But it’s the time when I’ve done some of my best thinking. For a long time, I thought through my blog posts on those solitary runs. Once Chris started joining me, we would sometimes talk about my blog and I would think out loud about what was coming up next. Last week, as I set out on a run with Chris, I told him I was struggling with what to write. This happens sometimes. I mean, it didn’t happen at all for the first 18 months of widowhood because things were so chaotic and hard.…

  • Shawn Brimley with children and DC widow writer Marjorie Hale in field for dream blog
    New Perspectives

    Dreams of Shawn

    I’ve always had a lot of dreams. And also a number of nightmares. When I was little, those dreams were about playgrounds and neighborhood friends. My recurring nightmare was about a mean witch who tried to cook me in a pot. As I grew, my dreams were about the good things around me (getting asked to prom by someone I liked), and my nightmares were about my fears (making a fool of myself at a school assembly). As my mom grew sicker, sometimes these nightmares were actually scary. Once she died, I often had nightmares where my dad or my sister would die too. So I guess it’s not strange…

  • DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley Hale hugs husband Chris at wedding by barn for dating post
    New Perspectives

    What If He Dies? (Part 2)

    Well. There’s nothing like writing a post about my fear of Chris’s death to cause a lot of mail to arrive in my inbox. Some of these messages were public. But a lot of them were private, as sometimes happens with really intense posts I write. “I feel that way too,” said one reader after another. “I worry about my new partner dying.” “I know,” I’d write back. “It’s just something widows feel, I think. We know death is real. And even though we’ve faced it, it still scares us.” A few days after I wrote the post, I was talking to Chris in the kitchen after dinner. We picked…

  • Three plants for blog by DC widow writer Marjorie Brimley Hale
    New Perspectives

    Reasonable Positivity

    Shawn always used to say that his big goal in life was to be a middle-tier bureaucrat. It made people laugh when he’d say it. Didn’t he want to be the Secretary of Defense or something? No, he’d tell everyone, he just wanted to make policy that mattered and write things other people wanted to read and play with his kids on the weekends. It’s something that I always really admired, even when his career was taking off. He didn’t need the spotlight. He also didn’t subscribe to this brand of “everything and everyone has to be the best in order to be good.” Sometimes, reaching for the middle was…

  • Woman driving car for blog by DC widow writer Marjorie Brimley Hale
    New Perspectives

    A Car for Our Future

    When we bought the car, I wasn’t sure if I liked it. I was pregnant with Austin and I wasn’t comfortable behind the steering wheel and it was so much bigger than our previous car. But we were becoming a family of four, and we just didn’t fit easily in the other car. Or at least both carseats didn’t. And so we bought a Mazda with a third row, a car big enough to fit three car seats when the time came, a car that brought both of our boys home from the hospital, a car that took us to Canada and camping and to a zillion soccer games. It…

  • Marjorie Brimley Hale with her late husband Shawn and three kids in a field
    New Perspectives

    Grief, Not Sadness

    Some people I know have beautifully decorated, color-coordinated Christmas trees currently displayed in their houses. I am not one of those people. My tree is plastic, to start. Claire’s allergic to trees, so we had to get a plastic one many years ago, but also it was just way easier than going out to cut down a tree with three little kids. It doesn’t smell like a tree and it doesn’t really look like a tree, so my solution is to cover it with all the ornaments we have and try and hide the plastic-ness of it. I have some of the ornaments my mom once put on our tree.…