• Book in library for blog by DC widow writer Marjorie Brimley
    What Not to Say

    A Review of “A Widow’s Guide to Healing” (Part 2)

    Almost three years ago, in the depths of grief, I decided to go online and order every book I could on grief. I figured that maybe I’d find the answer to my question: “how am I supposed to survive this?” I found a number of great books, and I’ve reviewed them periodically on my blog. But there were a lot of terrible ones, too. Anything with a photo of the ocean on the front was usually pretty bad, and I really didn’t get much out of books written by people who’d lost a parent or a sibling. I was hopeful for the book entitled, “A Widow’s Guide to Healing” not…

  • Grocery bag for blog by DC widow writer Marjorie Brimley
    What Not to Say

    It’s Not Too Late to Say “Thank You”

    A year ago, I was really scared. Not scared like I was when Shawn was sick, or scared like I was after he died. Not like that. But not unlike that, either. My dad had left DC at the beginning of the pandemic and I was in lockdown with my kids. In those early days, I had no idea what the future held, but I knew one thing: I was alone. I wasn’t truly alone, of course, because I had friends and family who checked in on us, and modern technology that allowed me to continue teaching during the day and see my dad via FaceTime every night as I…

  • Desk with books for blog by DC widow writer Marjorie Brimley
    What Not to Say

    It’s Not Too Late to Say “I’m Sorry”

    About six months after Shawn died, I stood up at a staff meeting. It was the end of school, and we were gathered for staff week, trying to encourage each other as we ended the school year. It was a school year that I had mostly missed, both because I was out on leave and because once I returned, I was emotionally not always there even when I had been physically present. I was limping towards the finish line. “I want to say thank you,” I said. “When I came back after Shawn died, so many of you supported me. So many of you came up to me in the…

  • Holiday card of DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley
    What Not to Say

    Holiday Cards (Part 2)

    As we put our holiday card together last month, Chris and I debated what to write on the back. We’d already decided to put “all you need is love” on the front, but we recognized that there were going to be some people who would be super confused when they got our card. For my friends, who was this new guy on the front? And (maybe even more confusing) for Chris’s friends, who was this woman and these three kids with him? So, on the back we wrote the following: Not sure who one (or four) of the people on this card are? Drop us a line. We can talk…

  • Empty benches in fall leaves for blog by DC widow writer Marjorie Brimley
    What Not to Say


    “I’m sorry I never said anything when your husband died. I didn’t know what to say.“ I have lost count of the number of times that someone said this to me – sometimes it was a fellow teacher at school or sometimes it was a neighbor or another acquaintance. When I hear those words, I always say something back like, “you’re saying something now, and I appreciate that,” which is true. It’s the worst kind of silence if those in your world don’t acknowledge the loss of your partner. That’s crushing. But the thing is, this isn’t the only kind of silence that a widow faces – it’s merely the…

  • Bike near water for blog by DC widow writer Marjorie Brimley
    What Not to Say

    I’m Not a “Bike Widow”

    Chris is an avid cyclist, and the other day he was texting with a friend who rides bikes with him. They were trying to plan a long ride at some point, and Chris told his friend that he needed to check with me first, since an entire Saturday morning was a long time to be away from me and the kids. In jest, his friend texted back, “better that she find out now that she’s going to be a bike widow every weekend!” In response, Chris texted, “since she’s an actual widow, I try not to joke about that sort of stuff.” His friend was hugely apologetic. He didn’t mean…