Beach image like that visited by DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley and husband Shawn
Missing Shawn

Go on Vacation

Last night, I had a vivid dream about Shawn. That happens less than it once did, so I’m always glad to be able to “feel” him when he appears in this way.

In the dream, Shawn was sick. We both knew he was dying, and he was thinner than normal, but otherwise he was the same guy – funny, engaging and full-of-life. Of course, that’s how he was even as he was dying, so it’s not strange that I remember him this way. In the dream, we were sitting on the beach in lounge chairs, watching the waves crash on the shore. We drank pina coladas and talked about an old sci-fi book we both read a few years ago.

We laughed a lot, and that part of the dream stayed with me after I woke up. The sound of his laugh was magical – so big and hearty and joyful. To “hear” it again was magical.

I’m not sure why I had the dream. Maybe because it’s cold here now, and I miss the warm weather. Maybe because I just came back from the Caribbean where I saw my two best friends. Maybe because it’s January, the time when Shawn was really sick two years ago.

Or maybe it’s because my brain is doing something strange when I sleep. Maybe I’m being reminded of the good times with Shawn, even as I process the bad times. And the reason I think of us being on the ocean drinking pina coladas is because we took that trip about two years before he died.

At the time, we thought Shawn would be going into a crazy job in the Hillary Clinton administration at the start of 2017. That obviously didn’t happen, but in the early spring of 2016, we decided to take what we thought would be our last solo trip for a while, and we booked a beach vacation for five days. We both took off work and we sat on an island in the Caribbean and drank pina coladas and read sci-fi and talked about our future together.

It was perfect, and even without knowing what our future held, I knew it was a special trip. Everyone kept asking us if we were on our honeymoon – that’s how happy we looked.

We took trips after that, but most of them were with our children. That trip in 2016 was special because it was just the two of us.

And I have it forever. I think about that trip sometimes when I’m feeling down, and I remember how happy we were, especially when we could get away from the grind and just be with each other.

And clearly, my subconscious remembers it as well.

Really, we could have vacationed anywhere. I also remember a staycation we did in DC once, and another time when we went to a cabin without our kids. I remember those trips because it was a time when it was just me and Shawn, together, happily appreciating the fact that we found each other in this life.

Thank God we took those trips. They seemed like an unneeded expense at the time, and there were times when my practical self thought we shouldn’t spend money like that on something that would be over so quickly.

But that’s not true, is it? The beach trip itself was over in five days. But I still have it with me today, almost four years later.


  • Michael Zoosman


    Thank you for sharing this dream. Indeed, maybe any or all of your explanations are true for the dream. And maybe more…

    As someone for whom dreams often are significant of things that I can’t claim to fully understand, I tend to be of the latter camp. I’m very grateful to know of the peace that the dream seemed to offer you.

    Every Blessing,

    • Marjorie

      Yes – I’m so glad that the ways that Shawn comes to my memory in dreams now is more good than bad. It wasn’t always this way, so I’m happy that there seems to be some peace in my mind as I sleep.