DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley at cemetery where her husband is buried
Things That Suck

Good Riddance 2018…. (Part 1 of 2)

Good riddance 2018.

Good riddance latex gloves, alcohol swabs, shower chairs, needles.

Good riddance nightmares.

Good riddance shower floor, where I often sat when I was too exhausted to do anything else but let the water pour down my back.

Good riddance probate.

Good riddance Zofran, 5FU, morphine and Ativan.

Good riddance estate tax return with your stupid requirements to produce a statement of every account we had the day Shawn died.

Good riddance exhaustion and subsequent unplanned naps in living room chairs.

Good riddance crying in public.  Not forever, but just during those times when I’d like to hold it together.

Good riddance documents I had to sign saying what would happen to my children if I died.

Good riddance junk mail in Shawn’s name.

Good riddance insurance provider who wouldn’t cover my children’s grief therapy with the only grief therapist who would take them immediately after their father’s death.

Good riddance guilt.

Good riddance AT&T guy who refused to take the electronic death certificate and made me go home with three kids in tow to get the paper copy.  I keep one in my glove box now.  And I switched phone companies.

Good riddance feelings of inadequacy as my children’s sole living parent. 

Good riddance fear.

Good riddance electric and water companies.  I mean, not really, because I still need you, but seriously you’re going to be sending the bill to Shawn Brimley until I’m 80 and I’m just going to be okay with that.

Good riddance big decisions about my children’s future, my finances, and my life.  Not all of those decisions are gone, but there’s no way they will be as major as they were in 2018.

Good riddance doctor’s bills that show up for Shawn months after his death.

Good riddance bargaining with God.  Turns out, it doesn’t work that way.

Good riddance looks of pity from the house appraiser and the banker and anyone else who learned about Shawn’s death.

Good riddance terrible decisions like choosing a casket, a gravestone and the readings for the funeral.  I don’t remember what was said anyway.

Good riddance anger, or at least misplaced anger. 

Good riddance 2 am and your terrible anxiety.

Good riddance loneliness.  Or at least to thinking that I’ll forever feel this way.

Good riddance insecurity.  I made it through this year, which must mean something.

Good riddance 2018.


  • Melissa

    Amen to all of that! I’ve changed over some major accounts to my name, but my checking account still has my husband’s name on it. I’m leaving it that way, along with the utility bills and a couple more things. Not worth the aggravation. As for junk mail, it still comes for him six months later and I even continue to get mail for my mother who died six years ago. Gah!

  • Erin

    Hello to 2019 and to all the happiness and peace and joy that I pray every single day will come your way. Hello to the most incredibly strong, beautiful and kind person I know – YOU. Love you so Marjorie.

    • Marjorie

      It’s like you can read my mind….my blog post for Wednesday is titled, “Hello 2019!” Coming soon. Thanks for the love, today and always.

  • Melanie

    Yes to the entire list although for me, 4 years and 4 months later, there is still an isolated panic attack at 4 am when nothing is even going wrong, and junk mail in my husband’s name (interestingly, a lot of credit card offers). Meditation has helped the anxiety and I just sort of smile at the junk mail now. In a strange way it’s almost comforting to see something with his name on it in the mailbox.
    Just reading your list shows how much you (and all of us who have been widowed) have been through and dealt with and still survived. It certainly does mean something to have “made it.”
    I wish you the best of everything in the coming years, Marjorie, as you continue your journey, and I will be thinking of you this January. Although our paths will never cross, please know that you’re an amazing woman, mother and writer. May 2019 bring peace to you and your family.

    • Marjorie

      Thank you so much for all of the well-wishes and for sharing so much of your story on my blog too. It’s comforting, in a strange way. And yes – I think I’ll actually miss the junk mail when it’s less frequent. Here’s to a better 2019.

  • Carmelita

    As I sat here on New Year’s Eve, 2018, waiting for my daughter’s MRI, in the same hospital my husband died, I thought that this was not how I pictured life going. But then I realized things could be much worse with her MS and it would not help to be all freaked out.
    And then I felt Shawn saying the these things( the medications, the hospitalizations etc) did not exist for him anymore. And I felt some peace and I thought well, that’s good, right?
    Yes, my electric company won’t change the name either without a big hoopla. As always it’s nice to hear what we share.
    And here’s to moving on With all that these missed spouses gave us. ( Not just move on, I hate that phrase.) into the New Year! dear Marjorie and friends.

    • Marjorie

      I have a dear widower friend who said something similar to me – wherever our late spouses are, they don’t hurt anymore, and that’s a comfort. I am going to steal that phrase: “moving on with all that Shawn gave me!”

  • Joseph Britt

    Making it through means everything. Without that, there can be nothing else.

    You have a lot of people pulling for you, much less because of what’s happened to you than because of what you’ve shown of yourself. Me too. Happy New Year, Marjorie Brimley.

  • Nitin Anand

    Amen to this: “feelings of inadequacy as my children’s sole living parent. “…. Although I’m not sure they will ever truly go away.

  • abp

    Marjorie, Thanks for the blog. My wife, Jane, passed November last. She fought ovarian cancer for eight years. She was only 57. I like your goodbye to 2018 list. The end was very difficult for her and us and I feel guilty including myself. The cancer tore at our relationship. The woman who died was not the girl I married 35 years ago (nor I the same young man she married). On the night she died our youngest son gave me a 1982 vintage snapshot of us he found in her bible. I have it propped up with a pewter Angel I bought her…rediscovered amongst her things. The snapshot and Angel have rekindled my original love for her that was always there but in recent years suppressed amid the crush of life with 4 children, one, thankfully, still in the house. Daily life seems more quotidian than ever but I look forward to breakfast with my daughter and the part of the day I spend with Jane listening to music. I tell her good night and I love you just like I used to. Thank you for your Post article and this forum. abp

    • Marjorie

      Wow – this is really moving. Thanks so much for sharing. Shawn’s death was so quick, but I have heard from others who were caretakers for years that it can be really, really difficult. I’m so sorry for your loss. But I really love that you are sharing here and that you are finding those moments of joy. Especially at breakfast – that’s an important time of day around here, that’s for sure!

    • Marjorie

      I’m not sure how to do this, so I’ll just leave your comment private. Thanks for reading, and feel free to re-post the original comment if you’d like.

  • ABP

    Is there a good riddance to loneliness or should it be what I continue to accept? She died. Why Lord God did you put the cancer on her? Why not me? I love you. Please know Beautiful, I would take that rock in my pack that you could go on here to enjoy the life we planned… I would gladly do that for you. I am a US Marine and I am supposed to go forward…prepare the way. Love always, from across the divide. Now that you have crossed the River, I trust you are whole and at peace. L, A

    • Marjorie

      This is beautiful. Thank you for sharing. Somewhere out there, she sees it, and she knows you are thinking of her.

  • ABP

    Does time heal – anneal the pain – quench this loneliness? Right now, I hope not. I feel closest to her when I am in my fits of deepest mourning. I do not wear it outwardly, for I do not think it wears well, but I think my countenance betrays me. I tend to avoid engagement. Perhaps this will run its course and there will be a new chapter. I hope so but I am not in a hurry. This forum helps. Expression in anonymous writing helps. Reading other’s perspectives helps. Thank you.

    • Marjorie

      We have different grieving styles, obviously, as I am a very public mourner. But I think the way we relate to grief is very similar. I was really sad about Shawn a few days ago and it was also a wonderful feeling because, yes, I felt so close to him then.