Stone pillars for blog by DC widow writer Marjorie Brimley

Must Read This Week: Jamie Raskin

I’ve had a number of people write me over the past week and ask how my family is doing. (We are fine.) It’s been a long week for everyone living in DC. It’s been a long year for everyone in DC. Hell, it’s been a long year for everyone, everywhere – and it’s been longer still for those who’ve suffered illness and job loss and racism and grief.

I think I can say one thing: 2021 already feels pretty exhausting.

For our family, it’s also exhausting because we started this year as we start every year: by remembering when Shawn left this earth. Just a few days after the horror commenced downtown last week, we found ourselves marking the three-year anniversary of Shawn’s death. (“Deathiversary,” as it’s known colloquially. What an awful – and yet somehow useful – term.)

I write all of this as a way to tell you this: I simply don’t have anything more to say that hasn’t already been said about the violence in DC, except that it is truly terrible. But while I cannot really put anything into words, someone I really admire has done so much more.

His name is Jamie Raskin, and he is a congressman who has made headlines this week. I’ve been lucky to know him a bit and I was heartbroken to learn of the recent death of his son. If you’d like to read something beautiful, I encourage you to read this tribute he wrote for his son, who died by suicide on New Years Eve.

And if you’d like to read more about the life he’s been living over the past week, I think this article in the Atlantic is a powerful one.

At the end of class, I like to say to my students, “stay safe, stay home, and stay engaged.” It’s part of my job as a government teacher, I think. But then after that, I always add, “remember, I love you.”

Maybe teachers aren’t supposed to say that, but I feel like I can get away with it when I say it to the group as a whole. Because I want them to know that they are loved, even when it seems like the world is crashing down around them.

Hang in there, everyone.


  • Melissa

    I have so much respect for Jamie Raskin. He was a guest on MSNBC along with his wife just before the death of their son so it was particularly shocking to hear about that after seeing them together so recently. They both are dedicated public servants and pains me to think of what they’re going through right now, while still standing up for the country they love.

  • Marcia

    Thank you for your words. Watching Jamie Raskin on the floor this week, and listening to him do his job, for our country, in spite of the horrible loss he and his family had just suffered, was so powerful. And I have been thinking of you US Government teachers as well, what a time to be living and teaching.

    • M Brimley

      I feel honored to be a government teacher, always, but working with students this year has been the most challenging of my life. I’m so lucky to have great students. I too have been awed watching Jamie Raskin.