DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley's husband plays guitar at their wedding

Our 15th Wedding Anniversary

Shawn used to play an acoustic version of Ice Ice Baby on his guitar. He didn’t do it much after we had kids but when we were in our 20s and I’d egg him on at parties, he’d whip out his guitar and start with this:

All right stop
Collaborate and listen
Ice is back with my brand new invention
Something grabs a hold of me tightly
Then I flow that a harpoon daily and nightly
Will it ever stop?
Yo, I don’t know
Turn off the lights and I’ll glow

He’d always sing the whole thing, but what made it so hilarious was his intonation and the fact that he pretended to take it really seriously. At the end of the performance, whoever was listening would start laughing hysterically.

If you can believe this, I never videotaped a single performance. God, what I would give for a recording of Shawn doing this. It makes me want to scream at every married couple I know, “make more videos of each other!” We all have a million videos of our kids, of course. But our spouses? Who has many of those?

I do have a few videos of Shawn, mostly of him with the kids. I also have our wedding video. But I’ve never actually watched our wedding video. Neither did Shawn. As our first anniversary approached, we were discussing what to do, and I suggested we watch it. Shawn demurred. “I want my memory of that day to stay the same. It was perfect. If I watch the video, I’ll remember it in a different way.”

I understood what he meant. Videos have a way of recording exactly what’s happened but….they don’t necessarily capture how it made you feel in the moment. Then, if you re-watch a video sometimes that original memory can fade a bit. Or change. Or something like that.

I don’t want my memories of Shawn to change even though I know that they probably already have.

The annoying things he used to do – leave a dirty dish in the sink rather than the dishwasher or insist that I hadn’t set up correctly for a party when I’d been organizing all day but had forgotten the condiments – those things have faded to the background of my memories of him. I guess this is pretty common when you love someone. Hell, Tommy seems like such a sweet angel right now, as he’s sleeping at the end of a long day. When he was screaming at lunch and then begging to be carried for hours in the afternoon, well, he certainly wasn’t that cute. So I suppose it’s not that strange that Shawn’s annoying qualities have faded, and what I remember is the feeling I got when I was around him:

Like I was the best thing that ever happened to him.

The thing is, if I went back and watched that wedding video, I might notice one of those annoying qualities he had. Or I’d see some of the distracting things that happened that day that I’ve long since forgotten. I’d remember those things, rather than the feeling of Shawn picking me up, moments after we were married, and hugging me like it was the greatest day of his life.

Because it was, for both of us.

15 years ago, I married the love of my life. He wasn’t a perfect guy, but he made me feel like a million bucks. He was funny and smart and dammit if he wasn’t the most engaging person I’ve ever met.

So on this anniversary of sorts, I’m not watching my wedding video. I have it, just in case the kids want to see it someday. But I want to remember all of the feelings from that day, rather than all of the details.

Because that’s what I remember most about Shawn. The feeling of being with him.


  • Randy

    Perfect words, Marjorie.

    My wife (of 40 years), Anne, died 2 years ago. I miss the feeling of being with her. On July 1, I went on a late Father’s Day (half a day) fishing trip with our oldest son and oldest grandson. The house seemed emptier than usual when I got home, and now I understand why. Anne would have wanted all the details of the day.

    Thank you for writing. I get some hope from you.

    • Marjorie

      Yes, exactly – it’s one of the hardest things…coming home and knowing that there’s no one at home who wants all the details. I’m so sorry for your loss!

  • Michael Zoosman


    I had no idea Shawn had this talent, as well. Thank you for sharing this.

    With best wishes to you and your family for peace and joy,

  • Paula

    So much of what you write is my life too!! My husband Rudy died 12 weeks ago of a heart attack…he was 46, now I am a widow at 45. Reading your blog makes be feel less alone, Rudy too was a guitar player and his personality made him the life of the party.
    I am struggling to learn who I am without him. We were together since we were 16
    And would have had our 21 anniversary in August. Please keep writing….it is so comforting to know I am not alone.

    • Marjorie

      I’m so sorry. That’s just awful. The early days of grief are terrible, and you just have to survive them. It may not be much of a consolation, but it does get easier.

    • Jen

      Wow Paula, I get the same feelings from reading the posts on this blog and I too am a young widow late 30s, with an anniversary coming in August, only 8 weeks into having lost my love who I was with since 16years old. Your words made me start typing to you as I too have no idea who I am without Phil. He was my best friend who I spoke about everything to.
      Also, I love how you honored your marriage and husband Marjorie.
      I am so sorry for all that are feeling this pain and pray you all continue to find ways to live meaningful lives in honor of your loves.

      • Marjorie

        Thanks for reading, Jen. I’m so sorry that you have had such a terrible loss but I am glad that you’ve found this forum. Shawn and I had an imperfect but happy marriage – and damn, I miss it, even if the pain of losing his has eased a bit. The grief remains, but my ability to get through the days has gotten easier, and it will for you too. Sending hugs.