• DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley hugs son Austin in fountain

    My Nine-Year-Old Boy

    We found out that you were a boy on Christmas Day. We had asked the ultrasound technician to put the sex of our second child in an envelope, and then we opened it together with our extended family. A boy! That night, we drove back to where we were staying. Claire was in the back seat, sleeping, and your father drove silently. “I am going to have a son,” he said, finally, breaking the silence. “I know,” I said. “I mean, we are going to have a son,” he said, correcting himself. I smiled at him. I knew what he meant. “I want to be a good father to my…

  • DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley hugs daughter Claire


    My sweet Claire, today is your birthday. You are eleven. This one seems different than the others, somehow. You are so much older and wiser, so much more aware of the world around you. Maybe it’s how all 11-year-olds are. But something makes me think you have just a bit more insight than many kids your age. The light in your eyes is bright, but you have wisdom in them too. That, I think, is something that’s special about you. Life hasn’t always been easy on you, but you have made the best lemonade out of the lemons you’e been dealt. Yes, you lost your father when you were just…

  • Railroad tracks like that discussed by DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley


    Tomorrow, I turn 41. I should be celebrating. I love my birthday – it’s one of my favorite days of the year. I love how everyone is super nice and wishes me “happy birthday” all day and how I hear from new and old friends alike. I love how my kids are on their best behavior and I love the cards they make me every year. But I can’t quite get excited about it because I’m turning 41. It’s the birthday Shawn never got to celebrate. It’s not just that I’m going to be older than him, for the first time ever. It’s not just that I’m now “in my…

  • Children of DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley run down a hill in Europe

    Shawn’s Birthday, Year 2

    “It’s hot!” Claire said just after she touched her food.  We were spending the day in France and Monaco.  Just before sitting down for a late-morning snack, we’d hiked to a beautiful outlook.  From the top, we could see a gorgeous view of the French Riviera.  I was dumbstruck, but the kids were mostly hot and hungry, because, well, they are kids. So we found a little café nearby and I ordered croissants for everyone.  It took a long time because they made them from scratch and then brought them out straight from the oven.  “Just take a small piece to eat,” I told Claire. She took one bite and…

  • DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley's daughter Claire outside a subway station with her cousin in NYC

    New York, New York

    “Woah,” Claire said as we came out of the dark tunnel and into the sunshine.  “This is New York?  It’s AMAZING!” We had arrived at Penn Station for a special birthday trip to the Big Apple.  She’d been to New York before, but she didn’t remember it.  This trip was going to be different.  We were meeting her cousin Ashley (and Ashley’s mom Amy, who flew out from Texas to meet us because they are awesome) and we were going to celebrate Claire’s first decade of life.  “It’s so busy!” Claire said, “and all the cabs are yellow.  And there’s someone dressed like Wonder Woman over there!” I laughed.  Her…

  • DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley's daughter Claire writes "I love you Dad" on memory board
    Family & Friends

    Colon Cancer Run

    “Looks like the date of the Scope It Out run has been set for March 31,” the text read. It was from my friend Ilan. After Shawn died, Ilan spent countless hours organizing the first group of people to run in this spring 5K to raise money for colon cancer. I knew he wanted to continue the tradition this year. I looked at his text again.  Could that date be right?  It was.  The colon cancer run was scheduled for Claire’s tenth birthday.  While I had a whole string of events planned for her, I knew that we’d also have to participate in the run on the same day.  I…