• DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley is kissed by her husband and hugged by her children in a field


    The first party Shawn threw for me was for my 24th birthday. We’d been dating since the previous fall and it had only taken him a few months to understand the importance I placed on my birthday. As a kid, my mom had always gone all out on our birthdays and I continued to want lots of fun and attention on my birthday. For my birthdays in college I had danced until the wee hours of the morning and really, turning 24 felt like another college birthday. I hadn’t quite yet grown up, even if I did know that I was likely to spend the rest of my life with…

  • Marjorie Brimley and kids with cake for Shawn's birthday after his death

    Shawn’s Birthday, Part 2

    As promised, I took the kids to the cemetery on their Dad’s birthday, which was Wednesday. I had no idea how it would go. They were at a tennis camp with my friend Christine’s two kids, and so when it came time to go, Christine decided that she’d come with her kids too. So we loaded them up and took off right after lunch – just two moms on an outing with their kids to the cemetery. We talked a lot in the car about the cemetery. I told them that it looked like a park and that Shawn’s grave had a marker on it and grass growing over it.…

  • Austin Brimley looking at Shawn Brimley's grave outside DC

    Shawn’s Birthday

    My kids always seem to have a knack of knowing when important dates are coming up.  They are too young to use calendars, so they don’t usually recognize when something is about to happen.  But somehow, in the past six months, they’ve known when a big event is on the horizon.  Maybe that’s because I become anxious, and they can feel it in the air. Father’s Day was like this.  The kids didn’t know exactly when it was, but they seemed to be just a little more on edge in the days leading up to it.  And so, I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised when they were totally wild…

  • Claire Brimley's birthday party pinata "Uni"

    My First Sleepover Birthday Party

    Claire turned nine a few days ago, and last night was her birthday party.  She begged me for a sleepover.  I relented because 1) it seemed easier than any other alternative and 2) right now I’m trying to let my kids have as much fun as they can. I only let her invite a few kids and the night started out fine.  Not perfect, because the unicorn pinata I bought was decapitated after one single hit to the head, but everyone seemed to be having fun otherwise.  Very quickly, however, it became clear that this party was not going to be easy for me. Take the cake.  I had actually…

  • Brimley family on a birthday wagon ride before becoming a widow

    My 39th Birthday…

    …the first one without Shawn since number 22. I love my birthday. When I got the news that our third child was due on my 35th birthday, I cried.  Not my most mature moment, for sure, but February 25th is my day. Shawn knew this.  And every year he planned for it.  Last year he got a group of friends together and we sang karaoke until the wee hours of the night.  Shawn and I started out with our favorite song – Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ on a Prayer.”  It was the first song we sang together the night we met, in the late summer of 2001 in Japan.  There are…