• Grandpa Tom Clark reads a book to Tommy Brimley
    Family & Friends

    Grandpa Tom

    It’s crazy that I’ve written dozens of blog posts, but have yet to write one solely on my father.  I think the reason is that every time I sit down to write it, I think, “I can’t possibly capture my dad in one blog post!”  Which of course is true.  But since he left on Monday to return to Oregon for the summer, I feel compelled to at least try and capture a bit of what makes him so wonderful. For anyone who knows him, you know that my dad loves just a few things in life: family, golf and Texas football.  He retired a few years ago with the…

  • Tommy Brimley as a baby looking into his house in DC
    Things That Suck

    Keep Walking Past That Door

    I have another root canal today. It’s my second one in the past few months. For the first one, I had to leave Shawn at the hospital and go get the root canal and then come back immediately afterwards to be with him. He was having a hard time getting around at that point, and so he would make big goals like walking around the entire hospital wing three times. He’d wait for me to come to the hospital, and whenever I was there, we’d do his workout for the day. It was like watching someone do an Olympic event – he worked so damn hard, focusing on the task…

  • Marjorie and Shawn Brimley dancing at wedding in Washington DC
    Missing Shawn

    “You look hot, by the way”

    Two days before he died, Shawn was up at night, sick from chemotherapy and the cancer that was racking his body. It was about 2 am, and I stumbled out of bed in just a tank top and underwear, rushing to get him a towel to help him wash his face. He could barely walk, but he had managed to get himself to the bathroom without my help, and I was just standing there, trying to figure out what was the best thing for him. “What can I do for you?” I asked him. “Nothing,” he said. He paused.  Then he turned and looked at me and said, “you look…

  • Brimley kids having fun without parents
    Things That Suck

    It Can Always Get Worse

    Many years ago, when I had just moved to my current neighborhood, I went out to dinner with my new friend Becky, who I met through our kids’ preschool. I didn’t know her that well yet, but I knew she was fun and up for taking 4 kids under 4 out to dinner at our local Mexican restaurant. It was insane. Our 3-year-olds threw chips everywhere and wouldn’t stay in their seats. Her 1-year-old was crying and mine was drinking the salsa like it was water. We had both just worked all day and then were dealing with this. I looked at her, exasperated, and said, “my God, could it…

  • Marjorie Brimley walking as a single parent with daughter Claire

    First Day Back

    When I went to put on my shoes this morning, I realized they were caked with mud.  For a moment, I was confused.  But then I remembered – the last time I wore these shoes was at Shawn’s burial on that freezing January day. Ugh.  It was the first thing to trigger my grief and it was only 6:30 in the morning.  And today was going to be a big day, because it was my first day back at work since early January.  I actually worked through a lot of Shawn’s hospital stay, because we thought he would eventually be okay and someone needed to make sure to maintain a steady…

  • Austin and Tommy Brimley on their scooters during the last weekend before Shawn got sick
    Family & Friends

    There’s Only One Option, and This Is It

    My life before Shawn got sick was charmed in so many ways.  Like many other people who live privileged lives, I had only a vague sense of how perfect everything was.  Many times since Shawn has died, I’ve thought, “what was life even like before he was sick?”  So I went back to my Google calendar and tried to figure it out.  The first week in October, right before before he first started having stomach pain, my calendar was filled with things like, “Shawn on field trip with Austin,” “elementary school fall picnic,” “Claire guitar lesson,” and “dinner with friends.” God, it was so normal. Looking at my calendar led…