• DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley's feet at her husband's grave
    Missing Shawn

    Reflections at Your Grave on Easter Weekend

    I’m sitting on your grave, typing.  The workers here already think that I’m crazy – I saw one of them gesture towards me a few minutes ago when I laid my head in the grass – but I’m just going to keep writing.  I’m not like all the other visitors.  I’ve been here for an hour, and I’ve seen the mourners come and go.  They drive up, get out slowly from their cars, and walk to a grave.  Maybe they bring flowers.  Maybe they stare at the grave for a while.  But after a few minutes, they leave. I’m not sure why they would leave on such a beautiful day. …

  • DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley holding her three children
    Missing Shawn

    “I Want Daddy to Come Back”

    Earlier this week, I told my kids that I was going to go to the cemetery on the anniversary of their father’s death. “Do any of you want to come?” Austin and Tommy enthusiastically agreed. “I want to come too,” Claire said softly. I was happy. A year ago, she refused to go to the cemetery. She thought it would be too sad, and though she couldn’t quite explain it, she worried about re-living the moment her father’s body was put in the ground. But when she finally went, on Shawn’s birthday last summer, she found it to be a place that was calming for her. She still doesn’t go…

  • DC widow Marjorie Brimley at her husband's gravesite
    Missing Shawn

    Falling Trees

    It was the first day of Sunday school yesterday, and my children happily went to their classrooms which meant I had 45 uninterrupted minutes to drink coffee and talk to other adults. I hadn’t been to church in a while and so the time passed quickly as I caught up with all my friends. Soon it was almost time to go get the kids. All of the sudden I heard a loud noise and the power went out. “I’m going to get my kids right now,” I said to my friend Kristin. “I’ll go get the big kids and you get the little kids,” she said. I went downstairs, but…

  • 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…

  • Brimley family enjoying a beautiful view together before Shawn Brimley's death
    Things That Suck

    Costco and the Cemetery

    The cemetery where Shawn is buried is wild and beautiful, filled with trees and migrating birds and simple headstones in the ground.  It is a peaceful and truly contemplative place, and though it’s right outside the city, it feels like the countryside.  When I chose the cemetery, I chose it for all of these reasons.  I also chose it because it’s right next to Costco. I know.  But hear me out.  I wanted to go to Shawn’s grave, sit there and think about our life together, grieve for him, remember him…and do it more than once a year.  I wanted to make it part of my regular life, and well,…