• Shawn Brimley and family for blog by DC widow writer Marjorie Hale
    Missing Shawn

    Letter to Shawn (Part 2)

    Dear Shawn, Right now, I am watching the sunset. It is gorgeous, and I am happy. It occurred to me that this might be strange for you to hear, all these years later. I was so sure that I’d never be happy without you, but here I am, more than 5 years after you left this earth and I am telling you that it is true. I am happy. So if you can somehow access this letter, I want you to know I’ve been thinking of you. I’ve been thinking of all that has changed since you left us and all that is somehow just as you imagined it back…

  • Grandpa Tom, father of DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley Hale, hugs a friend
    From the Archives

    From the Archives: Aren’t We Lucky?

    “Aren’t we lucky?” When I was a kid, it was one of my dad’s favorite phrases to say. When he’d realize that frozen grape juice concentrate was on sale or that my mom had made stir-fry or that the local newspaper was delivered early, he’d smile as though he’d won the lottery. As a young child, I was delighted in how he embraced serendipity, but as I approached the teen years, I thought it was annoying. “Listen! It’s my favorite song on the radio!” he’d say in his characteristic Texas twang, and I’d retort, “Dad, every song is your favorite song.” He never let my teenage doubts get to him.…

  • Family of DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley Hale in the kitchen
    From the Archives

    From the Archives: Playing on the Roof

    Tommy greeted me breathlessly at the door, screaming “Mama!” and throwing himself in my arms. I was late, again. Teaching was supposed to be a job where you got home early, but that first fall without Shawn there seemed to be too many students who needed my help and too many papers to grade. I was getting home when the sun was low in the sky almost every day. “I’m sorry I’m late,” I said as I stepped in the door. Inside were a half-dozen kids and I could hear more upstairs.  I went and greeted my dad, who was reading in the recliner, seemingly oblivious to the noise around…

  • Grandpa Tom, father of DC widow writer Marjorie Brimley Hale
    From the Archives

    From the Archives: Claire Doesn’t Want the Goldfish Crackers

    We never really talked about the division of labor in the house when my dad arrived, as I basically needed him to do everything Shawn and I had once done together: packing lunches and folding laundry and walking kids to neighborhood birthday parties. When Shawn was in the hospital, and then immediately after he died, my dad never asked much about what he needed to do. He mostly just figured it out. My youngest son, Tommy, was in preschool at our church, a short walk from our house. I couldn’t face the sympathetic faces I knew I’d encounter at the school, so I let my dad take over the task…

  • Mother of DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley Hale takes photo
    From the Archives

    From the Archives: To Me, She Glowed From Within

    I was in the backseat and my father was driving. The car was a blue station wagon, the same car that half of the families in my hometown drove. The vinyl seat stuck to my 7-year-old legs even though the air conditioning was on in the car. The air conditioning was always on in the summer, as my mom would get upset if it got too warm in the car. I was sweaty from running around with my friends in the warmth of the early evening, so even with the cool air, my legs were plastered to the seat. I lifted them up over and over again, trying to find…

  • Grandpa Tom looks at DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley Hale
    From the Archives

    From the Archives: Who Do You Want Raising Your Grandkids?

    One morning as I ate the breakfast of eggs my dad had just made for me, I watched him go about his work in the kitchen. He was cleaning up the dishes from the kids and then he wiped Tommy’s mouth with the blue sponge from the sink. I thought about how readily he’d moved in with us after Shawn’s death. For a long time, I’d just accepted the decision as a normal one. But I also knew it couldn’t have been an easy one to make. At that point, he’d been living with us for almost a year. I watched him take a long swipe of the counter with…