• Grocery bag for blog by DC widow writer Marjorie Brimley
    What Not to Say

    It’s Not Too Late to Say “Thank You”

    A year ago, I was really scared. Not scared like I was when Shawn was sick, or scared like I was after he died. Not like that. But not unlike that, either. My dad had left DC at the beginning of the pandemic and I was in lockdown with my kids. In those early days, I had no idea what the future held, but I knew one thing: I was alone. I wasn’t truly alone, of course, because I had friends and family who checked in on us, and modern technology that allowed me to continue teaching during the day and see my dad via FaceTime every night as I…

  • DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley with son Tommy looks away from camera
    Family & Friends

    I’ll Be Paying People Back for Carpool When I’m 80

    I was at a party a few months ago, and someone asked me how I was doing. I told her that I was okay, managing life day-by-day, and learning how to ask for a lot of help. “The thing about asking for help,” I said, “is that I have to ask people to do things for me knowing that I’ll never pay them back.” “Of course you do,” the woman said back. “It’s different, of course, but when I was working in government, I needed a lot of help with my kids. It’s been years, but I always say that I’ll be paying people back for carpool when I’m 80.”…

  • Groceries like that delivered to DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley
    Family & Friends

    A Genuine Offer, Freely Given, With Gladness

    Okay, here’s a little secret about widowed parenting (or at least my version of widowed parenting): sometimes I leave my kids home alone. I try not to. Claire is old enough to watch her brothers, yes, but Tommy is still little and I don’t want to put such a burden on her. That first summer after Shawn died, I actually looked up what the rules were about leaving kids home alone. My dad was gone and I wanted to be able to run around the block or pop out to get some milk without taking all three of them every single time. I was dismayed to learn that they needed…

  • Empty classroom like that of DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley
    Things That Suck


    I get that I’m supposed to remain calm. It’s what I said at the start of each of my classes on Thursday. “There is no need to panic,” I said, looking directly at my students. “We are going to get through this. We just need to plan.” That afternoon, my school announced that we would be shutting down next week. Spring break would follow, and we hoped to resume classes in early April. I breathed a sigh of relief. My kids’ school would soon follow with a similar announcement, and we could all just stay at home. “Remember, 99% of young people with COVID-19 recover in a few weeks,” my…

  • Nuts on plate similar to those that caused allergic reaction in DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley
    Family & Friends

    Pistachio Nuts, Epipens and Friends

    Last Thursday was a great day. Claire tried out for the local rock climbing team, and since I don’t have childcare in the summer, I took the boys to watch. They had fun too, and we all drove home with the windows down and the music blasting. I put frozen taquitos in the oven for my kids as we all re-lived the fun we’d had that afternoon. And then I almost ended up in the ER. You see, I’m super allergic to tree nuts, and somehow, I’d ordered a salmon meal for my dinner that contained pistachio nuts. In my haste to get everyone’s food ready, I didn’t read the…

  • DC widow blogger Marjorie Brimley splashes in water with her three children

    ….Hello 2019 (Part 2 of 2)

    Hello 2019. Hello security – in my finances, in my parenting, in my choices. Hello running fast and slow, up hills and down, with tears and without. Hello writing, this time without striving for so much perfection. Hello nights that end after midnight. Hello banker, financial advisor, lawyer.  I can navigate you and your paperwork now, and I’m going to be proud of that. Hello rocking my baby after his bath. Hello daydreams. Hello therapy over wine with girlfriends after school. Hello God.  Whoever or whatever or wherever you are. Hello acceptance of other people and their reactions to my loss. Hello eight hours of sleep. Hello empowerment.  Let my…