• Family & Friends

    The Best Condolence Letter

    I got a lot of letters when Shawn died. Mostly, they were letters with photos of flowers on the front (why are there always flowers on sympathy cards?) and a short note inside saying something like, “We were so sorry to hear about Shawn’s passing. Our thoughts and prayers go out to you and the kids.” I appreciated these notes, at least in theory, but mostly I just tossed them into a drawer and forgot about them. I was thankful that people sent them and I really loved the cards where my friends and family recounted memories they had of Shawn. I saved a lot of them for the kids.…

  • DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley's children and their cousins play along a river
    Family & Friends

    The Oklahoma Clarks

    I was upstairs packing last week, and I could hear Austin talking with a friend downstairs.  “I can’t come over tomorrow because we’re going to see our cousins.  We’re flying on a plane to Oklahoma!” Technically, we were traveling to see his second cousins.  My cousin, Ellen, had moved with her family to Oklahoma a number of years ago and I’d never been to visit even though Ellen and I have always been really close.  “Oklahoma?” everyone asked with skepticism when I mentioned I was going there.  “What are you going to do there?” “I’m going to see my family,” I said.  Was any other explanation needed?  Everyone who has…