• Hospital corridor and beam of light representing DC widow blogger Marjorie Brimley seeing death
    New Perspectives


    After years of reading terrible books like Captain Underpants, Austin finally showed interest in starting the Harry Potter series. A few months ago, we began reading the first book, and we’ve progressively moved through the story. It’s a compelling one, with characters and themes that are far beyond those easily understandable by a 7-year-old. One of the magical creatures that appears in the series is a thestral. I had to actually look up the definition of this bat-like, horse-shaped creature online, and once I did I remembered that it was a special kind of supernatural being: the thestral is only visible to people who’ve seen someone die and accepted that…

  • Shawn and Marjorie Brimley in their DC house with heads touching before Shawn's illness
    Missing Shawn

    When He Was Still Mine

    One year ago today, curled up next to him in the hospital bed, I began to tell him a story. It was the story of our life together. I was up almost the entire night previously. He was sick, and needed care and I couldn’t sleep and let him suffer. At 4 am I checked his breathing. At 5 am I called my friends to bring me paperwork so I could take over the medical decision-making process. At 6 am I called his family. “Hurry,” I said. At 7 am, the palliative care nurses came in, and I wept for the first time in 12 hours. “You can get in…

  • Shawn Brimley, husband of DC widow blog writer Marjorie, walks across a field with son Tommy
    Things That Suck

    “I Think He’s Dying”

    It was New Year’s Day, 2018. I was with a couple of friends and their husbands. Our kids ran all over the house, happy to be with each other. Shawn was at home, finally, but we had decided that he’d spend the afternoon sleeping and I’d take the kids out of the house. It was freezing, and they were stir-crazy. I didn’t want to leave him, but there was still some part of me that thought we had a really long road ahead of us. If that was the case, we needed to make sure to keep the kids’ routine steady, and that meant getting them out of the house…

  • Shawn and Marjorie Brimley at their wedding before moving to DC
    Things That Suck

    One Year Later

    There was a nurse who sat with me, that I remember. I can’t really recall what she looked like, but I remember what it felt to have her arms wrapped around me as I sat on the floor of the emergency room, unable to stand. “I know what this means,” I kept saying over and over. “My husband has spots on his liver. I know what this means.” She didn’t try and tell me my fears were misplaced. She knew what it meant too. But she sat with me on that disgusting floor. Eventually, she took me somewhere to pull myself together. I called one of my friends. I can’t…

  • DC widow Marjorie Brimley at Joshua Tree National Park looking into the distance
    Missing Shawn

    The Joshua Tree

    I was in Palm Springs last weekend to take a break, but really, I was trying to escape my life. I needed a break from the new sadness that was permeating my life. A friend lent me her house and I met up with some girlfriends who had once lived in DC. Between us, we have nine young children, so everyone was really excited for some down time. The second day we were there, my friend Margaret got it in her head that we should go hiking. “Ugh,” I thought. “I just want to relax.” But I let her convince me it was a good idea. Plus, though it was…

  • Redwood tree similar to that used in Marjorie Brimley's EMDR image in therapy after becoming a widow
    New Perspectives


    I got together with one of my widow friends the other day (yes, that’s a thing) and we started talking about all of the crazy types of therapy we’ve both tried. Of course, we both have individual therapists (I’ve been through three) and group therapy (we’d each tried a few.) She told me about a “grief yoga” group she attended. I talked about the crazy “mindfulness and grief” group I went to that was not a terrible idea in theory but that I had to leave in practice once people started crying about their dead dogs. Of all of them, I found the spousal loss group I did at the…