• DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley with husband Shawn and baby Claire
    Things That Suck

    Not a Shitty Husband

    I was with a friend a few weeks ago who was recovering from surgery.  He was hurting, and I suggested he take a painkiller. “I did that for about three weeks after the surgery,” he said, “but I’ve stopped doing that.” “Why?” I asked.  “Take the drugs!  There’s no reason to hurt like you are.” “Yes there is,” he said.  “Because I hurt when I’m starting to over-do it.  The pain warns me to stop.” “Right,” I said, feeling silly, “that, of course, is why pain exists.” We laughed a bit.  But I thought about this idea later.  We have physical pain to warn us about something – a headache…

  • Image of 3 desks in classroom like that of DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley


    Workplaces love surveys, don’t they? My school is a great place to work. As I’ve written about before, I get constant support from my colleagues, administrators and parents. I know I’m lucky to have this. So, recently, when I received a “employee satisfaction survey” I was happy to take it. I marked a lot of “extremely satisfied” and “definitely yes” answers. But then I got to this question, and I paused: “Are you able to present yourself each day in a way that is seen by our students as consistent and reliable (i.e., unaffected by outside-of-school problems)?” I didn’t have a hard time with the first part of the question,…

  • DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley poses with friends and their husbands at a party
    Family & Friends

    The Little Things

    Right after Shawn died, I was talking to a girlfriend of mine about how I missed going out to dinner.  “We can go out anytime,” she said.  “If it’s easier, we can just go out with all of the women.” She was trying to be compassionate.  She understood that it could be hard for me to go out with a group of couples, especially so recently after Shawn died. But I didn’t want that, and I told her so.  The men in our group – they are my friends too. I appreciated that she was trying to be mindful of my feelings.  But what I appreciated even more was that…

  • DC Widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley's desk with note that says you are loved
    What Not to Say

    What (Not) to Say in Crisis

    Right after Shawn died, lots of people tried to say things to me that were supposed to be comforting.  Most of these sayings reminded me of Hallmark cards, even if they were heartfelt (i.e. “I’m thinking of you in this difficult time.”)  Other times, people stumbled over their words, trying to find the right thing to say.  Sometimes, people said nothing at all. (As a note, I think saying nothing at all is the worst.  Better to mess up and say something annoying/imperfect than to ignore a terrible situation.  Even if it’s been a year or two and you still haven’t said anything to someone who’s grieving, you can do…

  • DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley's baby holds a stuffed parrot
    Family & Friends

    Rainbow Chicken

    I know I keep writing about it, but wow, March was HARD. I cried more than I’d cried in months, and I had moments when I wasn’t sure if I was going to be okay in the long-term. I had terrible anxiety at night and walked around like a bit of a zombie during the day. But I convinced myself that my kids didn’t really notice. Or if they did, they didn’t care that much. They still had school and their friends and my dad. So what if their mom was a little bit off? Claire asked how I was doing a few times, and I was honest that I…

  • Soccer players kick the ball just like DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley did in post
    New Perspectives

    Walk to the End of the Driveway

    My dad spent over four decades working as a doctor. Most of those years were spent in my hometown in Oregon. It’s a small town, and so my dad saw all sorts of people in his practice. But the life of an internist is not glamorous, and while my dad had a number of great stories when he was able to save someone’s life, usually his days consisted of seeing people with mundane problems like diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease. Often, he had to talk to his patients about losing weight. “You just need to eat less and exercise more,” my dad would say. “I’m trying,” the patient…