• DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley with youngest son Tommy holding her face
    Things That Suck

    You Are Alone. Accept That. Carry On.

    As I groped through the month of March, I tried a LOT of different things to feel better. I wrote. I ran. I talked to my friends. I drank wine. I cried. Sometimes I sobbed. I even texted my friends that I was thinking about following Michael Pollan’s experimentation with psychedelics. (My therapist friend Kelly responded with, “don’t do mushrooms! That’s a hard no.” I listened. Because, kids, you shouldn’t do illegal drugs to dull your pain. There are plenty of FDA-approved medicines that can help if that’s where you find yourself.) But before I get too far away from my key point here: March was terrible. (And yes, I…

  • DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley greets her children at event
    Things That Suck

    24 Hours

    I wake with a start. The clock says 5:15 and Tommy is next to me. My anxiety kept me up last night for an hour or so, but at least it’s better than the previous week. The room is freezing because the HVAC hasn’t worked in a week. But I can’t worry about that because it’s time to run, eat, shower, get the kids ready and get out the door. I get to school early and meet with a student. “You need to craft topic sentences that connect back to your thesis,” I say, and show her how to do that. Then I’m off to teach about US-Chinese relations. I…

  • DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley kisses her husband Shawn
    Things That Suck

    It Might Not Happen For Me

    I love podcasts. So did Shawn. We used to put them on in the morning to get caught up with the day’s news and we used to listen to really engaging ones in the evening together. One time when he was going through this big health kick, he made me listen to a multi-hour podcast on the dangers of sugar by a martial-arts expert. I rolled my eyes a lot at that one, but we ended up talking about it for days afterwards. For a while after Shawn died, I couldn’t listen to any of our old podcasts. I still liked listening to other people talk, but I switched to…

  • DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley hugs her three children
    New Perspectives

    I Am Doing Today

    Last week was brutal. And there was no warning. In fact, I thought that with my birthday, things would be great. I LOVE my birthday. But it somehow set off something in me that sent me on a downward spiral. Maybe it was the realization that I was entering a new decade, and I was doing it without Shawn. Maybe it was being overwhelmed with the many demands of childcare and work that somehow really piled up at that moment. Maybe it was the fact that late at night, I started to feel really, really lonely. Regardless, I hit a bottom like I haven’t hit in a number of months.…

  • DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley's husband Shawn walks with daughter with wife and boys in distance
    Things That Suck

    Who Has a Better Life Than Us?

    A few months ago, I remember thinking something like, “I think I’m in such a different place, because I’m not walking around the neighborhood crying anymore.” Well, strike that. Because that’s exactly what I did last weekend. There wasn’t a specific reason why I started walking about the neighborhood. I was overwhelmed by my kids and one of my friends kindly volunteered to take all three of them and I thought, “I gotta get out of my house.” The sun was shining and I decided to take a walk. As I started walking, I thought about my life. I thought about all of the walks I’d taken in my neighborhood…

  • House in Southern California near where the DC widow Marjorie went to collge
    Things That Suck


    A few months before my mom died, I broke up with my first boyfriend (who I’ll call Steve in this post.) Steve was good to me, and we were in love – at least in that way that 19-year-olds without a care in the world can be. But I had dated him since high school, and we both wanted to see who else was out there. I spent the summer that followed our break-up working at an amazing summer camp, Bruin Woods, and I met all sorts of new people. One of those new people I met was James. James worked as the camp’s fisherman, taking people out on early…