• Join or Die banner in DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley's house
    Things That Suck


    I could tell about halfway through my run this morning that I was going to have to quit early. It happens sometimes. I think I’m okay, and then running puts me into this zen-like place where I start pondering the big questions in my life. And then the tears come. Sometimes I can run through them. Sometimes I can slow down, and lean against the side of the treadmill and breathe and then start again. But this time I had to stop. I saw the fat tears drop on my shoes and I gave into my sadness. The tears were not about Shawn. Well, they weren’t exclusively about Shawn. I…

  • DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley holding her three children
    Missing Shawn

    “I Want Daddy to Come Back”

    Earlier this week, I told my kids that I was going to go to the cemetery on the anniversary of their father’s death. “Do any of you want to come?” Austin and Tommy enthusiastically agreed. “I want to come too,” Claire said softly. I was happy. A year ago, she refused to go to the cemetery. She thought it would be too sad, and though she couldn’t quite explain it, she worried about re-living the moment her father’s body was put in the ground. But when she finally went, on Shawn’s birthday last summer, she found it to be a place that was calming for her. She still doesn’t go…

  • Shawn and Marjorie Brimley in car after wedding surrounded by family and friends
    Missing Shawn

    In the Movie Version of My Life

    A few weeks ago, I was washing dishes and talking to my friends Becky and Michelle. They had come over with their kids for dinner and we were chatting about our lives. We discussed a blog post of mine that had come out recently – the one about how I need to figure out how to make it in the world without a man. “Not forever, mind you!” I said with a wink. They knew what I meant. I’m certainly not done with men for the rest of my life. And yet the future of that part of my life seems…difficult to comprehend. “In the movie version of your life,”…

  • Marjorie Brimley DC widow stands in field in the fall
    New Perspectives


    “You are so strong.” The woman – the one who I barely know – looks at me with sorrow in her eyes. “You are amazing,” she says. “I think just about anyone else who had to face such loss would not do nearly as well as you have.” I thank her, and we part. I know she meant well, so I don’t think much of it. Also, I hear something like this at least a few times a week, so I’m used to it. I know everyone wants to be encouraging and maybe the people who tell me I am strong are actually impressed with my ability to keep it…

  • Marjorie Brimley's sons, Austin and Tommy, read a book in DC room

    Report Cards

    My kids came home this week with their first term report cards. I opened them up and braced myself. Last year’s report cards were decent, but Claire struggled academically in math and Austin sometimes shut down in big groups. I figured that those flaws were okay because, well, if they were managing to just attend school, that struck me as a win for the year. But this year’s report cards were great. I mean, no one is going to Harvard tomorrow, but both of my big kids are on grade level and doing things like “respecting the rights of others.” Austin “has a large peer group and enjoys interacting with…

  • Marjorie Brimley getting interviewed during the Women's March in DC
    New Perspectives

    Smash the Patriarchy

    I was listening to music the other day, and the song “Cowboy Take Me Away” by the Dixie Chicks came on. I haven’t heard it for over a decade, but it still evokes emotions from the time period when I was first away from home. I was in college, surrounded by a million friends, and yet I was newly motherless and had the unsettled feeling that the future was unknowable. In many ways, I felt like I do today. Of course, the circumstances are totally different now, but many days I feel lost in a similar way that I did almost 20 years ago. When I heard the song again,…