• Shawn Brimley's guitar with sticker saying Kick Out the GOP
    Missing Shawn

    What Would Shawn Do? (Election Day 2018)

    Two years ago, Shawn put a sticker on his guitar that read, “kick out the GOP 2018.” Shawn was a Democrat, and after working at the Department of Defense and the White House for President Obama, he was hopeful for another Democratic win in 2016. It didn’t happen. Shawn was frustrated, yes, and like many Democrats he had strong opinions about the direction the country headed throughout 2017. He wrote articles and went on TV and radio to argue his point of view. He felt frustrated by much of the tenor of politics throughout the last year of his life. But Shawn also loved being an American, and he believed…

  • Taxi at night similar to one taken by DC widow Marjorie in story
    New Perspectives

    “Go To the Hospital”

    The other night, I was taking a cab home with a couple of friends. Our driver was young and friendly, and we started talking to him about his life. He was upset that he had planned a fun weekend trip for his girlfriend and she had been ignoring his texts and calls all day. “Maybe she’s just busy,” someone offered. “Maybe,” he said, “but I think she’s mad.” We chatted more about their relationship and the many plans they had for their immediate future. I smiled at my friends. I knew they were also thinking how adorably innocent this guy was. “Do you think I should call her?” he asked…

  • 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…

  • Marjorie Brimley and her daughter running through a fountain in DC after Shawn's death
    New Perspectives


    Last week, I was hanging out at school with one of the art teachers. He was asking about my summer, and I told him that I really hadn’t had much fun. “I just want to have FUN again, you know?” He nodded along in agreement, although I think it was fairly impossible for him to imagine what life has been like for me lately. It hasn’t been fun. It seems like everything I’ve done lately has been for my children, and that all of my free time has been taken up with the annoyances of running a home by myself – finances, yard work, permission slips and the like. So…

  • Austin Brimley riding an ATV in a field in Michigan with the sun setting
    Missing Shawn

    Remembering Shawn as He Really Was

    “I’m going on an adventure with Dave!” Austin shouted to me as he grabbed his swimsuit and ran out the door. We were staying with our friends Elissa and Dave for the long weekend, and Austin was overjoyed to be on a farm away from the city. Claire ran after him and the two of them came back hours later with sunburned and smiling faces. They were in kid heaven. It took months to plan this trip. Our group of friends had scattered across the country, so figuring out how to get us all in one place was difficult. Two of them had moved abroad and another one had become…

  • Shawn Brimley with giant pumpkin near Halloween before he got cancer
    Missing Shawn

    Weekend Shawn

    One of Shawn’s favorite things to do was to have dinner on a Sunday night with other families.  He loved the weekends, and he wanted to make them last.  This usually meant we’d find our house full of kids and our fridge full of beer as the weekend rolled to a close on Sunday evenings. When Shawn got sick, we did this a lot less, and once he was in the hospital, we obviously didn’t do it at all.  After he died, I couldn’t even conceive of how I would manage to have friends over or do anything fun again.  One day, about two months after Shawn died, Claire looked…