• Hospital hallway for blog by DC widow writer Marjorie Brimley Hale
    Ask A Widow

    Acts of God?

    A few weeks ago, my friend Kumar asked me to speak to a group of ministers training to do a special type of work in hospitals and prisons. Kumar is a pastor who I met years ago, and someone with whom I’ve done a variety of events. We talk a lot about grief. But we also talk a lot about life, since grief is a part of it. He wanted me to talk about what I needed when Shawn was hospitalized, and then what I needed after he died. Initially, I thought about all of the logistics – the carpool rides for the kids and the grocery runs and the…

  • ER hallway like that visited by DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley
    Things That Suck

    Room 9

    Tommy’s clothes were covered in blood when I saw him. He’d been playing football with the big kids and had finally gotten the ball. Excited by this thrilling turn of events, he took off…and collided with the iron fence. The cut on his head was deep. He needed to go to the ER. Chris volunteered to go, but the health insurance for Tommy comes from me. As we’ve already discovered, just because the kids and I think of Chris as a parent doesn’t mean he legally has those advantages at this point. I needed to take Tommy. Chris would stay behind with the big kids, both of whom were pretty…

  • Nurse in mask like that of sister of DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley
    Family & Friends

    Front Lines

    My sister Lindsay is an ER nurse. And let me just state the obvious: Right now is not an easy time to be an ER nurse. The other day, she called as she was leaving work, clearly exhausted. She lives on the West Coast and works the night shift, so we usually talk when it’s mid-morning for me and she’s traveling home. I asked her about how things were going and we discussed how hard her shifts had become, how they were making tough decisions about testing or not testing potential cases of COVID-19, and the shortage of masks. Lindsay doesn’t sugar coat things, and she acknowledged that without the…

  • Nuts on plate similar to those that caused allergic reaction in DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley
    Family & Friends

    Pistachio Nuts, Epipens and Friends

    Last Thursday was a great day. Claire tried out for the local rock climbing team, and since I don’t have childcare in the summer, I took the boys to watch. They had fun too, and we all drove home with the windows down and the music blasting. I put frozen taquitos in the oven for my kids as we all re-lived the fun we’d had that afternoon. And then I almost ended up in the ER. You see, I’m super allergic to tree nuts, and somehow, I’d ordered a salmon meal for my dinner that contained pistachio nuts. In my haste to get everyone’s food ready, I didn’t read the…

  • DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley gets car battery repaired
    New Perspectives

    The Day the Car Didn’t Start

    The day the car didn’t start was a day when I really needed the car to start. I guess that’s usually how it goes, right? As usual, I had risen at five in the morning, gone on a run and pulled myself together by the time my kids woke up. “Okay,” I said to the three of them at breakfast, “here’s the plan. Grandpa Tom will take Tommy to his allergy shots. I’ll drop Austin off with the Wilsons and Claire is coming with me to Children’s Hospital to get a blood draw. We’ll all need to go in a few minutes.” I rounded the big kids up and we…

  • Fries like those eaten by DC widow blogger Marjorie Brimley on Christmas
    Things That Suck

    Sweet Potato Fries

    The morning of Shawn’s funeral, I went to put on the one black skirt I had, and it literally fell off my body. I hadn’t realized until that point how much weight I had lost over the previous six weeks. My sister helped pin the skirt on me, and told me that really, it didn’t look that bad. “No one will notice,” she said. She was trying to be comforting, but it was probably true. No one was going to care what I was wearing. Including me. I hadn’t been able to eat much at all throughout Shawn’s hospital stay. At times, I was outright banned from eating in his…