• Bank paperwork for blog by DC widow writer Marjorie Brimley Hale
    Things That Suck

    The Man at the Bank

    When Chris first came to stay with us, he quickly began to realize how many things were in bad physical shape in the house. Doorknobs that fell off, holes in the wall that had never been patched, lights that didn’t work – the list was really long. He was sweet about it, but sometimes seemed concerned that I’d let things atrophy so much. In those early days, I remember thinking, good thing he doesn’t know about the other “systems” I use to run my life. The thing is, when Shawn died there were so many parts of my life that seemed to break down. In particular, I didn’t know how…

  • Woman driving car for blog by DC widow writer Marjorie Brimley Hale
    New Perspectives

    A Car for Our Future

    When we bought the car, I wasn’t sure if I liked it. I was pregnant with Austin and I wasn’t comfortable behind the steering wheel and it was so much bigger than our previous car. But we were becoming a family of four, and we just didn’t fit easily in the other car. Or at least both carseats didn’t. And so we bought a Mazda with a third row, a car big enough to fit three car seats when the time came, a car that brought both of our boys home from the hospital, a car that took us to Canada and camping and to a zillion soccer games. It…

  • power lines for blog by DC widow writer Marjorie Brimley
    Things That Suck

    To Update the Account, Part 2

    The first few months of widowhood are awful, full of deep pain, heavy anxiety and….a shit ton of paperwork. It’s actually amazing. I mean, I knew there would be some paperwork, but I had no idea that for many weeks after Shawn’s death, I’d need to devote at least 4-5 hours a day to figuring out finances and bills and forms and everything else. Did your late husband have a car he owned, one that didn’t have you on the title? Well, you’ll have to go to court for that! Yes, even if there was a will. Welcome to probate. I am grateful that I had resources to go to…

  • 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…

  • Shawn and Marjorie Brimley playing guitar and having fun
    Things That Suck

    To Update the Account

    At 5 am the day Shawn died, I called and woke up my friend Becky. I needed her to get my will and bring the advance medical directive to the hospital so I could take over the medical decision-making for Shawn. She woke up our friend Michelle and they called a lawyer, who helped look over the documents. They got everything digitized and brought hard copies to me by the time the sun came up. I never needed them. Shawn died too quickly. I didn’t have to make any truly terrible decisions about his end-of-life care. But I’ll never forget them arriving at the crack of dawn, paperwork in hand.…