• 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…

  • Car in car wash for blog by DC widow writer Marjorie Brimley
    New Perspectives

    Just Keep Doing It

    Last week I realized that I hadn’t washed my car for an entire year. Why would I wash it? I rarely drove it on a day-to-day basis anymore, and when we went on long car trips I figured it was going to get dirty anyway. Plus, I truly don’t care about my car. When Shawn was alive, I did almost nothing to it, as he was in charge of all of the maintenance, right down to the windshield wiper fluid. After he died, I learned enough to keep it running, but I only cleaned it when it was truly disgusting. And I haven’t been in it enough lately to care.…

  • Corn field like that in blog by DC widow writer Marjorie Brimley
    New Perspectives

    The Price of Corn

    I teach American government, so you can bet that if something newsworthy happens in politics, I’m going to hear about it from one of my students. Last week, after the Iowa Senate debate, I received this (now infamous) clip of the two candidates discussing farming and commodity prices. The challenger, Theresa Greenfield, knew the price of corn right away, but the incumbent, Joni Ernst, couldn’t remember the price of soy. It was one of those “gotcha” kind of questions that politicians are often asked. It’s the kind of question that may seem unfair. But I love these kinds of questions. Do I know the price of corn? No — but…

  • Children of DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley

    They Were So Little

    I love Facebook memories. I know lots of widows hate them, because it reminds them of what they’ve lost. But most of my memories are of my children, which I think makes it easier from a grief standpoint. They’re often photographs or videos that Shawn took and they remind me what he found hilarious or adorable about the kids. When we were first parents, we were debating with some other parents about whether it was okay to put your kids’ images online. “I think being able to document their young lives is actually pretty cool,” Shawn said. “I mean, think about it. They’re going to have this great record of…

  • DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley hugs son Austin in front of Supreme Court

    Tell Me How To Do It (Tribute to Ruth Bader Ginsburg)

    I met Ruth Bader Ginsburg once, right after watching her sit for a case at the Supreme Court. I’d been assigned to teach Constitutional Law for a semester and although I wasn’t fully prepared to teach it, I took it on with zeal. I spent much of the previous semester reading court cases and planning out lessons. Sure, I wasn’t a lawyer, but I could still teach this course, right? As I was laying out my final syllabus for approval that fall, Shawn went into the hospital. I kept working on it, taking notes as he slept next to me and drafting lesson plans in between his bouts of nausea…

  • DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley plays with her children in a fountain

    “Making It”

    When I was in graduate school, I listened to a presentation by a professor about single moms. At the time, I was a 28-year-old without children, so I didn’t question much of what he said (although he wasn’t a parent or a woman, which did make me think, “how does he really know what they think?” Actually, now that I write that as a 41-year-old single mom, I’m thinking, “there’s no way he truly understood what their experiences were like!” But I digress.) Anyway, his theory was that the single moms were grouped into two categories which basically consisted of “I can’t do this anymore” and “making it.” I actually…