• DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley runs through fountain with children

    …Hello 2020 (Part 2 of 2)

    Hello 2020. Hello widow friends. I’m sorry we met. But I’m glad I know you. Hello nights that last until 2 am. Sometimes because they are sad. But more often, because they are fun. Hello to being alone. Not lonely. But alone. I’m finally learning the difference. Hello anger, sadness, grief and fear. You all have a place in my life. You just don’t get to rule it. Hello risk. Hello to saying no, and feeling okay about it. I know what I can handle now, and I know what I cannot. Hello 41. I’ll finally be older than Shawn ever was. I’m going to make it count. Hello to…

  • DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley plays in fountain with her two sons
    Missing Shawn


    “He needs a colonoscopy soon, Marjorie.” I think about these words all the time. My dad said them to me probably a month before Shawn’s diagnosis, after some tests had revealed that there were tiny bits of blood in Shawn’s stool. At the time, I told my dad that Shawn had one scheduled for January. “I’d do it sooner,” he replied. Our talk that day scared me a bit, but I brushed it off. Shawn had a doctor here in DC, and he was getting on a new antibiotic to help his pain. I didn’t need to worry too much. Why didn’t I make him go get the colonoscopy right…

  • Photo of Marjorie and Shawn held my DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley
    Things That Suck

    October 10th

    I heard the story so many times, I could tell it verbatim to the doctors and nurses who asked. Yes, Shawn went to a baseball game early in October. Yes, he had at least one hot dog. Almost immediately after, the pain started. We thought he had food poisoning at first, and then maybe an infection. But it was that day – the day the pain crippled him for the first time – when things became truly concerning. That day was October 10th. He had some small warning signs before that. An upset stomach here or there, a twinge of pain every once in a while throughout the few weeks…

  • DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley grills while Tommy looks at her
    New Perspectives


    I’ve never been a particularly accomplished cook, but over the years, I learned enough to make a decent meal or two. As a teacher, I always arrived home in time to make dinner for my family, so usually this task fell to me. Unless it was summer. Because once the warm days arrived, it was time for grilling. And I was definitely not in charge of grilling. That was Shawn’s job. He loved it. When we moved into our current house almost a decade ago, he bought a grill that was way outside of our budget. When I admonished him for it, he said, “Marjorie, we will use this grill…

  • DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley on the beach with shoes, hat and bag
    New Perspectives

    Happy Now

    As I write this blog post, I’m sitting on the deck of an oceanfront house, looking out at the bluest water I’ve ever seen.  Next to me is a half-eaten grapefruit and sand covers my feet.  My two best friends Kelly and Paige are in the chairs next to me, laughing about something we did last night. I am in paradise.  But it’s not paradise because of the incredibly nice real estate or the perfect weather or the great company.  It’s my paradise because – for the first time in a month – I’m happy. Yes, I said it:  happy. I know, for my family and friends, everyone is thinking:…

  • DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley greets her children at event
    Things That Suck

    24 Hours

    I wake with a start. The clock says 5:15 and Tommy is next to me. My anxiety kept me up last night for an hour or so, but at least it’s better than the previous week. The room is freezing because the HVAC hasn’t worked in a week. But I can’t worry about that because it’s time to run, eat, shower, get the kids ready and get out the door. I get to school early and meet with a student. “You need to craft topic sentences that connect back to your thesis,” I say, and show her how to do that. Then I’m off to teach about US-Chinese relations. I…