• Garden at house of DC widow Marjorie Brimley
    New Perspectives

    My Garden

    I’ve always loved my garden. I love the way I can plant a tiny seed or a miniature seedling and with just a little work, it can grow into a plant that towers above my children’s heads. When the kids were really little, Shawn spent a series of weekend days digging out and building vegetable beds for me. It was a labor of love, and involved a lot of back-breaking work. I remember when he finished them and sent me a photo. There wasn’t any text with the photo, but I felt a rush of love for him when I got it. He didn’t need to write anything else, because…

  • Image of car tires to represent the flat time of DC widow Marjorie Brimley
    Things That Suck

    I Might As Well Get Cheaper Tires If My Husband Has to Be Dead

    I heard the hissing immediately. What the hell was happening? I hopped out of the car, and looked down. A woman walking her dog stopped. “It’s your tire,” she said. “It’s not good.” She wasn’t kidding. There was a 2-inch slit in my tire and it was completely flat. “Shit, shit, shit!” I said, staring at the tire. Austin’s baseball game was starting in 5 minutes. I wasn’t exactly looking forward to a 2-hour second grade baseball game with a 4-year-old in tow, but at least it gave me time. I walked up to the game. “My tire is flat,” I told the parents who had assembled for the game.…

  • Claire Brimley working on paperwork in DC house
    New Perspectives

    Promises I Can’t Keep

    Four days. That’s how long Shawn and I had to plan. I knew late Friday night that things were going badly, but it wasn’t until Saturday morning, January 6th, that the doctor told us that Shawn had “weeks, not months” to live. We thought we had at least a few weeks to get things together, but really, we ended up with only a few days. After we got the news, we cried. Well, mostly I cried. Shawn seemed to take it all in stride. He wanted to know how hospice worked and how we would make sure that he got all of his medicine. And then he wanted to plan…

  • Claire Brimley holding Tommy's hand in the airport this summer
    New Perspectives

    The Marine

    While traveling this summer, I had one day that was particularly bad. I was alone with my three kids and we’d been bumped from our original flight to a later one. We were seated in random seats across the very last row of the plane, and everyone was exhausted. As we got on, I instructed Claire to hold Tommy’s hand and make sure he didn’t fall in the crack between the airplane and the tarmac. When we got to the last row, a kind woman there offered to switch seats so that all three kids could sit in a row. She said she didn’t mind and then offered me the…

  • Marjorie Brimley next to statue in cemetery after Shawn's death
    New Perspectives

    That Poor Girl

    Right after Shawn’s funeral, I was standing in the church greeting people, when I heard someone around me say, “Oh, that poor girl.” I was in a deep fog, and so I didn’t really think much of it.  I was also standing with Claire, so it’s possible whomever said it was talking about her. But for some reason, it’s one of the things I remember from the line at the church.  Isn’t that odd?  Of all the things to stick in my head, that was one of them.  I started to think about it the other day, and it made me remember my mom’s funeral, and something that happened there. …

  • Rain falling in stock image
    Things That Suck

    Who’s Saving Our Basement? (Part 2)

    DC has been getting a LOT of rain. My sister came to visit a week ago, and we had grand plans to go to the pool and the zoo and on all sorts of fun adventures.  Instead, we’ve been stuck inside having marathon dance parties and playing laser tag.  Even for two girls from Oregon, this rain was too much. Wednesday night, I invited over a few friends for some food and a break from the rain-filled monotony of the day.  It was pouring.  The kids ran around playing laser tag and we drank wine, marveling at the intensity of the rainstorm.  I think I was in the middle of…