• Shawn Brimley with children and DC widow writer Marjorie Hale in field for dream blog
    New Perspectives

    Dreams of Shawn

    I’ve always had a lot of dreams. And also a number of nightmares. When I was little, those dreams were about playgrounds and neighborhood friends. My recurring nightmare was about a mean witch who tried to cook me in a pot. As I grew, my dreams were about the good things around me (getting asked to prom by someone I liked), and my nightmares were about my fears (making a fool of myself at a school assembly). As my mom grew sicker, sometimes these nightmares were actually scary. Once she died, I often had nightmares where my dad or my sister would die too. So I guess it’s not strange…

  • Person holding weight for blog by DC widow writer Marjorie Brimley
    Missing Shawn

    The Pieces We Don’t Know

    A few years before he died, Shawn got really into CrossFit. He was trying to get in better shape and thought maybe something that required extreme discipline was just what he needed. Plus, he had a group of friends at his work who were already part of a gym nearby. He could go at lunch. Once he started, he went almost every weekday and often on the weekends too. To supplement this new workout routine, he tried a variety of diets, including one where he didn’t eat any processed sugar at all (I hated that one, as it was no fun) and one where he put butter in his coffee.…

  • Trees and mountains for blog by DC widow writer Marjorie Brimley
    New Perspectives

    On Details and Memory

    I was talking with my sister the other day. We were trying to remember some things about my mom. When did she get sick? When did we know? When was it obvious to other people? We could remember the basics: that she had depression our entire lives, that it got worse when we were young teenagers, that by the time we were both in high school she rarely got out of bed. But the other details were hard to remember. What year did we take the last trip together as a family to the mountains? Three years before she died? More? You would think we would remember everything – she…

  • Faded beach image like that in dream of DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley
    Missing Shawn

    Wisps of a Dream

    I was walking through a cave, and I felt like it was somewhere I’d been before. Other people (tourists, maybe?) were standing and talking softly on the edges of my vision. The cave was cool, but I could hear a dull roar in the distance. Shawn was next to me. I knew this shouldn’t be true – I knew he was dead – but there he was, standing upright with a slight smile on his face. He didn’t talk much, but then again, Shawn could always be a bit quiet when he was exploring a new space. We walked through the cave. It smelled of salt, and there was a…

  • Hand writing a letter to DC widow blogger Marjorie Brimley and her daughter
    Family & Friends

    The Letter

    The letter arrived in the mail a few weeks ago.  It was addressed to me.  Inside, I found two notes from an old friend of Shawn’s – someone he knew in university who we’d kept up with over the years. “I wrote a note to Claire,” the first note said, “and I want you to look over it and see if it’s okay for her to read.” I opened up the next piece of paper.  Inside was a 2-page typed letter addressed to my daughter.  “Dear Claire,” it began, “You might not remember me, but I have heard about you since you were born. Your father Shawn and I were…

  • Photos of Marjorie and Shawn Brimley in photos just before and after their marriage
    Missing Shawn

    Stories for My Daughter

    One of my favorite parts of my day is after my boys fall asleep and I go into Claire’s room and sit on her bed. Sometimes we both read silently, and other times she tells me about the dramas of fourth grade or other things that are on her mind. One day last week, when we were quietly reading, she looked up from her book and said, “Mama, tell me about the day that Daddy asked you to marry him.” I smiled. I have told her the story many times, but she loves to hear it. “Well, baby, we were in Costa Rica, where we were living at the time,”…