• Runner on street similar to DC widow Marjorie
    Family & Friends

    Run Away

    On Monday, I woke with a pit in my stomach.  “Six months,” I thought.  “Six entire months since Shawn left this world.  How could that be?”  I didn’t quite know what to do with the anxiety I was feeling, but my cousin Amy offered to take my kids for the morning and I gratefully left them with her. “I’m going out on a run,” I told her. “Great,” she said, “there’s a loop you can run around here, or you can cross the main road and go further.” I took off.  It was raining, which is weird for Texas in July, but it meant that the heat didn’t hold me…

  • Austin Brimley eating Brussels Sprouts in DC
    Family & Friends

    Brussels Sprouts

    A few days ago, I came home from an afternoon at the pool and said “screw it” to a formal dinner.  The kids were starving and I had eggs in the refrigerator, so that’s what everyone was getting.  I also decided that we’d all get in our PJs and then eat dinner while watching Kung Fu Panda. Obviously, there’s a lot of “winging it” going on now that school’s out. In any case, I sent Claire and Tommy up to take baths, and Austin begged to go over to see the next-door neighbor.  I relented.  He’d taken a shower (I think?) at the pool, or at least he told me…

  • Brimley family in house under construction in Washington DC
    Family & Friends

    Our Forever House

    Three weeks after my husband died, I received a hand-written letter in the mail that read, in part, “Hello…I send my condolences to your family in your time of grievance. My wife and I are real estate investors and…we want to buy your property and relieve you of the burden of having to keep up with the house.” It went on from there, discussing the virtues of his business and how it would be a good idea for a new widow to sell the house.  He implied that I’d never be able to handle such a responsibility on my own and included his email and phone number. Horrified, I took…

  • Shawn Brimley with Claire at Christmas
    What Not to Say

    It’s Not “Better”

    The other day, I was coming out of my house to run an errand and I ran into a neighbor.  I don’t know her well, but she and her husband are always friendly.  The day we moved into our house, they brought over a bottle of wine.  When a hurricane struck DC soon thereafter, her husband came out and helped Shawn as he dug a trench so that our basement wouldn’t flood.  We always waved at them when we’d see them on the street, and they thought our young kids were adorable. When Shawn died, they left a very sweet note on the front porch.  Apparently, they had noticed us…