• Sunrise over a field for blog by DC widow writer Marjorie Brimley
    Ask A Widow

    Ask a Widow: How Long Does It Take To Feel Better?

    Six months. That’s how long it takes. But really, it’s a year. Or maybe a bit longer. It depends, really. What were the circumstances? What happened afterwards? How long were you together? Are you caring for young kids? Do you have community support? Of course, after someone dies, there’s no real answer to the question, “how long does it take to feel better?” It’s so individual. Furthermore, very few people get to the point where they never grieve again over the person that they lost. But I think when people write me and ask, “how long does it take to feel better?” they aren’t actually asking, “when will every speck…

  • Image of woods like those run by DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley


    The first time I hurt my ankle I was a block from my house. Chris and I had been running frequently in the mornings, and Claire had decided that she wanted to join us. So, that late spring morning, we’d all set out on a run. Somehow, the pain struck just spitting distance from home. It hurt, but I could still walk. I told them to keep running without me, and I limped home. I put some ice on my ankle and by the next day I could walk without a problem. A week later, I was back to my normal runs. A month went by. Chris was back at…

  • 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…

  • Grandmother of DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley
    Family & Friends

    My Cross to Bear

    When I was a kid, I loved to hold my grandmother’s hand. She had a firm grip, but her skin was soft. If I close my eyes, I can feel the contours of her wrist and the bumps of her veins. Maybe it’s odd that I remember the feel of my grandmother’s hands more than that of my own mother’s. My mom often held my hand. But my mom’s hands felt like any other hands – warm and loving, but mostly just normal hands. My grandmother had very advanced rheumatoid arthritis. It plagued her for her entire adult life, mangling her joints and causing her terrible pain. When she was…

  • Parent swinging child in sunset like in story by DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley
    New Perspectives

    At First Glance

    In the past week, I’ve had two different acquaintances tell me about terrible things going on with their families. In both cases, I was asked to keep the information confidential, which I gladly did. But it got me thinking. Before Shawn died, I used to talk with my closest friends about their problems, and I’d share mine. Sometimes, these dear friends of mine had serious problems, and we’d work through them together. But I never discussed serious problems with more casual friends and acquaintances. Instead, I talked to people in my my larger circle about our daily lives, our kids and our work. We never got too serious. When I…

  • DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley with husband Shawn and baby Claire
    Things That Suck

    Not a Shitty Husband

    I was with a friend a few weeks ago who was recovering from surgery.  He was hurting, and I suggested he take a painkiller. “I did that for about three weeks after the surgery,” he said, “but I’ve stopped doing that.” “Why?” I asked.  “Take the drugs!  There’s no reason to hurt like you are.” “Yes there is,” he said.  “Because I hurt when I’m starting to over-do it.  The pain warns me to stop.” “Right,” I said, feeling silly, “that, of course, is why pain exists.” We laughed a bit.  But I thought about this idea later.  We have physical pain to warn us about something – a headache…