• DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley talks to others at event in downtown Washington
    Things That Suck

    “It Hurt for Me”

    I see my therapist once a week. We talk about my life and how to reframe things that are difficult for me. I like my therapist. But an hour a week is really not enough to help me. I think I’d probably need to see her every single day for the amount of therapy I need. Since I can’t do that, I often end up relying on my friends. Last week, I had a particularly difficult day. I think it was because I was thinking a lot about Mother’s Day (why are holidays still SO difficult?) and trying to deal with the logistics of school winding down. It was just…

  • House in Southern California near where the DC widow Marjorie went to collge
    Things That Suck


    A few months before my mom died, I broke up with my first boyfriend (who I’ll call Steve in this post.) Steve was good to me, and we were in love – at least in that way that 19-year-olds without a care in the world can be. But I had dated him since high school, and we both wanted to see who else was out there. I spent the summer that followed our break-up working at an amazing summer camp, Bruin Woods, and I met all sorts of new people. One of those new people I met was James. James worked as the camp’s fisherman, taking people out on early…

  • Join or Die banner in DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley's house
    Things That Suck


    I could tell about halfway through my run this morning that I was going to have to quit early. It happens sometimes. I think I’m okay, and then running puts me into this zen-like place where I start pondering the big questions in my life. And then the tears come. Sometimes I can run through them. Sometimes I can slow down, and lean against the side of the treadmill and breathe and then start again. But this time I had to stop. I saw the fat tears drop on my shoes and I gave into my sadness. The tears were not about Shawn. Well, they weren’t exclusively about Shawn. I…

  • Shawn and Marjorie Brimley in their DC house with heads touching before Shawn's illness
    Missing Shawn

    When He Was Still Mine

    One year ago today, curled up next to him in the hospital bed, I began to tell him a story. It was the story of our life together. I was up almost the entire night previously. He was sick, and needed care and I couldn’t sleep and let him suffer. At 4 am I checked his breathing. At 5 am I called my friends to bring me paperwork so I could take over the medical decision-making process. At 6 am I called his family. “Hurry,” I said. At 7 am, the palliative care nurses came in, and I wept for the first time in 12 hours. “You can get in…

  • DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley at cemetery where her husband is buried
    Things That Suck

    Good Riddance 2018…. (Part 1 of 2)

    Good riddance 2018. Good riddance latex gloves, alcohol swabs, shower chairs, needles. Good riddance nightmares. Good riddance shower floor, where I often sat when I was too exhausted to do anything else but let the water pour down my back. Good riddance probate. Good riddance Zofran, 5FU, morphine and Ativan. Good riddance estate tax return with your stupid requirements to produce a statement of every account we had the day Shawn died. Good riddance exhaustion and subsequent unplanned naps in living room chairs. Good riddance crying in public.  Not forever, but just during those times when I’d like to hold it together. Good riddance documents I had to sign saying…

  • Shawn and Marjorie Brimley at their wedding before moving to DC
    Things That Suck

    One Year Later

    There was a nurse who sat with me, that I remember. I can’t really recall what she looked like, but I remember what it felt to have her arms wrapped around me as I sat on the floor of the emergency room, unable to stand. “I know what this means,” I kept saying over and over. “My husband has spots on his liver. I know what this means.” She didn’t try and tell me my fears were misplaced. She knew what it meant too. But she sat with me on that disgusting floor. Eventually, she took me somewhere to pull myself together. I called one of my friends. I can’t…