• 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…

  • Marjorie making breakfast with Claire before becoming a widow
    Things That Suck

    Why Being a Widowed Single Mom is So Hard

    I realize the title of this post could be an entire book.  There are like 1000 reasons why being a widowed single mom is so hard.  Today, however, I think I may have narrowed it down to one. The day started out like many days have started out in the past 6 months.  I woke up before the kids, came downstairs for some coffee and to prep the amazing amount of things that my kids need for their days.  My kids have learned to help each other, because they get that mom cannot possibly do everything they need.  So Austin went and got Tommy his clothes for the day and…

  • 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…

  • Shawn Brimley teaching Claire to play the guitar
    Missing Shawn

    Pooping on the Potty

    Yesterday afternoon I heard the ding of a new text message as I was sitting in our school library, attempting to grade an essay.  “Good news,” my dad wrote, “Tommy pooped on the potty at preschool today.  He is very proud of himself.” “That’s incredible!” I texted back. Seconds later, I had the immediate thought that I should text Shawn.  It’s a reflex that’s still there months after it should have ended.  I don’t ever actually start texting him, but the moment where I think, “I cannot wait to tell Shawn about this,” always occurs when something like this happens with our kids. I didn’t text him.  But I did…

  • 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 and Marjorie Brimley playing guitar and having fun
    Things That Suck

    To Update the Account

    At 5 am the day Shawn died, I called and woke up my friend Becky. I needed her to get my will and bring the advance medical directive to the hospital so I could take over the medical decision-making for Shawn. She woke up our friend Michelle and they called a lawyer, who helped look over the documents. They got everything digitized and brought hard copies to me by the time the sun came up. I never needed them. Shawn died too quickly. I didn’t have to make any truly terrible decisions about his end-of-life care. But I’ll never forget them arriving at the crack of dawn, paperwork in hand.…