• DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley laughs with friend Abena
    Family & Friends

    My Widow Friend Abena

    I was really nervous about attending my first spousal loss group. The first group I went to included two people who were there to grieve their dogs. (I’m serious. You can’t make this stuff up.) So I wasn’t sure what to expect when I walked through the door. As I entered the therapy room, the first person I saw was an old man in a wheelchair who was probably 90 years old. Great, I thought. I sat down on the couch and smiled at him. He looked sad. More people filed in. I was glad (in a bizarre way) to see that there were a few other young people. It…

  • DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley looks at her pregnant belly as a young woman
    New Perspectives

    In a Hurry

    Since I was a little girl, all I really wanted in this life was to be a mom. Sure, I wanted to be other things – a world traveler and a teacher and a great hostess. But more than any of this, I wanted to be a mom. I knew what this meant – I’d need to meet someone when I was relatively young, get married, and then have kids, hopefully all before I was 30. Thank God I met Shawn. I swear, I might have married anyone at 22. But I met him, and my life was amazingly more interesting than it would have been otherwise. We were both…

  • Cutout of man stepping like post of DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley
    Things That Suck

    Do It When It Doesn’t Make You Want To Throw Up

    I remember the moment – the exact moment – when someone brought up dating in our grief group. “When will we know it’s time to date?” Our group therapist, who was both blunt and kind, leaned back in her chair and took a deep breath. “You can start thinking about dating,” she said, “when it doesn’t make you want to throw up.” I remember very little about this grief group, as Shawn had died just a few months prior to it and I was in the haze of new loss. But this comment stuck with me. At the time, dating was not remotely on my radar, and if I had…

  • DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley with youngest son Tommy holding her face
    Things That Suck

    You Are Alone. Accept That. Carry On.

    As I groped through the month of March, I tried a LOT of different things to feel better. I wrote. I ran. I talked to my friends. I drank wine. I cried. Sometimes I sobbed. I even texted my friends that I was thinking about following Michael Pollan’s experimentation with psychedelics. (My therapist friend Kelly responded with, “don’t do mushrooms! That’s a hard no.” I listened. Because, kids, you shouldn’t do illegal drugs to dull your pain. There are plenty of FDA-approved medicines that can help if that’s where you find yourself.) But before I get too far away from my key point here: March was terrible. (And yes, I…

  • Person doing yoga poses showing Marjorie's dislike for yoga before becoming a widow
    New Perspectives

    “Holistic Medicine” and Other Words I Never Used to Like

    I was never that girl who liked yoga. All of my friends did it, but I found it boring. When my mom died, yoga didn’t calm me – it made me feel mad at all the people in the room with their “pretend” traumas. When I was a new mom, yoga didn’t make me feel connected to my baby – it made me feel ridiculous that I was sitting around chanting my baby’s name with people I didn’t know. I didn’t even try to do yoga when Shawn died because I knew that it was likely to trigger all sorts of negative emotional responses. It’s not just yoga that I…

  • Redwood tree similar to that used in Marjorie Brimley's EMDR image in therapy after becoming a widow
    New Perspectives


    I got together with one of my widow friends the other day (yes, that’s a thing) and we started talking about all of the crazy types of therapy we’ve both tried. Of course, we both have individual therapists (I’ve been through three) and group therapy (we’d each tried a few.) She told me about a “grief yoga” group she attended. I talked about the crazy “mindfulness and grief” group I went to that was not a terrible idea in theory but that I had to leave in practice once people started crying about their dead dogs. Of all of them, I found the spousal loss group I did at the…