• Youngest son of DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley lays on couch in living room

    When 5-Year-Olds Talk About Death

    Last weekend, I drove Tommy and his best friend to a birthday party. They sat in the back seat, chatting about super heroes and I listened to their funny conversation. “When I grow up, I want to be The Flash,” Tommy said. “Ya!” his friend said. Then they brainstormed about how Tommy might achieve that goal. It involved eating a lot of funny food and learning special tricks. Their voices were high and sweet, full of excitement about the party and the potential for super hero powers. As Tommy was dreaming up ideas of what he could do if he became The Flash, he paused and seemed to think of…

  • Child of DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley lying on couch under blanket
    Missing Shawn

    So Close. And Yet So Far Away.

    Right after Shawn died, I boxed up a number of his shirts, certain that I’d do something meaningful with them.  I never did.  Even after I cleaned out his side of the closet and added even more clothes to the box, I felt paralyzed about what to do.  Then, out of nowhere, an old friend from high school contacted me to volunteer to make a quilt out of his old shirts.  I took her up on it, shipped her the clothes and forgot about it. It took a few months, but early this fall, I got the final product.  It literally took my breath away. There were his shirts, all…

  • DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley's husband Shawn plays with his youngest son in playroom

    “My Dad Died in the War”

    The other day, Tommy had over a friend for a few hours. They spent much of the time playing some sort of game where they were both soldiers and tried to “get” each other. I wasn’t really paying attention to them, but then I heard Tommy say, “my dad died in the war.” I turned to him. “Your dad didn’t die in the war,” I said. “Yes he did!” Tommy said back to me. “Why do you think that he died in the war?” I asked. “Well, dad was in the army, and he died, so he died in the war!” he said emphatically. I sat down and explained to…

  • Faded beach image like that in dream of DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley
    Missing Shawn

    Wisps of a Dream

    I was walking through a cave, and I felt like it was somewhere I’d been before. Other people (tourists, maybe?) were standing and talking softly on the edges of my vision. The cave was cool, but I could hear a dull roar in the distance. Shawn was next to me. I knew this shouldn’t be true – I knew he was dead – but there he was, standing upright with a slight smile on his face. He didn’t talk much, but then again, Shawn could always be a bit quiet when he was exploring a new space. We walked through the cave. It smelled of salt, and there was a…

  • DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley teaching her son Tommy to ride a bike in Washington DC

    Tommy’s Bike Ride

    “I want to be a part of Austin’s game!” Tommy has been saying this phrase to me for weeks. “Okay, baby,” I’d say back to him. I never inquired about what game he wanted to play or why he wanted to play it. Maybe he meant basketball or capture the flag? I didn’t know. All I knew was that Tommy was usually too little to keep up with Austin and his friends and it was frustrating to him. So when he came to me a few weeks ago and told me he wanted to learn to “ride the red bike” I decided to let him try. The “red bike” is…

  • DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley with her children

    One of the Most Important Things a School Can Do

    I just got an email from my son Tommy’s pre-kindergarten teacher that made me cry. I’ll paraphrase it here: Dear Parents, Mark your calendars for FAMILY DAY! In lieu of Mother’s and Father’s day celebrations we would love you to join us for breakfast to celebrate our pre-kindergarten families! Coffee, juice and assorted pastries will be served, along with the special bread recipe created by our class! Hope to see you there! Obviously the teacher wasn’t trying to make me cry. But, she did. She made me cry because of this simple act of inclusion. And it made me think this: I bet the teacher was thinking of me when…