I was not sure how I had a right to feel about Jim's passing, when it happened. I had given up my legal right to have an opinion about a lot of things, but, in the end, I did not give up the respect I had for Jim, and to the other people who also respected him, thank you, thank you, thank you, for stepping up and honoring him as he deserved to be honored.
Steve Young, The Masons, Glen Avon Lodge #306--All of Jim's brothers--words can scarcely do justice to the friendship you demonstrated. I am forever in your debt. Even through your own grief, you helped so many others get through this most difficult time. Thank you for all that you did for Jim and his family while he was alive, and after he passed. True brothers.
Kim and Marty--you have always been so kind, even when it wasn't fashionable. :-) Thanks for keeping me connected.
Mike, Sarah, Greg, and Barb--thank you for listening while I vented. I am not be the type of friend who cries on shoulders, and you get that about me. Besides, you don't really want to be around when they crying is happening, because it's full-on, box of Kleenex, messy, snotty sobbing, and I think those things are best left for only the cats to witness.
To everyone involved who did not go completely bat-shit crazy, you are a credit to the human race. When things like this happen, it's like a punch to the gut to all who considered the person a friend. People react in a million different ways, some predictable, some not. Relationships are assessed, and reassessed--I think we all, not just ex wives, are searching for answers to how we have a right to feel. Let me just say, you have every right to feel however you are feeling. I knew Jim pretty well, and during the ten years he and I lived together, I can tell you that he shook his head, laughed, and declared most of you, individually, full of shit, at least once. Some of you more than once. Some of you, about once a week. I'm sure he did the same to me after we separated (and probably before...). I'll own that. But you will notice, as I did, that even if he disagreed with something you did, it mostly didn't change the way he treated you. For the most part, he was very kind to people, accepted them and appreciated them. So go ahead and feel however it is that you are feeling. You're not wrong in doing that.
Having said all of that, my final thank you is to those who have respected my daughters and my right to feel however it is that we are feeling. You know what? It's complicated. It was complicated when he was alive, and it's complicated now that he isn't. The time he had with my daughters and me was just one part of the big, sometimes messy balancing act of Jim Payne. It was 13 years out of the 58 he had on earth. I don't expect anyone to understand the feelings, but sincerely appreciate those who choose not to pass judgement on them. So thank you. Thank you all.