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Weekend update

I don’t have too many photographs of me with Rana. Maybe there are more in the family photos my ex has. At the time of our divorce she wouldn’t let me make scans of them, and I’ve never asked again. Then we divorced and I didn’t see Rana for a couple years. Then we rebuilt our relationship as adults, and frankly I’m terrible at thinking to make portraits or take selfies.

Us in 1994, Terre Haute, Indiana

Here’s one photo that’s a good memory. It’s of Rana’s, then Ross’s, ninth birthday. Ross’s mom had a party in her back yard in Terre Haute and invited all of Ross’s friends. Ross was a big fan of the shows on the Nickelodeon cable channel, and this was the “green slime” era on Nick. Ross’s mom made a green-slime birthday cake.

Rana’s memorial service is today. I’m glad my company gave me two weeks of bereavement leave as this time off has given me the head space to process my thoughts and feelings, rather than just have them and then rush to my next meeting.

The first week after Rana was found dead, I felt shock and sadness. The shock wore off after a few days but the sadness did not. This week I found myself sometimes feeling angry; once in tears I even said aloud to nobody, “How could she do this to us?”

I wish I had known she was suicidal. I’ve been suicidal. I know what it’s like. I know that in the depths of those feelings your mind is lying to you. It tells you that your death won’t matter and nobody will miss you.

That’s a load of horse crap. Your death by your own hand leaves a crater in the lives of those who love and care for you.

I wish I could have told her to just wait. I wrote about this once before: because I stuck it out, sooner or later things got better. Never all better. But things always stopped being screamingly, intolerably bad. Whatever I was feeling, whatever thoughts were looping through my head, they changed all on their own. Mind states are never permanent. And whatever difficulties I was facing, the circumstances changed all on their own. The world keeps going while you are stuck, delivering change into your world. Sometimes circumstances got better and sometimes they got worse, but when they changed I could usually see a path forward when I couldn’t before.

I know that whatever thoughts and feelings come through this are a normal part of grieving a loss like this. I’m not overwhelmed by them and I’m not frightened of them. I am angry that I have to have them.

I’ve given myself these two weeks to rest and just process feelings. On Tuesday (after the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., holiday) I will return to work and regular life again. I know my grief will continue. But my life must go on as well.

I’m not sure when Recommended Reading will return. I haven’t had much appetite to read blogs. It’s why I haven’t been clicking Like or commenting on yours, if you have one. When that appetite returns, so will Recommended Reading. I trust you understand.

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18 thoughts on “Weekend update

  1. Steve Bryan says:

    “ Mind states are never permanent. And whatever difficulties I was facing, the circumstances changed all on their own. The world keeps going while you are stuck, delivering change into your world. Sometimes circumstances got better and sometimes they got worse, but when they changed I could usually see a path forward when I couldn’t before.” Beautifully written.

  2. Mark says:

    This blog is for you. I don’t need to be entertained now. You have plenty of camera reviews & road trips to occupy me for months.
    Say what you want & need to say. We (I) will listen, grief with you but also take inside for a variety of good outcomes.
    Sending whatever you & your family need for comfort & healing

  3. Photos of family and selfies are for this reason. Not many people are comfortable with having their photo taken, but they are such a comfort in times like this. I am glad I got to take some of my mum before she passed as we didn’t have many. I have loads of my dad now. My sister is coming around to it, but still is reluctant. They do help you remember the good times. Take care Jim, we will all wait for you.

  4. What is it about ex wives and photos…when I scanned all my old photos during lockdown I found about three years completely missing! Would love at some stage just to have the negatives back. A beautifully written piece, I agree with you, healing and restoration does come with time. Even after things look completely black and impossible. Blessings!

    • I got all of my personal negatives back when we divorced. She just kept the family images she took – and she took 98% of them when we were married. She is an accomplished photographer and I wasn’t then so it seemed natural.

  5. Ah man, wow, sorry to read this tragic news. I’m very sorry for your loss Jim. Condolences to you and your family and may the Lord bring you strength and comfort during these hard times.

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