May 7, 1998
I restructured and reconsidered much of the material on the various pages. I've condensed them and thought about things.
People ask me about Heather. Well, she is generally an all A student, rides horses and loves to hear myths and legends. She finished up the Babysitters Club books last year and has read through a lot of Nancy Drew books. She started the Black Stallion series and really likes Chicken Soup for the Soul for Kids and the Children's Book of Virtues. Her favorite book (at least last week) is A Wrinkle in Time by L'Engle (and she just found Troubling a Star by L'Engle -- that turned out not to be anywhere near as good. Oh well.). We read the scriptures together every night (she can't get to sleep if we don't) and she is the sweetest child I know.
She wants to be an engineer and a poet.
May 11, 1998
The soccer team that Jessica was on (she was one of the original members) just won the final round of their championships. They went 111-3-3 this season. No wonder they took everything up to the top. Made me think of her and her burning desire to be on a soccer team. (Win and I both played soccer when we were younger. Win was a Full Back, I played Right Inside -- a position similar to Striker). One of her three best friends was son the team then and is on it now. We rarely talk with them any more, though they live just a couple-three houses away and we used to talk often.
Mother's Day was difficult. We did what we could, and Win enjoyed her breakfast in bed (from scratch baked blue berry muffins to fresh sliced strawberries, whip cream & shortcake), but by the middle of Sacrament meeting she needed to be taken home. Well, we got through it.
My e-mail newsletters are doing well (at http://adrr.com/adr9/mediation.htm).
June 11, 1998
Legal Practice Management asked me for permission to reprint my article that was carried in the Texas Bar Journal. That was about a year ago. I wrote them and said yes, and prepared a supplement to their specifications, in 1997 before Robin died. The article was supposed to see print that fall. Waiting on articles like that is extremely difficult -- especially as the publication dates come and go with complete editorial silence. [related note and observations]
Win is the nurse at the Church girl's camp this year. Volunteer, of course. Heather is at riding camp. It has been interesting to be alone in the house by myself. The cat comes and goes. Heather's gerbils continue to burrow and dig (We have them in a terrarium with grass, peat moss, soil and such. The constantly dig, turn over the soil and move it about). The rabbit looks for bread and the grass grows. Our house is beautiful, but so empty with only memories in it.
Win's birthday is tomorrow. I love her so much. She has always been my life. I'm so glad that I've told her that and that I've told the people in my life how much they mean to me.
June 22, 1998
Win and I were both asked to speak on Fathers Day. It was hard.
Win's talk is on-line at Win Marsh: Father's Day
Talk, June 21, 1998 -- she did a wonderful job. I spoke on the
foundations we have from our fathers, and the importance of living and teaching
the three rules:
My talk was much less structured than Win's. I fully engaged my audience, kept their attention and covered a lot of ground -- in many ways it was a Rorsarch Ink Blot of a talk, built around that structure.
I started with how my Grandfather was the third generation of men who had grown up in homes without a mother and how he felt the most important thing a father could do was make sure that there was a mother in the house. I then went down a generation to my father and how he had learned it was not only having a mother in the house, but having the right mother (and how I had learned that lesson well and was so grateful for my wife).
My father had built on his father's lesson by learning that it was important to be kind and to communicate. How from watching him and learning I learned that it was important to love others, work hard and tell the truth and tried to teach that to my children.
Covered a lot of other things, from helping clean up around the house to the meaning of foundations and the need to pay attention and keep working on things. There were a lot of really positive comments and thanks from the audience.
It was a hard talk to give. It was even a harder talk to prepare. I wasn't sure I could talk in church on fathers day. The talk really did not come together until I was on my way to Sacrament meeting (that is our first meeting, followed by Sunday School).
It has been a rough time. Worse than I am willing to express. With Robin's birthday coming in July and the anniversary of her death coming in August there is still a lot to work through. Life can just be terribly hard sometimes, especially with economic and other factors. Win has been such a gem and such a support.
I thought that today might be a day in which you might need "an encouraging word".
First, I need to make sure that you recognize that you are loved. You are truly the center of my life. All I do and feel revolves around you. I love you intensely. I know that you are the one element in my life that truly makes me a better person. I am the person I am simply because I have you in my life.
Second, you are a man of multiple talents. You have the ability to truly change more lives than mine. God has given you incredible gifts. He also gave you great burdens. I share many of those burdens with you. Carrying burdens with you has been excruciatingly hard work; and yet, I cannot think of anyone who could make such a hard task seem more doable than you have. People comment to me about just how happy we appear in our lives. Those people see the burden we carry. It is a bulky cumbersome thing that we carry with little bits of emotion falling out of the corners as we walk -- but no one else understands the weight. They do not understand how heavy it is. They see the length of our stride and the smile on our faces and conclude that our burden is large and cumbersome -- but not heavy. It is having you as a life partner that makes that delusion possible. We both know the true weight of our burdens. They might as well be made of lead. Because of you, I am able to carry my half.
Third, I want you to remember the time of our meeting and marriage. You had had such a tough time in Provo. Later, we decided that God was holding you there until I was ready mentally and emotionally and spiritually to meet you. Things happened on God's timeline. Our move to Wichita Falls was a good thing for us in many ways. It forced certain times of learning and attitudes that would not have evolved otherwise. I believe that our next move will be the same. I expect God to have the final say -- no matter how sincere our prayers -- he will have us go where he wants us to go.
Last, I have to tell you what a wonderful father and husband you are. I am so grateful for the love you are able to share everyday.
Happy Father's Day
Letters like those are lifesavers. Win means more to me than I can express.
July 6, 1998
A year ago today Robin was born. We had such great healing hopes in her birth.
I remain extremely functional. As a member of a board I once served on remarked, "Steve, you are more functional than the normal people." But there are times.
This morning I helped with the adoption of a beautiful, blond, five year old child named Jessica. My heart ached. Back at the office there were a number of new issues and legal questions to help other attorneys with. I got everything done, but I would have rather not on today of all days.
I remember my Judo instructor Chen who had broken his back twice. "It is just pain," he used to say.
July 15, 1998
This is a terribly hard time.
I know, intellectually, that the time around a child's birthday and the first anniversary of their death is a bad time for parents. I'm aware of how hard the time from Christmas to two days after Valentine's Day was for years until we started to recover. But it is still so very hard to work through. It just gets worse as each day draws closer to the end of August when Robin died.
There is nothing in our community to connect to. There are many wonderful and kind people, but five years and three deaths is too many. Not to mention, as self-employed there isn't anyone you want to talk to and to say that you aren't ready and able to do what they require of you.
The pro bono clients don't care. I'm still taking my share from West Texas Legal Services.
Over a year ago a friend of ours who lost a child and who works for Hospice asked me when I was going to take some time for myself. When would I let go so I could heal rather than be supportive and just hold things together. I told her that I planned to recover after things got back to normal following Robin's birth (oh, we had looked forward to that so much). Robin died instead of helping to heal me.
When will I take time to cry and recover? Looks like it will be at least three to four years before I can do that now. I can't see room or time to do it in any other perspective. Heather needs the kindness. Win is dealing with all she can cope with. I'm trying to pull my law practice back together after one more devastating set-back. There just is not time.
At least I handed off the clients I couldn't take care of and refused to take work I wasn't ready for. So I don't have anyone else that has been harmed except myself. But it hurts and it has been such a struggle. 1992 was such a good year, the year it all came together, finally. It is also a benchmark as the year it all began to unravel. I'm six years older and not as capable as I was. On the other hand, five years of impairment has really taught me a lot about pain and suffering and what incapacity is.
But there are times when I'm so tired. I'm out of new patterns to use to cope and the old ones are all broken from failures with past pains.
July 16, 1998
When I say 1992 was a good year, it really was. It was the year my practice finally came together. There was a wonderful Indian Summer where we windsurfed out at the lake almost every evening. Jessica in school. Courtney happier than rainbow. Heather coming along at her best. It was a turning point.
The kind of year that 1994 was supposed to be before Courtney died over Christmas of 1993.
The kind of year 1997 was supposed to be before Robin died.
The kind of year I'm hoping that 1999 is (without the terrible end). As much as I can do things, I will do them. Given the choice between falling into the pit or climbing out of it, I guess there is really only one direction to go, no matter how many times it takes.
July 27, 1998.
August 4, 1998
I'm slowly working towards August 31, 1998. August is proving to be a hard month to work through. Heather was distraught last night. She no longer asks when we expect for her to die, but she has become very aware of death and loss and very concerned that I might die suddenly on her soon.
I hope not to do that, but lack confidence that something won't happen. The stress has been so incredibly hard. I've had several nights I've caught myself checking to see if Heather is still breathing.
I'm also dealing with having lost almost six years out of my life. I'm six years older, much poorer, and in much worse physical shape than I was in 1992. The area I really wanted to teach in, ADR (alternative dispute resolution and mediation) is in much different shape than it was. Two - three years ago there was a dramatic shortage of people teaching (at law schools) in the field. Now, it is much more competitive. Being 42 instead of 36 is a major difference as well. The deaths took a lot of dreams when they took my life away.
I've a friend who really should be a rancher. It suits his personality and his aptitudes. He lost the chance when he refused to sell himself out (his grandparents wanted him to leave his parents and in return they would have given him 16,000 acres). Myself, there are times I think I would really have preferred to be an archeologist. My interests and (very minor -- though prolific) publishing in mythology and simulations are all really substitutions for the real world history. But I was unwilling to leave my parents when offered the chance and sponsorship by my grandparents. My friend bought a ranch, though he has no time to spend at it. Somehow, I doubt that I'll be able to buy a university, though I would like to once again spend time at one.
August 17, 1998.
Heather started school. Win and I were able to have lunch with her today.
Saturday I went through a major session with Heather. It is difficult to express just how well behaved Heather is. The only things she does wrong are: (a) failure to clean her room promptly and (b) wanting to stay up and read some more (she read a lot).
Anyway, she was a bit teary and wanted to know if I would really rather have someone else for my daughter. "Like who?" "Jessica." "Jessica R- down the street? Why would I want to trade you for her?" "My sister Jessica." We had a long talk. Jessica was no where near as compliant. While we loved her fiercely, I have no interest in trading Heather for her (if such a thing were possible). She is too dear to us.
She goes through so much and is such a tender child. Just as I lost a significant part of my "young professional" years, she has lost more than half of the time she has been alive. I worry about her so.
August 20, 1998
After some real problems with various e-mail attachment protocols, I was finally able to send a copy of my rewrite to the typesetting editor and have it get through intact. It will see print in November. That is a tremendous load from off my mind. Work is going very well. I'm able to get things done and accomplished and have drawn some smiles from my co-workers (who have been just great).
I like my new, generic navigation bar that I have for this part of the site. Not as graphic, but clean. Makes me feel good to see it. The link [adrr.com (mediation)] will take you to the dispute resolution materials and writing that is one of my joys. The simulations material and myth analysis is far away in a project with "the real" Steve Martin (not the actor) who I was lucky enough to have come visit with me last month. But, everything else that is important is on that bar, including links to two forums that I've enjoyed and to books and such that helped.
As a friend noted, if I wanted to make "real" money, I should link to Amazon.com (they have music in their inventory and pay a higher commission). However, for most grief books, what you really want to do is go to interlibrary loan and borrow them for a while. For most music, you want a local music store so you can listen to the music and see/hear/feel if it is what is right for you. All I really want to do is get people thinking and let them know what is available for them.
And, for a site that provides no commissions (and no discounts), but is the only one I could find with Felicia's CD, the CD "She Believes" by Felicia Sorensen. If anyone can find Sorensen at a discount, let me know. Her work is much better than the sales puffery makes it appear.
Seeing, visiting with, and hearing from friends really does my heart good. Steve Martin's visit was
great. The e-mails we get from friends from time to time are also really appreciated.
Jim Craig, from our bishopric, just dropped by to take me out to lunch. He has been really kind and has done a lot in checking up on me and looking in on me.
I also had a good talk with Lafonda, an old secretary now working for one of our Judges. It was like talking with my Aunt Mary -- who I really like. I realize that Lafonda is younger than my Aunt (she is younger than I am), but she reminds me of all the good things in Mary. Kind of like how our courthouse librarian reminds me of my sister Cora. I'll see Sherry and I think of Cora (they are the same height and usually have the same natural hair color). The emotional ambiance is kind.
New recipes at Recipe Index. My AALS form at http://adrr.com/zz Copy 1 of smarsh/aals.htm. It is a specialized resume, focused on the information that AALS members want to know about people they are considering for teaching positions. I have taken a few modest steps to focus it without making it jarring. If it gets me anywhere, I'll be certain to post what happens as I work out my journal entries. If not, it has helped me work through one more thing that grief and death interrupted.
This week has been a good one at work. Weeks like this make me feel so much better about life. I am grateful for such a wonderful wife and child. Without them I could never have survived this all.
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