September 3, 1998
My family took turns calling me the few days before August 31st. My brother Daniel even called me twice. God love him, I do. Also received some very kind e-mails from friends. Everything people did really meant a lot to us.
September 4, 1998
I went to a Shotokan Karate work-out Monday night. Talked with a friend for a while. He asked me if it was better to have had children, and lost them, or if I would have rather never had children at all. I have to confess that even with the pain, I am glad of my children.
Received the following as part of an e-mail about a national ADR conference:
"I appreciate your involvement in this. Your Web site is one of the best examples of ADR information on the Web and I hope that we will be able to take advantage of your expertise and guidance. Again, thanks very much for your interest and help. I'd also like to list you among our sponsors/participants. Let me know if you are willing."
Must admit that it made my day.
Win and I are doing so much better, emerging from the year anniversary was almost like being reborn. It is as if it created a significant time of healing for us. That day was so bad. Things felt as if they were closing in and the closer it got, the worse it was. I have had real worries, since the statistical time that people suffer is from one to three years. With Courtney's death so close to Jessica's, we never had a "normal" grief cycle work its way out.
Also, repeated trauma of this type usually reduces the ability of people to cope with the trauma. Each time you have lower reserves of health, less money, fewer friends, etc. We've been blessed with a strong social network, but even so....
I'm excited. Speaking at another conference, participating in a variety of things. Healing.
Must admit that Legal Practice Management Magazine fixing a firm date for publishing my article helped a lot too. I've found that writing grief articles is difficult and delays in publication creates a stress I'm not used to associating with publishing (I've published a lot of "stuff" and usually it is pretty stress free). But when publication finally starts rolling, it brings me a sort of peace or calm.
Most important is my family, my dear wife and daughter. I look forward to seeing them again tonight and every night. I feel hope again (which is my natural state) -- it is so good.
September 7, 1998
The weekend was rough. We've both been sick. Win was really too sick to work today. Luckily they had a low census and were looking for people to send home. That is so rare where she works, usually they are worried about acute staffing shortages.
One difficulty with healing is that at each level you have to re-integrate. As a result, the process looks like a sine wave, on an upward tilt, but with ups and downs following each other. We are adjusting to being able to feel good again, to feeling happy. I'm not about to stop, but it brings new intensity to all the other feelings as well.
Took the music off of Robin's page and moved it to two autoplay pages (the pages use different techniques for different browsers). I had some complaints that some people found the music painful instead of healing.
September 14, 1998
Had some severe "other emotions" over the week end. The pain and depression can be so bitterly hard -- for some reason it hit me much harder this time. On the other hand, I only felt it for hours -- not the weeks and months friends of ours have experienced. My heart grieves for people who endure that oppression in their lives. I am grateful it comes rarely and stays for such short periods of time (when I've had time to reflect).
October 14, 1998
It has been rough, but things continue to improve. My parents came for a visit and it was very pleasant.
Also, I got a call from another attorney who said he felt like he needed to call me. He told me that while he was impressed that I was a tough litigator, the thing that impressed him the most about me was my intellectual honesty in the law and my commitment to equitable and fair results. It has cost me a number of clients and a fair amount of income to take that approach and there are times when ... but it was a nice telephone call to receive. Next time I explain to a client that, yes, they do have to tell the truth and they decide to hire someone else, it will give me something to think about.
Attended and gave a presentation at a mediation conference in Oklahoma. It was a lot of fun and the audience was great. I am very glad that I attended.
October 23, 1998
This has been a busy time. I traveled to Oklahoma City, Dallas (for an overnight stay), and Austin in a three week period of time. Also handled a mediation, depositions and gave presentations. I'm taking this weekend off <g>. Also ran into two kids that would be perfect to adopt <sigh>. I surely love my family. It is hard to express.
November 18, 1998
Just finished a jury trial. Going in I had some doubts, but it was great to really connect with the jury. Closing arguments went so very well.
Some modest issues with some people in the community. There are people who resent anyone who gets attention other than themselves. Right after Robin died, one dear lady was so nasty about it because we had the nerve to take any attention away from her. Ever since then, she has been extremely hateful to my wife. She was at it again. I guess if we took her seriously, instead of feeling like she is a poof*, I'd be upset when she lashes out. She went out of her way to be nasty to Win last night. When I heard that someone had done what she did, I was irritated, but when Win told me who it was, it was "oh, she's just a poof" -- and I could see why Win had blown it off without irritation.
I've a poem somewhere I had about a family that was really ugly about the deaths of Courtney and Jessica. They felt they deserved to have had those happen to them -- and to be honest, I was more than willing to switch (if I could have), to let them have the deaths and to have my children back. Unfortunately, that isn't an option, but I know enough about not getting what you think you want ... (there is a song, "Thank God for Unanswered Prayers" about a guy who sees an old girl friend and is so grateful that she dumped him and he met his wife ... with Win for a partner and spouse I'm very grateful that the other relationships I had did not work out -- I consider that the greatest blessing in my life).
Got to see the Prince family again a couple of times. They are wonderful. I really like Jeremy. I like his family a lot, Win and I love them to death, so to speak, but I admire Jeremy a great deal.
Still moving forward and thinking a great deal. It is amazing how much the trial helped. I've met a number of people who have lost children. Many of the men are just a little broken or hollow. There is a look, a feel, like an old wound. I'm getting to where I can recognize it. Saw it in one of the guys at the arbitration conference and sure enough, as we talked about his career goals and ideas (he had been on my adr web site and had questions and wanted advice and we worked up a complete plan for him at the conference) it came out that he had lost a child a decade or so ago.
I've worried that this time, with Robin, that perhaps I had become broken -- permanently damaged goods. It hit me so hard, especially with my Dad's cancer dropping into the middle of it and some other issues, that I took longer to bounce back. I know that statistically I'm far ahead of the game, but on my own terms it wasn't up to the standards I have for myself. With the time it takes, I was starting to wonder if I would ever get back everything, if I would fully recover.
Doing such a solid job with the trial really helped me. It was nice to deal with some complex civil procedure rule and evidence questions, to thread through them correctly, to connect well with the jury, to put on a very clean, very simplified case, and to get positive feedback afterwards. I just felt alive after it was over.
Final update, the Law Practice Management article is out. The editor did an incredibly good job -- one of the best I've encountered in almost thirty years of being edited (I've dealt with bad editors since 1970 or so, and good ones since some time later than that). [Legal Practice Management].
November 19, 1998
Found some of the poetry. It is, like much of my earlier work, much too terse. Perhaps, some day, I'll flesh it out.
November 20, 1998
I finished up a supplement for my on-line ADR (mediation -- not meditation) newsletter for those who wanted to know how it went as I learned about how to apply for teaching positions in ADR. It is at http://adrr.com/adr9/015a.htm. I guess the important part went as follows: For now, if you know of a DOJ opening, especially EEOC, Immigration or FLRA, let me know -- I'm interested and especially in San Francisco, Dallas, or Washington, D.C. (three places that have good nurse anesthetist programs for Win).
December 2, 1998
I found a small law firm that really fits just about everything I'm looking for in a firm -- especially their philosophy of practice. I really like the culture and the people. I'm meeting with them a second time to see if we can work things out. At the same time, I was just approached about the possibility of another attorney taking over my office. We'll see, but things have been working out really well.
I've been doing really well. Emotionally and mentally I'm up to the challenges of a move, whereas I had originally planned to start thinking about one so that I could gauge plans and approaches. While the opening was not one I was looking for, I would have been looking if I had known there was anything like this out there. Amazingly, Gene Jacobs, one of my favorite law professors, called me today and we talked about it. He just felt like calling, ran across an article I had written, and decided to call. It was solid reassurance that I'm working towards a good decision for my family.
Yes, this one could not work out, but I'm very positive about it.
December 14, 1998.
It was really out of the blue, but I was made an offer to start with a law firm in Dallas and I accepted it. In a lot of ways it really was a surprise. I had just ordered new stationary up in Wichita Falls, more business cards, etc. If Cliff (one of the guys I work with) hadn't taken me out to lunch, the day before I had the interview, I might not have taken the jump and I would probably have regretted not moving for the rest of my life. Clifford spent a lot of time telling me that I needed to do what was best for myself and my family, rather than thinking too hard about other people -- including himself.
Even after I got the offer, I was talking with a secretary about how I had just ordered all this paper (and just paid for it too) and she told me that it wasn't the paper I was thinking about, it was the people and that they were all very happy for me. They've been very supportive. Of course I'm leaving most of my files behind, but they have been like good family.
I start with THE ZISMAN LAW FIRM, P.C., 714 Jackson Street, 200 Renaissance Place, Dallas, Texas 75202, (214) 745-1300 voice, (214) 720-0748 facsimile on January 4, 1999.
That really starts me on a new chapter in my life.
December 29, 1998
Well, I've pretty much closed up my practice in Wichita Falls, Texas. I've closed up a chapter in my life. Win was just offered a job at a hospital she really likes, we have an offer on our home here in Wichita Falls, tomorrow the office is throwing a good-by party for me.
It has been such a good time here and a good season this month. Christmas eve had a few emotionally rough spots, but the day went very well (Heather went skiing for the first time in her life and we all had a great time). Snow fell. Win's parents were charming and delightful. We've never had a better visit with them and it was really grand.
My Mom & Dad have their mission call and their address! Seems where they are going they are provided apartments. I'll miss them, but they had a great Christmas with Cora.
Mark came up to see us (guess I should have stated that we were in Chewelah -- 58 miles north of Spokane -- for Christmas with Win's parents) and it was a good visit. I really like Mark, but Win's parents liked he & Chris (his wife) veyr much as well. They surprised Mark with a Turkey they snuck into his luggage as he was packing the car to go (he found it when he unpacked in Portland).
I look at this post and realize that it is a lot of chatter with the substance hidden underneath. To be honest, I never expected to leave Wichita Falls, especially at this time of the year or in this season. If we left (and that was, honestly, a big if), we expected to leave in an August, while school was out, like everyone else does. Win had planned to commute and my parents had expected to go to the Dallas Temple Mission (they are going to D.C. which they had been told did not need anyone) with Win staying there for two nights a week.
As a result I ordered the extra large size of envelopes and business cards, took out telephone book listings for this coming year, paid for various other listings and even pre-paid my business card with the UAW (I do a lot of work for UAW members so I return the favor by donating to their newsletter). Suddenly I'm all packed up and getting ready to go. I really had not expected to leave until I was buried -- and planned to be buried here (we have plots in the Cemetary -- along with my parents -- next to Jessica, Courtney and Robin's plots).
My life is shifting back to normal again with this move. Heather won't have any more children teasing her about her sisters all dieing (something that has been going on and that she has just not told us about until recently) -- telling that they won't play with her because they are sure it was her fault. Win and I will go to a place where people will come to know us for ourselves and not for what has happened to us.
Which brings me to finishing up this journal with this entry. This makes for the last transition to finish, ending my on-line journal. I am grateful for the many e-mails from people this has helped, I would have quit long before. However, time has moved on and so must we all.
God's speed to all of you.
February 6, 1999
Wichita Falls was good for us. I regretted needing to move, but there wasn't any other thing we could do. Now Heather has a school where the kids don't tease her about her dead sisters, or blame her for them. Young children just don't know any better, don't realize the difference between things that really hurt and things that are just a little nasty. I don't stand for either of them with Heather, but I couldn't control how others treated her.
We've a house, a place for the cat and rabbit (Catfish and Marilyn), quiet for the Gerbils and friends and relatives. Ted (George to most of us now -- Win's brother) will be coming over for dinner Sunday. I shaved twenty minutes off my commute time. Turned down an interview with New Mexico's Law School for a faculty position (they called the week I started work with Zisman -- it was kind of like telling St. Peter no), and am getting settled in and unpacked.
Life goes forward.
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* There are people who are really lightweight and shallow in areas I consider important. My generic term for them is "poof" as in "he/she is just a poof." Because their opinions do not have merit and their judgment is so weak, I do not consider them culpable when they do or say ignorant things. They just don't know better -- and don't count.