November 1, 1997
Each year we get fewer and fewer "trick or treaters" -- to the point where every kid gets several candy bars -- and to the point we went out and Heather was giving candy away door-to-door.
There was a child with the cutest chicken costume -- just like Jessica's first Halloween costume.
I'm learning to deal with people who are used to being happy to see me. For many people, dealing with me was where they got a daily dose of a friendly face and a positive bit of good cheer. When I see them, they break into smiles. It was rough dealing with that group of people I know. They seemed hardwired to expect me to make them happier. I just couldn't do it on top of everything else.
I'm adjusting, but it has been very interesting.
I'm dealing with the disability of grief again. While I'm overcoming it at a much faster pace than before, I'm also much more aware of the pain.
November 4, 1997
Updated my Reflections page again. I'm not sure that the Legal Practice Section of the ABA is going to be able to cope with the entire story. Should be interesting to see how much of this essay makes it into the sidebar they wanted to have for my essay on surviving grief that they asked to print. Or if they print it at all, given the additional death in our family.
Was called on two academic consults yesterday. I estimate that I will be able to function at the level I wished I had functioned at in three to four months. I did them a fair amount of good, but did not reach the crisp, structured and powerful level I think of when I think of other consults I've done. At least this is temporary, and I gave them help no one else would have been able to give. But I can remember when I would have done more.
November 24, 1997
Thanksgiving is coming up. One of those things I'd like to just put off.
Just got the music that THChess@aol.com wrote for me. I'll be putting it up on this site. It connects for me. I'm not sure why, it is pretty disharmonious at places, but it fits my life.
I've had some people assume that I must be suffering more than other people because I am literate and I am able to express what I feel. I do not think so, only that I am able to express it. Expression is not reflective of the depth of sorrow or of its presence, only that one has learned a language with which to communicate, if one can truly communicate, the pain and loss and devastation that one feels.
The poor, the uneducated, the illiterate, in my experience feel pain just as deeply, if not more, than those who are able to express themselves and are blessed with those who are willing to listen.
November 25, 1997
Well, the consults I handled turned out to have gone better than I thought. Did some reference work for some other attorneys (a couple guys asked me to comment on a debate two partners were having and we had a great discussion on the law).
My life is having some better moments too. Heard from some old friends in the last while, Karen Austin and Gene Jacobs. It really did my heart good.
On the other hand, some things are so amazing you have to laugh.
Win has had two men corner her and insist that she listen to them. Wish they had talked to me.
Both wanted her to know that she may have had some hard times, but that their lives had been worse. One has had a heart transplant (you would think he would be more grateful), the other went through a divorce when his wife had mental problems. Guess it is pretty bad when you reflect that her problems, if properly noticed and cared for, were resolvable and he failed to act properly or in time. I'd look poorly on my life as well if I failed such a test.
But I'm not sure I'd be so self-centered as to pick on a grief stricken mother to make certain that she knew my life was worse because I had been so self-centered and so self-indulgent in taking so much and giving so little. Kind of reduces the amount of sympathy one gets. On the other hand, it did make me grateful I wasn't either of the men -- so, in a real way, from my view point their lives are worse.
Had a discussion about these instances, along with others, with a friend at a law school. She was surprised I was taking them in good humor, but I can't see any other way to take the instances. What can you say to someone who is basically saying "my life is worse than yours because I screwed up my life, and continue to screw up my life, through being self-centered whereas your life only has tragedy that you did not bring about!" ?! I mean. Really. Reminds me of a comic strip.
When I was ten, my imaginary friend told
What more is there to add?
What do you add?
I don't know.
Heather seems to be doing well. We spend a lot of time with her. She needs us and we need her. She fell off a horse the other day, but everything was ok in the end.
The only problem we have is that every so often she encounters someone who feels that she needs to realize that she is not immortal and that bad things can happen to her too. (People assume that nothing bad has ever happened to Heather or Win or myself some times). Heather is more than aware of that. She has a very lively belief in her own mortality.
November 24, 1997
For the Christmas Courtney died, we had bought the girls an electric car. We got the heavy duty one (largest payload, two forward, one reverse gear, etc.) so that they could ride around together and do things together. I always regretted that Courtney never got to ride in the car. I had so looked forward to that. Heather has since outgrown it. She wanted to keep it to drive Robin around, but that isn't going to happen.
We finally gave it away. It would just sit in the garage and remind us of things we had wished would happen. Good times that didn't quite come around. One more year of the neighbors taking down the Christmas lights for us.
On the other hand, some little children will be very, very happy with a white electric Porsche. We've needed to find a new home for it, and Heather was finally ready to give it away.
Heather is such an incredibly good child. I told her she was a gem the other day. She looked at me. I explained that I meant that she was beautiful and valuable like a gemstone. She smiled and said "really?" She had always thought when people said that she was a gem they meant that she was small, hard, and in the way (as if they had called her a pebble or something). She is a real gem and knows it now.
November 26, 1997
Just ended up turning down a television interview. It was too soon and too much for something for a Thanksgiving day interview broadcast. We are too close to our grief. I'm glad Win saw that when I mentioned it to her.
Put the music information together. It plays on my website very well under IE. I'll check NN next. If it were built in to the desktop (IE is, and I can't get rid of it, so I kept it) I'd probably check with NN first since more people use it. Both were fine. [music]
Oh my heart. My dear wife and children.
We shared Thanksgiving with Jeremy and Syma Prince. I learned some interesting things about Reform and Orthodox Judaism and we screened a Hanukkah video together (to see if it was appropriate before the kids got it as a gift). Didn't know what to say when it got rolling. It would have made a good first draft to send over for a solid rewrite with someone with more of a Jewish background.
The rest of Thanksgiving was really good for us. Syma and Jeremy are such good friends. They've saved our lives in many respects.
December 1, 1997
Looks like we are reconciled to no other choice besides bankruptcy. I can't see any other way to work things out. We hoped and we tried and if Robin had made it, we would have too. If things had just gone differently ... but I think it is time not to get in any deeper. I just can't do anything else.
Had the most amazing thing happen at the funeral parlor. As we paid off the last of the bill, one of the attendants standing nearby said "Well, it could have been worse." I looked at him politely and he said "Yes, you could have been like that family who had seven children." "You are so better off having buried three."
Win stood still (amazed at the comment, I think) and I replied that yes, instead of having buried three children we could have seven to take home. Instead of debt and loss we could have people buying cars and homes for us and promising to feed our children for the next twenty years.
The guy obviously wasn't a family man -- to him, anything was better than having children at home.
I don't do well holding grudges. Recently I had some updates on several people who did not keep their ends of deals, relationships, etc. with me. They've come to rather sad places in their lives. I guess I should have felt some satisfaction, but instead I felt sorry for them and have wondered what I could do to help. Can't think of anything that doesn't sound more like rubbing it in than anything else, so I've kept quiet, but it was on my mind for a while. The misfortune of others just doesn't make me happy. So, if you want to cheer me up, bringing me news of bad things happening to bad people probably won't do it.
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