This short article is presented to explain why my blog has gone “silent” these last few weeks. Having maintained a publication schedule of 2 articles per week for the last several years, I have been noticeably absent of late, and haven’t put anything up on this blog. Normally, on Memorial Day, I write a short piece of gratitude for those who have served our country, but this time, my thoughts have turned more inward. Still, I think it is important that we not forget the sacrifice made by our wonderful service people here and abroad, past and present:
Thank you all and God bless you for your service.
Since around the end of February, my attention has been required to care for my ailing father. As an only child, and with my dad having turned 90 in August of 2012, the demands on my time have virtually exploded since about February of this year (2013).
My dad died on May 23, 2013. He was a veteran, having served in the army. He was proud of the service he gave to our country, and I am proud of him. Because of the Memorial holiday, he was laid to rest on May 29, 2013.
While I am sad beyond words, I was at least able to be with him when he passed. I had prayed for that opportunity, and was lucky enough to have had the honor and satisfaction of having held each of my parents when they passed away. No one wants to see their parents die, but when that inevitability approaches, to know that they had the best comfort and companionship you can provide is reassuring.
My day-to-day world involves working on Detroit area DUI cases, winning Michigan license restoration appeals, and successfully handling the rather specialized criminal cases in which I concentrate, including embezzlement, indecent exposure, marijuana and suspended license charges. My practice is rather similar to my family life, in a strange kind of way. While some lawyers will handle a much wider spectrum of cases than me, I have chosen to keep the number of things I do to just a few. In my own family, I have no siblings, and my wife and I have just one child. In my practice, I focus on just a few things so that I can do them with an unparalleled expertise. My family, like my practice is small and intimate.
Losing my dad did not come as a surprise, or a shock, but it still hurts. I’ve always been very close to my parents, and as they got older, my role shifted to being more the parent than the child. When my mom died in 2008, my dad was already 86 years old. In the last few years, I’ve been in even closer contact with him, often seeing him daily and calling him on the phone to speak with him multiple times everyday, and handling doctors and medication and what seemed at the time like a million other things.
Not anymore. In the last few days, my hand has reached for a phone (when you have older parents, the phone, be it a home phone or a cell phone, becomes a constant companion as calls from various doctors or nurses at the hospital come in) that is no longer needed. I’ve had the phone next to me everyday for as long as I can remember, and would often take a break as I was writing a blog article to call him and check on him. That part of my life and routine is gone forever
The death of a close loved one hits you on multiple levels. As much as you might think that you know what’s next, every hour brings a new feeling, or a memory long forgotten.
It has always seemed to me that, at a minimum, anyone really worth mourning would be looking down and urging their heartbroken survivors to NOT waste their time crying excessively over what cannot be undone. Sure, we have to mourn, but getting stuck anywhere in the grieving cycle is a problem. The dearly departed undoubtedly want their survivors to embrace and enjoy life, and would probably remind us that our time here, by any count, is short.
My dad would absolutely urge me to get back to work as soon as possible. I’ve been “away” for a bit, but alreaedy feel a longing to get back to my keyboard, my conference table, and the courtroom. Over these last weeks, I’ve made notes of articles to write, so in the coming weeks, I’ll have plenty to write about.
Losing anyone is hard, but I think that, at least for me, as an only child, losing my second parent really changes the landscape of life; I’m on my own now. Even though in these last several years I have been more or less “taking care of” my dad, his passing changes my daily routine in innumerable ways. The memories of my childhood, kept alive by at least one of my parents, have become more like still pictures now. There is a process of sorts that one must undergo in order to heal enough mentally to give one’s full attention to things like work. While I was, of course, working in the background the last week or so, I resisted the urge to play any active role in my caseload at the risk of being distracted.
Now, I’m back. That doesn’t mean that I’ve just tucked my memories away, but it means that I am ready, by my own standards, to focus my full attention on my work. After all, thinking about and working on my cases is what fills my everyday. It is this usual routine that keeps me sane. I sometimes pop out of bed at 3 in the morning to make a note about something DUI or license restoration related, and then go back to sleep. When the first thing I think about in the morning is checking the emails, and then want to follow up on this or that case, I know I’m ready.
As much as being a Detroit DUI lawyer and a Michigan driver’s license restoration lawyer is important to me, I think that writing about these subjects has made me even better at them. I’ve grown very fond of my weekends at the laptop. Even though I “know’ certain things, when I’m about to formalize something in an article, I have to look it up to make sure I have it exactly right. Writing has educational benefits. The same thing goes, really, for taking anything you know and then having to break it down in writing. While I don’t cook, imagine a recipe that you make almost without thought, and then imagine trying to write it out for someone to follow. Exactly how much water goes into the pan? How many onions? You just get to “know” it better when you have to break it down and make it understandable. I’m certainly a better lawyer for having had to publish two articles every week.
As a writer, or at least a writer “wanna-be,” I will pick up a line or a turn of phrase that I like, and will want to use in an upcoming article. Last summer, while I was at an outdoor wedding, a helicopter was flying overhead, interrupting the proceedings. A man next to me leaned over and said. “life has a way of getting in the way of life, doesn’t it?’ I immediately liked that line. Here now, it finally has relevance and I can use it: Life, and death, as part of the life cycle, does have a way of getting in the way of life.
And now we move on…