Easter Day 2013

Michael and I had a wonderful relationship and I took such good care of him in his last year of life that I surprised even me. Florence Nightingale I am not. I have a weak stomach and most of the things required of me were not good for a person with a weak stomach. I also broke my foot and my hand while he was ill and it wasn’t easy to care for him many days but he received the best care possible. He was always comfortable, dry, well-fed and cared for. He was not the type to complain even if he wasn’t but I made sure he had the very best of everything. I watched over him like a mother hen or a mama bear. I argued on his behalf and advocated for his care and was there every single second for him as I am sure he would have done for me. I could count our serious arguments on one hand over all those years and I only actually remember two or three that were really really serious. Other than that he made me happy and I made him happy and I had no regrets except this one Easter I’m going to talk about.

Even when I made the decision to leave Texas and go ahead to NY while he stayed behind in Texas to sell the house and have Gina finish the school year doesn’t fill me with regret though it turned into 2 years. We thought it would be a matter of months but as the market tumbled and houses that were in the same price range but actually better houses were not selling, we knew we had to settle in for the long haul. I had been subletting a room in Manhattan but went to sublet an apartment for a year because I knew that nothing was going to happen any time soon.

We spoke every day, we visited often, and the fact that the long-distance marriage made us stronger and not weaker was testimony to our love for each other. I could not have done that time like that with any other man. I never loved or trusted anyone else like that and neither did he. In our first year he had trouble letting me out of his sight. Who knew we’d spend almost 2 living a thousand miles apart. And not only survive it, but thrive. So even though I wish I could have one minute back with him…a minute or even a second…I don’t regret those two years. We didn’t know it would turn into 2 years and, as I said, it showed our strength and our love and our devotion to each other to do it and to not let it interfere with our relationship. In fact, it made it stronger if anything.

We were having so much trouble getting anything for the house that would reimburse our down payment. That was our goal. Then one night I rented a car to go visit my grandkids and I hadn’t listened to the radio because my apartment didn’t have one, I didn’t drive often and my assistant at work always had his on. But the Michael Buble song “Home” came on and I started listening to it and had to pull over, in midtown Manhattan traffic, and just started sobbing. I called him and said, “Sell the house for a penny, a nickel, I don’t care, just sell the house and get up here.” I sent him a copy of the song the next and after he passed, like so many other things I had given him, I found he had copied it and storied it in different places, on his computer, in his car, one copy was in the CD collection he listened to at work.
So we grew stronger but enough was enough and I wanted us back together. I went house hunting that weekend and within a few weeks found the house where we would live and he would die. But it was a very happy home for us and for our extended family when they came to visit. So I do not regret those two years and we did not recoup our down payment on the house but neither of us cared anymore.

But I do regret a few things and one is an Easter dinner I should have stayed home for and not listened to my boss who was truly cruel to pull this on me or anyone else. It was truly an egotistical power trip by a little man who thought he knew what family values were but didn’t know a damn thing about any such thing. Or the value of human life, love and family. And he had the nerve, the entire time I worked for him, to look down his nose at me. I never brought Michael to any of the firm functions because I could not/would not expose him, someone so pure of heart, to these bastards I worked for.

In my first year as a lawyer, we went to trial and started prepping in January. As a first year it was supposed to be “an honor” or some kind of accolade that you were chosen to be on a trial team especially as the only associate. We worked 7 days a week 16 hours a day for months.

The trial was to begin the Tuesday after Easter. We worked all day and night Easter Saturday and then, lo and behold, the name partner gave us Easter Sunday off at the last minute to go to church and spend time with our families. I was thrilled and as we were about to sit down to an early Easter dinner, the phone rang. The partner wanted me to go to the office and help him with his opening statement. Michael said nothing but I could tell, by the look on his face, he was so disappointed as he had not seen me in months.

I went immediately to the office and waited 2 hours for this egotistical asshole to show up and grace me with his presence. I don’t regret much in our time together but if there’s anything I regret is that day. If you are spending this weekend with your loved ones, be grateful for it and if someone tries to interfere with it, tell them to go jump off a bridge. A fellow associate called this man a narcissist with a Napoleon complex and he was right on the money. It’s one thing to wield power, it’s another to use it over others for no good reason.

The week before the trial began, We held a mock trial the week before and he had played opposing counsel and I represented our clientaaaaaaaaaajde liked my Opening Statement so much that he wanted us to use most of it, but why couldn’t we do it on Monday since most of it was written. Also, we did the trial as a real trial in a courtroom with a Jury Consultant who brought in actual adult jurors to decide from the mini-trial. They were not told which side the Jury Consultant was working for and we had a real judge preside over the mock trial and we had our witnesses and our client. And, lo and behold, I won. Against an attorney, a name partner, who had been practicing law for more than 20 years and who had really been trying to get our weaknesses. My fellow associates, most of whom had attended portions of the trial congratulated me. Nothing from the partner. That is how life for associates goes in many many law firms works.

In most professions that sort of thing would have been commendable and a feather in your cap and a wave to ride for a long time. It wasn’t. My fellow associates congratulated me, but the partner simply asked for a copy of my Opening Statement and Closing Arguments as well as a synopsis of ==

This complete jerk of a boss went to church that morning with his family, ate dinner then called me to interrupt mine to demand me to the office immediately where I sat for two hours waiting for this little stupid bozo to show up and, once he got there, we didn’t do much of anything. It was power run amok as was everything at that firm and many other firms. This is why lawyers start to hate being lawyers. Because you work you butt off for 4 years of undergrad and study like a maniac for the LSAT to get into a good law school or the best one you can, you study for 6-8 weeks for the bar exam (which is like 24 hours a day), you spend 2 or 3 days taking this grueling exam and then wait months to find out if you pass or not, all the while putting yourself into debt that most of us will never see paid off in our lifetimes (at least I won’t). Then you get to your first job where you realize that NOTHING in law school prepared you to actually practice law.

I was a litigator/trial attorney and for this trial. The case had been in limbo for 4 years because the first person who was involved with it had left the firm. So we moved for Summary Judgment in November. When I got there in September, I was not even a licensed attorney and I was put on this team. My first assignment was to go to the “war room” (what they call a room where you keep all the files for a particular case or cases) and see if all the pertinent documents for this case were “Bates stamped.” Now, I had to ask the paralegal what a “Bates stamp” was because I had no idea and they didn’t teach me that in law school or in my summer internship the year before.

I had been given the assignment by a partner but I couldn’t ask her this question because she was another one on a huge power trip and she would have gone NUTS if I had asked her this. Many people go to lower tiered law schools because they cannot afford the better ones and if you have a good LSAT and a pretty good GPA from a pretty good undergrad, they’ll give you a full ride. A full ride is tough to pass up. I practiced with some attorneys who went to 4th tier law schools who were brilliant and some who went to Harvard or Yale who were idiots. So I tried really had not to be elitist about where I went to school, but I was convinced that this woman went to a 4th tier school because she had to…I was convinced (though never asked) that it was the only school she could get into. Because, to me, she was a moron. And, to me, she was mean and acted horribly toward others. And that’s the worst kind of stupid. Being stupid is one thing. Being mean is another thing. Being mean and stupid is the worst combination in the world. You can’t help being stupid and you can’t help not knowing you’re stupid (she thought she was very bright, so very wrong), but you can help being mean and this is what she was. Part of it did have to do with being stupid because she was too stupid to realize how to treat others. I nicknamed her Crazy Cakes and moved my office as far away from hers as humanly possible because when it was closer to hers, she had a tendency to just pop in and give me some random, stupid, not having anything to do with anything, assignment. So I managed to move my office in the opposite direction so that it was harder to get off the elevator and come to my office.

But then she would call me and say “Come to my office.” She couldn’t tell me what she wanted. So off I went with my notepad. I had to go down a hallway and take a left and all the way at the end of that very long hallway was her office. Along the way were the offices of many associates on the right and I referred to this walk as walking the Green Mile. As I would go by, my fellow associates would say, “Uh oh. Sooz is walking the green mile.” And usually when I got there, she would ask me for something she could have asked for on the phone or some other nonsense. It was truly a power trip to have me walk that long distance. Punishment for moving my office. Crazy as the day was long.

She also did not “trust” the electronic databases that every lawyer in the world used so she would direct me to use the books. The books of case law, so that I would sit in this stupid library that no one else had to use and research the “books.” And so many times some case would come down since the books were published and someone would forget to supplement the books (because on one ever used them or no one knew whose job it was to put the supplementation in the books that no one used) and the supplement would render whatever I had found in the books unusable. And every secretary she had quit–running out the door like their hair was on fire within very short periods of time.

There were a couple of very nice partners at that firm and I did get to do work for them and they did treat me well and I really liked them a lot, so I had hoped that I wouldn’t be working for stupid people forever. I had hope. Sometimes it’s stupid to have hope. That was one of those times.

One of the stipulations I had upon joining this law firm was that I would take that state bar in July and study for the New York bar and take that in February (they had a New York office and I was supposed to be hired for that office but at the last minute they sent me to not New York office). I didn’t want to take two bars in one year but the longer the time between bar exams, the more you had to study. I didn’t ask for any time off in February except for the day before the NY bar, the two days to sit for the bar, and the day after to fly back.

So in January I reminded Crazy Cakes that I was taking those 4 days off in February and she said she did not understand why I needed to take the NY bar and I said because eventually I wanted to go there and practice. New York is home and our firm had an office there. She tried to talk me out of it every day. I worked 9 to 9 almost every single day and on the weekend worked about 9-3 and went home and studied for the bar.

One day Napoleon calls me into his office and says he doesn’t want me taking the NY bar after I had paid for it and spent weeks studying for it. I said to him, “I get to work here 9 in the morning and work, without a break, until 9 at night and most of the weekend. I work 12 hours a day and then go home and study for 3 hours. I’ve been doing that for weeks and now, a few weeks before the bar, you want me to stop and not take the bar?” and he said “For what I pay you, those 3 hours between 9 and midnight belong to me.” And he said it with a straight face. He thought that was a perfectly logical and reasonable thing to say. I reported this story to every associate who said, “SERIOUSLY? He said those hours belong to him????”

So apparently Crazy Cakes had visited her insanity upon Napoleon and he denied me the right to take the February bar (I did take it in July and passed…how I do not know as I got no time off to study for it).

Although most firms were business casual unless you were in court or seeing a client, this firm was business formal every day. Meaning women wore a suit and the men wore suit and tie every day. We rarely ever saw clients, but there we were, each in our own offices dressed like we were going to court because, as one partner put it, “You never know.” We were not fire fighters. Lawyers pretty much know when they’re needed in court ahead of time, especially if you are commercial litigators as we were, and most lawyers I knew who did work for firms where business casual was the norm had a suit in their office just in case they had to “spring into action” (ha!) and go save some client (so long as the client had money) from the courts. But we were different. Apparently when the justice signal went up over Gotcha City one night, we were ready to jump into action with our little suits and brief cases. No changing required.

I had circulation issues with my legs due to a fairly recent car accident where I injured my leg and without a chance to rest for even 5 minutes at any time during a 12 to 16 hour shift working 7 days a week and not wanting to wear support hose, I wore opaque hose which was almost as tight as support hose but I didn’t look 80 years old wearing them when I wore a dress or a skirt, which was often. To save money on clothes and dry cleaning I tended to buy suits that came with both pants and a skirt. So when I wore a skirt or a dress, I wore black opaque panty hose.

One day Crazy Cakes calls me into her office. Nothing much was going on but there I went, walking the Green Mile. I sit down in the chair across from her desk with my little notepad, waiting to write down wacky assignment of the day, and she says, “Oh you don’t need your notepad (well thank you for telling me that when you called me down here). I want to talk to you, not as partner to associate, but as woman to woman.” Woman to woman? Seriously? Did I hear her say that? If there was any woman on Earth I would take NO advice from at all, it was her. But she thinks she knows everything so she leans forward and whispers, “You need to lose the opaque panty hose. It’s hot in the summer and completely inappropriate.” I wanted to smack her in her stupid face. Inappropriate for what? Walking the Green Mile 17 times a day? No one could believe she said that to me.

There was a document that went around the office. A secret document by associates which was a series of all the stupid and irrational things she made them do, research, look up etc. This one went on there. It was the first “fashion statement” to make the list. And the list was long as hell. Apparently, to stay sane, associates had been making the list for years. I don’t remember who I gave it to when I left, but the idea was that you just found it on your chair if you were the “main” associate working with her and when you left (which, inevitably, if you worked for her the most you did), you left the list on someone else’s chair when they weren’t there so that if anyone ever found the list you could honestly say you had no idea where it came from.

She might sound drastic and she was, but in that law firm, and in many others, there is no such thing as dignity and respect for others. It’s the nature of the beast and it’s all very hierarchical most who get up there do not make partner after years of grueling work and kissing the asses of people who treat them like crap. Again, not all law firms are like this and many people leave these law firms and start their own firms and do well and bring on people and treat them like, um, people. There are even some large law firms that do it too. There are some places that are actually very nice places to work that are headed by people who actually know how to treat people right.

So back to this trial in my first year of practice as a lawyer. I had been very excited to be asked to be on a trial team as all my friends were doing document review as first years, but I soon realized, as the only associate, almost all would rest on my shoulders and these were pretty know-nothing shoulders. It wasn’t being thrown into the deep end of the pool not knowing how to swim. This was being thrown into the fire of hell in a flammable suit.

So I was working for two partners, one who was a narcissist with a Napoleon complex and one who, in my opinion (and in the opinion of most other associates in the firm) was stupid and mean. So I asked the paralegal on the case who basically saved my life for the entire time of the trial prep (6 months) and then the trial itself (6 weeks) and then post trial motions (several months). He knew more about everything than anyone connected to the trial. He kept me sane, he was high energy and once walked off the job after getting into a screaming match with Crazy Cakes and Napoleon convinced him to come back. I was glad. I had hoped that Napoleon had just thrown wads of cash at him and gave Crazy Cakes instructions to not bother him again.

I was thrilled when he came back but it was clear that he and Crazy Cakes were to never again have a conversation which gave me more exposure to her because now I had to tell her what he wanted her to know and visa versa (and their offices were about 12 feet apart). And because it was clear that Napoleon wanted him around because he was the only one who knew what he was doing, he started to leave at 7 each night instead of waiting for Crazy Cakes to dismiss the crew at midnight.

Like I said, there are very decent law firms where these kinds of things don’t go on. Many of my friends who practiced law with me or went to law school with me either own their own firms or are partners or in-house counsel and they work hard and are good and humane to their associates. But they are far and few between. I once had a partner who I thought was a lovely gentleman but I handed him an assignment, received no feedback on it, and then was told that it was so badly written, it was incomprehensible. All of this judgment without a word to me until the day of my review. When I asked for feedback as to what was “incomprehensible,” I received none. Another senior counsel blamed his mistakes on me and yet another partner allowed a team of 10 senior lawyers to change a brief up until the last minute and when it was filed at midnight full of errors and bad citations, the paralegal and I were the ones who were blamed for it. All of this “writing” criticism and yet I’m an author of a best selling book. I must have the entire world fooled except for those fools. There’s no fool like an “out of his or her mind” fool.

I no longer practice law for the most part and these are the reasons why (I occasionally do contract work and would love to do some work for firms that know how to treat people either as an Of Counsel or something to that effect—especially matrimonial or mediation firms). But they would have to know how to treat people. I know people who work for the same firm and have two completely different experiences. It often depends on who you work for. I started my career with Napoleon and Crazy Cakes and it was all downhill from there.

The majority of people I have worked for were egotistical assholes who were conniving and horrible. It’s nonsensical to tell people they have to have their edits into a very important brief, two hours prior to deadline, so the head associate (me) and the paralegal can correct the mistakes and then to just ignore that deadline and allow them to continue to edit the brief right up until the last minute and put in arguments or fail to cite cases or come up with completely new arguments which actually contradict earlier arguments and citations. That happened at the firm I was working for the year Michael took sick and passed. And I had broken my hand while traveling for them on business and actually stayed home and wrote briefs instead of filing for disability. I thought that after he passed, I would want to/need to go back to work and I did. But I still had a broken hand and when I had the cast taken off one of my fingers was bent in the wrong direction and I needed hand therapy that I used to get on my lunch hour and the partners complained that after being gone for so long (working at home with a broken right hand is “gone”), I shouldn’t be taking time out during the day. Excruciating physical therapy was not my idea of taking time out.

The year Michael died, the Yankees were in the World Series and I had tickets. He was sick from January to August when he passed and the first time I remember smiling was a breezy and wonderful October evening when I was at Yankee Stadium during the ALDS. The Yankees hadn’t won a World Series in almost 10 years and I didn’t think they would go all the way but I’d take what I could get.

The year before I had tickets to the closing weekend at old Yankee Stadium but that was the week Michael took ill. He was in a medically induced coma and intubated and in NeuroICU so I wouldn’t leave his side, but made sure all the kids went to help them as they were all a wreck and needed time out to go. They went in different combinations to the full weekend and saw them close out the old Yankee Stadium and for the first time in years, the Yankees didn’t make the playoffs. But I had wanted to go to the closing of the Stadium as I had grown up there and I didn’t go because I stayed with my honey at the hospital and it was the right thing to do. So as it turns out the last game I ever went to at the old Stadium was a Yankee/Red Sox game with Michael (he was a Red Sox fan having been born and raised in Boston).

So who knew I would be walking along the new Stadium the next year (the one I was determined to hate and have grown to love)….2 months after Michael’s passing. I had not been to a game that year except for Opening Day.

So in October, the Yankees were back in the playoffs and it was the 2nd game of the ALDS and I was walking along the concourse on the lower level and the open end facing the field, the game had not started and Black Eyed Peas “I Gotta Feeling” started playing. After all the horror of that year, after losing the most precious person I have ever known, after spending months just sobbing night after night, I remember when that song came on, I smiled.

I smiled.

For the first time in a long time.

People can hate on the Yankees and they can hate on the Black Eyed Peas and even on that song, but I’ll tell you, the feeling of happiness I had that night, the 2nd night of the ALDS at Yankee Stadium feeling that wonderful October breeze and hearing that song, was the first time I smiled that entire year. The game that followed was one of the most exciting I had ever been to and I was there with 3 of my kids. It was fantastic.

Due to work I didn’t go to the ALCS and figured I’d just cross my fingers and hope they made it to the World Series and yes they did. In my most horrible, terrible, very bad year, the New York Yankees were giving me something to cheer for. Again, you can hate the Yankees all you like, but I grew up in the Bronx. They are my hometown team, not the Evil Empire. And for me, in that terrible year of a broken foot, a broken hand and losing the love of my life, my redemption. The only thing that made me smile was them (and, later, the news that my daughter in law was pregnant).

So there I was, looking forward to the opening the World Series at new Yankee Stadium. Jay-Z and Alicia Keyes were going to start the Series ceremonies with Empire State of Mind. I was working at another firm and getting ready to go to the game. It was almost 5 and I was getting ready to change into my jeans and take the subway to the Bronx when a name partner called me and said he had slipped up and forgotten about this case where a friend of his was being sued in federal court and he forgot to file an Answer in the Southern District of New York and would I write up an Answer and argue against dismissal for failure to file an Answer in the morning. This was a friend of his and it was important. Not a huge case but important. It seemed to me it would take a couple of hours to go over the case and write the Answer and a Motion and brief against dismissal for failure to file an Answer. Not a big deal.

So after I read over the papers I called him back. He was a rabid Yankee fan and I said I had tickets to go to the World Series and would go up to the Bronx for the game and back down to Manhattan after the game and work all night. The hearing was set for 9 am. I assumed I could go home after that and sleep. When I made the call I honestly thought it would be no big deal at all.

He said he didn’t care if I had tickets to see the Pope, I had to stay and figure this out. I had to come up with the Answer and it had to be perfect. This was federal court. We were not fooling around. He could not tolerate it being dismissed for failure to Answer. Even though it was his fault, I had to get this done. The only way to do it was to stay at the office all night, said he. I was numb as I listened to his words. I couldn’t even take the chance of sneaking up to the Game because more than likely he’d be there.

I left the office for a bit, completely numb and dazed, to get something to eat. My kids called me from the Stadium, “Mom, where are you?” and I said, “I have to work.” and they said “Work??? Mom, this is the first game of the World Series and Jay-Z and Alicia Keyes are about to play….” I said, through tears, “I know but I have to convince a federal judge, who is not known for his generosity, to not dismiss the case for failure to file an Answer in the morning.” They had no idea what I had just said as no non-lawyer would but they, too, had been through hell and were crushed. I was beyond crushed.

In that year, after losing the love of my life, I really wanted to be there that night. The ONLY night I had any kind of relief from the complete devastation and horror of losing Michael had been Game 2 of the ALDS. But, trying to be a good trouper, I began to work on the Answer and Motion not to dismiss. By the time the game was over, I had written the Answer and the argument not to dismiss. I can’t remember if I was angry or sad or both. It was terribly unfair. Extremely unfair. I paid for someone else’s mistakes who had probably been there that night and the game probably did not mean to him what it would have meant to me.

In the morning, the judge told opposing counsel they could not be serious about a dismissal and allowed me to file my Answer. The hearing took all of 10 minutes. In other words, I did not have to miss that game and reading the Complaint, the partner had to know that or he was dense as a baseball. There was no reason for me to miss that game. Such horseshit.

There was another deadline in the case shortly thereafter that I did miss and some part of me thinks I missed it on purpose. It took some explaining to do but I was so miserable in the legal field by this time, so tired of being mistreated or being blamed for someone else’s mistakes or being treated like a moron by morons, of losing out on things that I shouldn’t have lost out on, I was done. The things I had done (written briefs with a broken hand) and other things were completely unappreciated. I think that WS game did me in. I was so grief-stricken and in such physical pain with my hand that I just wanted to tell them all to go jump in the Hudson or East River (pick a river, any river).

Mentally and emotionally I was done.

I kept working at it a couple more years but it was such crap, even nice partners were sometimes passive-aggressive and others were just mean and others stupid. One would call many times when I was on the phone or in the bathroom or run out for lunch and he would not leave a message and I had no idea he called and he would then accuse me of not being there and that no one ever knew where I was. Yes, I missed so many wonderful moments with my family for the practice of law but was disappearing at the same time. If I was going to disappear it would have been to stay and eat Easter dinner with my family or to go to the World Series. Not just for the hell of it. If you don’t leave me a message, I don’t know you called.

Yes, there are nice partners and understanding attorneys and Napoleon was a very good attorney for his clients but he treated most associates like dog crap unless he took a liking to you which was completely random. One time he asked me what was “wrong” with this other associate. Apparently the other associate had done something stupid and Napoleon wanted me to clean up his mess. I was shocked when he said to me, “What do you think is wrong with him? Do you think he just doesn’t get it?” It was as if he was taking me into his confidence and trying to get me to fix this associate’s work product (who had graduated the year before me). And it was like that a lot. On any given day, you never knew which side of the fence you would be on. Like in fashion, one day you’re in and the next you’re out. Except in law one day you’re in and the next you’re out and the next you’re in and the next you’re out. There must be some psychological torture class you must take to be a partner at some law firms, but even with a Masters degree in Psychology I couldn’t tell, but it had Stockholm syndrome written all over it.

To support my family I ate humble pie for almost two years working for that first ridiculous firm (and then went to work for a bigger but somewhat less ridiculous firm and then a smaller but ridiculous firm and then back to large but still ridiculous firm). Someone said to me once, “So it’s all the firms? It’s not you?” No, it’s not that I don’t think it’s that. I think that a lot of it wasn’t me and a lot of it was that I just stopped trying to please people who could not be pleased.

Maybe my heart isn’t in it when I’m not being treated right. Maybe when someone makes me work 20 hours a day for months and then demands me to get to the office as I’m sitting down to a meal with my family and then I have to wait for him for 2 hours so he can show up and do nothing or I lose the opportunity to spend a beautiful night at the World Series (still haven’t been to a World Series) with my family FOR NO REASON two months after losing the love of my life, I start to lose interest in doing a good job or any job at all. Maybe you just get to the point where you decide that these people are shitheads and are not worth it. They don’t understand the value of family or that if you demand someone drop everything and do something, it should absolutely, positively have to be done right then and there.

The Easter thing happened at the beginning of my career and disappointed the most wonderful person I have ever known and was demanded by one of the most narcissistic jerkoffs I’ve ever known. The World Series thing happened at the end of my legal career and disappointed my kids and me in the worst year I’ve ever had and would have made me forget my devastation for a night, at least. I can’t say that the partner who interfered with that was a narcissistic jerkoff but he was an egotistical bastard who failed to understand the sheer determination on my part that year. I was nursing a dying man, I had a broken right hand (broken while traveling on the job) and trying to placate a group of senior attorneys who did nothing but squabble on a bunch of class actions. They changed each other’s work and then all blamed it on me. I was working with a dying husband and a broken right hand, writing briefs 12 hours a day and being yelled out for misspelling the name of a company in a citation that I didn’t catch because it was changed at 11:45 by some partner and we were filing at 11:59.

But that didn’t matter. I could have gone out on disability when I broke my hand and didn’t. I could have gone out on FMLA but didn’t. When I fractured my back this last time, I went out on leave and then had to sue for long term disability benefits when I wasn’t ready to go back to work.

I’ve gone back to counseling people who have had a loss and need to heal and who come to see me (or talk to me via phone or Skype). I do work 7 days a week but mostly as my choice. I have boundaries and I do turn off my availability sometimes and take care of myself. But I never again want to regret not doing something with someone wonderful for someone who is a complete and total asshole. Michael is gone and that guy is still alive and kicking associates around. And I regret the choice I made that day but to not make it would have been to leave my job which we could not afford me to do. Still, I wish I had told that little stupid man to go jump off a bridge. I wish I had told the partner, the night of the World Series, to also go jump off a bridge. Not a shred of humanity among them. No idea what they did to me. No idea what their stupid, selfish, narcissistic ways did to me and my loved ones. And they don’t care. Didn’t care then and wouldn’t care now.

But I care. I regret not just sitting down for Easter dinner with Michael that year and I regret not having spent that WS game with my family. I don’t have many regrets, but I regret letting assholes ruin moments of my life I can never recapture.

Be with the ones you love and the hell with the ones who don’t. And don’t worry about what anyone else thinks. As Dr. Suess said, “Those who matter don’t mind and those who mind don’t matter.”

Life is short. Loved ones, true loved ones are few. Spend your time on Earth wisely.

With love and gratitude to all my readers, supporters and friends, Happy Easter!