I have had a writers block these past few weeks, deciding who and what I would like to write about. The purpose of my starting this blog was to recognize the courage and fortitude of my clients, both past and present. I am reticent to name names, though, because of attorney-client privileges. However, I want to honor some of the people who have influenced me by their acts of grace, courage and kindness, not just clients. Some are just people whose paths have crossed mine in my life, others are clients. I am just going to list ten of those people that come to my mind tonight. This is not an all-encompassing list and I hope to have many more in the future. Here is tonight's top 10, in no particular order.
1. Anni Halle - my grandmother who has been dead since 1985. She had the fortitude to mobilize her family, my mother, grandfather and great-grandmother to flee Nazi Germany in 1938, days before Cristallnacht. If it weren't for her courage, I would never have existed. And, after she worked as a maid and then in a factory for most of her life, she went to school at the age of 63 to become a nurse. I wish I had told her that she was my hero before she died. I hope she knew.
2. Judge Frances Tydinngco-Gatewood - the presiding federal judge on the territory of Guam and my law school classmate and moot court partner, and friend. Frances is one of the kindest, most caring, most loving people I have ever met. I may not see her for 20 years, but when I see her again, her warmth and kindness still washes over me. I see photos of her and can't help but smile. Elevation to the federal bench has not changed her one whit. She is kind, caring and wonderful Frances.
3. My clients dealing with brain and uterine cancer. A tough pill for a devoted and loving married couple. I watch their love and devotion for each other and know that even with their dreadful diseases they are truly blessed by having each other. It has been such an honor representing them.
4. My brother - Bob Jaben. He is filled with good humor, and brotherly devilishness to his older sister. No matter what issue may arise, he is steady and strong.
5. My wonderful client whose sexual harassment case I tried years ago. She was abused and harassed by co-workers, and fought a very powerful union. The jury gave her $650,000, which the court of appeals took away. Through this experience, she and her husband have established a church and they are pastors. She is kind, gentle, and good-humored. She brings out the best in people.
6. Commissioner Molly Merrigan - I really don't know Commissioner Merrigan well. I was appointed to a very difficult juvenile case with heart-wrenching issues. The case caused me several sleepless nights. I don't feel comfortable talking about the specifics of the case. However, in a case that I thought could ruin many people's lives, Commissioner Merrigan in her kind, soft-spoken way came up with a creative solution that will probably save those kids.
7. My client involved in a horrendous accident resulting in catastrophic injuries. He was very young. He shows me how to live as normal of a life as possible with dignity. He is a kind and loving man, who can still live his life without anger and bitterness.
8. Barack Obama - I just think he is really, really cool. Enough said.
9. My client who is a nurse. As a result of the events of her case, the life she knew was destroyed, both personally and professionally. She is a leader and believes in principles. She is one of the most honorable people I have ever met. Even with all of the hardships, she bounces back and takes care of others, as good nurses do.
10. My husband. He is kind and loving. He acts with dignity during difficult times. He treats most everyone with respect. He is a good man.
That felt good. There are many, many more people whom I respect. I hope to write more articles about those people who have positively impacted me. Watch for them in the future.