I have practiced law for many years. In that time, I have kept in touch with some former clients,and lost track of others. I have lost track of most opposing parties and witnesses. However, many of the people I meet stay with me. This past week, I found out one of my past clients died. I miss him already. This man was a kind and gentle soul. He was a nurse and he cared about others. He fought for the rights of himself and others. He made a good life for himself and traveled with his spouse up until the end. I looked through the wonderful photos of his life, his garden with his flowers, his basketball games and his trips to Hawaii, and I can't believe he is gone. I miss the thought of his joy.
The first client I remembering dying was a vital, sweet mother of two. She had been sexually harassed and she found the courage to fight, and she found she won the fight. My dear client was ecstatic. She had money to raise her two young boys. One of her first purchases with her newly acquired cash was a brand new car. She felt she had a fresh start and the world was a different place. One day, before work, she went to visit her mother. On the way to work, after the visit, her car careened off the road and she died. Those little boys were motherless. Since they had different fathers, the two boys never lived as brothers again. I expect, The boys would be grown by now.
Another client, a dear older man, died last year. He died of old age. We represented him when he stepped into a hidden hole and broke his ankle, ending the couples' dancing classes and recitals. They were married many years and loved to play penny slots at the casinos, grow their own vegetables, and play with their grandchildren. While I was saddened by his death, I know he lived a good life and brought joy to many others.
There is one more man I remember. He died by his own hand a decade or more ago. He had a wife and children, too. This man was not my client, but the manager of a restaurant I had sued for sexual harassment. This man did not engage in the sexual assaults. In fact, he was unaware of the assaults until after they occurred. I took this man's deposition. I do not recall treating him unkindly. I do not recall that he appeared to be disturbed, angry or mentally ill. Just a few weeks after I took his deposition, this man ended his life. I am sure he must have been troubled. I believe that I did not cause his death. However, the opposing counsel told me this man was upset because of the litigation. I suppose I have a little fear that something I said might have contributed to his unwise decision to die.
I remember all four of these people, but in different ways. I mourn my most recent client. It pains me to think that he is gone. We all end, but I want my memories of him to remain. All four of these deaths have profoundly affected me. I do not want to forget any of them. Dead people live, in a way, if they are remembered. I have no way to tie what I write here into a neat bow. They all lived, and
died, in different ways. We will all live and die. We want our lives, before the end, to have meaning. I want my life to be meaningful before I go. I suppose all of us do.