I have been dealing with many serious issues of late. I am not talking about my work life or social life (although these two areas have been affected). I am speaking out about what can occur in life that is beyond the routine.
At present, I am currently involved in four lawsuits. Yes, four. The first two were weird enough. It is a rare thing to have to retain a lawyer (it was for me, anyway). I am a law-abiding citizen and a strident rule-follower. I stop for a count of three at every stop sign and I do not lie, cheat or steal. I report all required information on my taxes.
I was in a severe car accident over two years ago. Needless to say, due to this accident, I have needed to hire two lawyers-one for property damage to the car and one for personal injury. After over two years, not one dime has been paid out for the car or the physical damages. I have never in my life been in such debt.
The accident brought out in full force emotional setbacks (it set off a tireless and steady stream of PTSD symptoms), physical set-backs (nerve damage, concussion, back and neck) and financial. Needless to say, I had an enormously difficult and uphill battle for the first two years tending to these aspects, never mind the daily physical and occupational therapy I still currently need to do. It has required over two years for me to comprehend fully that "fairness" and "justice" are two separate entities.
In the middle of my attention to these two lawsuits (about a year and seven months into the fallout from the car accident), a very dear friend committed suicide. That process of acceptance was its own difficulty... and then within two months I volunteered to be the administrator c.t.a. (another name for Executor) of her estate. I also signed on to be the Power of Attorney for her husband who is 81 years old and in a rehab/nursing facility. Okay, a lot to take on (I have never done this sort of thing before); but, as nobody else was stepping forward to handle the affairs of the estate, and the husband was flailing, I decided that even though I am not rocket-scientist, I am organized, diligent and conscientious.
There are now two more lawsuits regarding the estate. That is why I am now in the bizarre world of four lawsuits simultaneously.
The entirety of my reasoning for taking on the responsibility of my friend's affairs as well as her husbands was for me to honor my friend. I wanted to do right by her. Even in death, my friendship mantra of "I have your back" did not leave me. I do not regret my decisions.
Oddly, the initial two lawsuits informed me well for the next two. By the time the second two lawsuits came calling, I was in awareness of the concept of "fairness" as well as judicial procedure.
I am currently dealing with two lawsuits coming to head at the same time. Over the last 24 hours, I have needed to make some very big decisions regarding matters of law, strategy, and what I will and will not accept for settlement purposes. I also have a meeting tomorrow morning regarding the declining health of the husband. THAT puts perspective on many issues I am facing (particularly the "bullying" and standing up for what is right.) Life is too short and precious to deal with all the legal bits and pieces constantly being thrown about. I have needed to keep perspective, and this has been a challenge.
I am a bit surprised with myself. I have been in a continual learning curve of keeping emotional balance with the business/legal aspects. I have known that I can not logically be attached to the outcome of any of these lawsuits. I can do my best, cross the t's and dot the i's, but this is only part of the picture. Once I have completed my due diligence, I needed to release my hold on the outcome. Easier said than done. Allowing another to be in control is very hard for me. Even if the person in control is a lawyer.
I have struggled with this concept for over two years. Too much injustice. Too many people in positions of "authority and power" due to their wealth and ability to have their lawyers do the work for them. I have been threatened and lied to. There is so much documentation to provide and all of it necessary to be accurate and up-to-date. Lawyers are looking to me to settle, and I have decided to say, no, thank you. I contemplated it, and was even ready to do so; now that push has come to shove, frankly, I do not want to be shoved. I may be one small person in this world, but I am a person who is no longer willing to settle-for second or third or fourth best, just to put an end to my worry and concern. I know now I can handle the outcome.
The point of me sharing all this comes down to the concept of worry versus decisions. I have chosen to make decisions based on my own integrity. I spent one day of this weekend in quiet as I had to decide to "put up or shut up" in both of these cases. I decided to put up and stand tall. I refuse to be intimidated by big shot lawyers on the other side of the lawsuits.
The biggest lesson I will carry into the weeks ahead as I participate at trial is that win or lose, I have done my absolute best, and then some. I will speak the truth for myself as well as my friend who can no longer speak for herself. Settling for less than who I am is no longer who I am. In the end, my integrity not to sell out on myself or my friend trumps all the threats. What matters is that two years from now, I will know I stood up for wrongs committed and did not back down. I did not settle for less than my own integrity.
This is still only the beginning, and I know that. I made the decision to stand up for myself a few months ago; now that it is staring me in the face, I needed a mini-time out to check-in with myself. The good news for me, anyway, is that I have held to my initial decisions, and I have asked friends to support me as I move forward so I do not lose my balance.
Just by simply making the decision to move forward full-on, I have abated the worry factor about all the "what ifs." Such "what ifs" no longer constitute how I chose to move forward on these lawsuits. I can not control the "what ifs"; I can only control my response. I have weighed the facts and come out with an informed decision. I chose to respond, rather than react, to the outcomes. The "what ifs" will always be there; whether or not I allow them to rule my decisions is something else altogether. What matters to me is how I will feel several years from now about my decisions. Selling out is not going to sit well, that much I know for sure.
Published On: April 28, 2008