I have been writing about being a criminal defendant, but today I am writing about being a daughter.
Probably the most vigilant supporter I have ever known for my whole life was my Mother. She knew my soul. She knew my essence. Good or bad, there was nothing that I could hide from her if I tried. At some point, I learned not to try anymore. She had unconditional love. You don't really understand that until you realize that she had the profound ability to separate what I did or didn't do from who I was. She could not like what I did, but she loved me always.
What a gift her love was!
When the criminal case came into my life, my Dad had just died a couple of years prior. Mom became an immediate resource for me and my kids to lean on and we did. There are so few people in life that you can be yourself with and they understand with no explanation. She was on that shortlist.
My parents had invested in the Fund that the Government referred to often as a “scheme”. I had invested in it too. The thought that I would have ever allowed my parents to invest in anything that I thought was a scheme was beyond comprehension. Someone at the Government should have realized what a huge red flag that was. People don't knowingly invest in schemes and advise their loved ones to do the same. Defies logic.
Because Mom was a Fund investor, my attorney asked her to testify at my trial. That is a terrible thing for a Mother to have to do. I never knew if she ever agonized over having to testify for me. It wouldn't be in her character to mention it. She would testify to the best of her ability.
I remember when she was on the witness stand, I was impressed with her lack of nervousness. She seemed strangely at home in the witness chair. My attorney asked the questions you would expect and she answered well and accurately. There was a pause in her answer one time and she announced that she had a “senior moment”. I remember the judge giving a very slight smile, as I think they were similar in age. Mom did and said everything on the witness stand to help save me by just being herself and telling the truth. I surmise that is why she appeared unexpectedly calm.
For roughly the last 5 years, Mom had dementia and I hate it for her and for my kids that didn't know her most of their lives the way that I did. My kids will have more sad memories that may tower over the lifelong memories I cherish. Dementia is cruel. People become less and less consistent with who they have always been and more and more like someone that you awkwardly have to get to know. I started missing her long before she died.
I saw her the day she died, but I wasn't with her when she slipped away. One day recently, she held on to my hand with both of her hands and pulled them close to her heart. I probably sat with her for about an hour holding hands and giving her my monologue as she was unresponsive. I took a picture of our joined hands because it was a way for me to remember this connection forever. Both of her worn hands wrapped around mine and pulled tightly to her heart. I didn't want to let go, but this was not about me. It was about her. Letting her go had to be the right thing. I knew it was what she wanted and that is really all that mattered.
My Mom didn't always understand my grit to support the criminal justice system after the case was over, but she never questioned me. She believed in me and that was always known to me for every day of my life.
My faith guided me throughout the case years ago and now, I lean on it again to affirm that Mom is still watching over me, just not on this earth and no longer in any pain.
I love you Mom and I am glad you are at peace.
MY SENTENCING ATTORNEY SUCCUMBS TO COVID
I am normally writing about my criminal prosecution from many years ago, but there have been a number of deaths recently and I want to recognize these individuals. It is a bit debilitating to reflect on key people in my life and the criminal case and that they are gone forever. Both my Aunt and Mother died in the last 8 months. They were so very close to me and I miss them. They kept me strong during challenging times because they remained steadfast in their values while I was tested right in front of them.
David died recently from COVID. Unexpectedly, David became part of my defense team for only the sentencing phase of my case. We didn't know each other well, but he was well qualified to handle the task.
I remember being in David's office a few times. One of the ways to know someone is to enter their environment and see how they surround themselves. David's office was filled with family photos and awards on the walls. I think he did what many attorneys had to do, protect their private life from the emotional roller coaster of the criminal justice system. Boundaries were clear. The family was first and even though I felt incredibly vulnerable for David's optimal sentencing strategy, I remember admiring that he knew what was most important.
David and I talked regularly to behave my way through the sentencing process. He had chimed in at some point to affirm what so many had told me, mine was such an unusual case.
David was in his mid-60's and healthy. He was vaccinated twice. I was told that he had a severe case of the COVID variant. I am told that one of his daughters was starting into law school in the last couple of weeks. Although I don't know David's daughter, my heart goes out to her to be beginning her endeavor into law just as her Dad passes.
What I do know is that we all have choices on how to spend our time. From the glimpse I was allowed, David spent his time doing what he loved and went home to people that he loved. That was remarkable.
I send peace to David's family and friends that he lived life well.