This spring my study partner from law school passed away from pancreatic cancer. After college, I worked for three years before starting law school. I got engaged in November of my first year. I lived at home with my parents and commuted to Boston for School. Everyone else seemed to be right out of college. They all had apartments downtown and were still going out on the weekends like I used to. I wasn’t much older than the other students, but I felt different. I was in a different place in my life.
Then I met Ellen. She was on her second career path and about the age of my parents. However, we were in a lot of classes together. We both liked to sit at the front of the room and we both had similar study and organizational habits. We laughed a lot and worked really hard. She pushed me to study harder and to think outside the box. She helped me take the complex legal arguments and put them into math equations that we could then apply to different fact scenarios. She was a math major and this was surprisingly helpful for studying for exams. Anyone can memorize a rule or law but applying it to different situations or fact patterns is high-level thinking.
She and her husband Jeff were at my wedding. We went to each other’s graduation parties and we did dinners with our spouses. After graduation, we each started our own law firms. We saw each other’s offices and talked about bookkeeping (again, her being a math major was helpful!), and we caught up on our families, children, and grandchildren. She was one of my biggest cheerleaders in everything I did, not just my law career. She had the most contagious smile and endless enthusiasm.
Unfortunately, life took over and a pandemic hit. I saw her less and less, and our lunches became few and far between. Then a friend of her’s reached out to let me know that she was sick. I texted her immediately, but she was at a point of not seeing anyone. That was last Thanksgiving.
My biggest regret was that I didn’t have more lunches with her, texted, or called more. Even after I heard from her at Thanksgiving, we didn’t exchange any more texts. I thought about her almost every day and included her in my prayers but it wasn’t enough. Her time was up this spring.
My point in sharing this is not to segway into getting your estate plan done, but to make sure you make the most out of your time with your loved ones. I wish I had sent cards or notes to her more often. I drafted letters to her in my head, but I never got to put it on paper. I wish I had made more of an effort to continue our lunch dates. I hope she knows how much she impacted my life for the better.
I also want to send a sincere thank you to all of our fabulous clients who have been patient and understanding with our office as we deal with grief and our own health struggles. You truly are why we love coming to work and doing what we do. Sending well wishes to all of you.
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