Many of you know that my father passed away a year ago last October, and that he was my law partner from 1994 until his retirement in 2015. In his last couple of years in practice he began to slow down cognitively a bit, which frustrated him (and occasionally the rest of us!) greatly. We received a great blessing this week when a former client of Dad's called, wanting us to prepare a document involving property in a probate matter Dad handled 10 years ago. None of us were involved in that case, and what the client was asking for didn't make sense from a probate perspective. We retrieved the file from offsite storage and when I opened it, right on top was a complete, concise and cogent handwritten note from my father, along with some printed emails, explaining precisely what the client had wanted (the same thing) years years earlier and why it wasn't legally possible to do that thing that way. As I read Dad's notes aloud to our staff, we got to remember back before the cognitive deterioration and hear Dad speak in his brilliant, confident way, missing nothing and summing up both the problem and its solution beautifully. What a blessing.
During this holiday season, take time to remember the people whose places at your table are empty. But remember them as they were in their best days, before they were bent by age or circumstances. Tell your favorite stories of those people, the ones that still make you laugh or shine with pride in the retelling. And do yourself a favor: listen to "Family Tree" by Dave Barnes this Christmas.
Thanks for the note, Dad. Love you.