Reflections on Lawyering, Life and Legacy

Several months have passed since my last “footnote” blog. I have not left the practice of law, having been busy with a number of cases and causes important to me.

Rather, the interruption of my posts was caused by several life and lawyering factors. The first quarter of 2019 found me practicing law out of my childhood bedroom, on the other side of the Rocky Mountains. My printer perched precariously on a narrow chest of drawers. Bankers boxes, hastily filled, contained the basics of my profession. I worried about whether the aging electrical wiring would handle the demands of today’s necessities. I became friendly with the staff of an Office Depot. I did my best to speak with clients in a community of unpredictable, fluctuating bar lines.

You see, I had the privilege of helping my father navigate the final few months of his life. He left the world in the home he loved. I returned to the bedroom desk that had launched my aspirations to lawyer and advocate decades earlier.

That experience was overwhelming, scary, wonderful and a blessing. Dad passed away just before my last birthday. The timing of his death cemented the poignant reality that I am nobody’s child. The status of orphan is a demographic I dreaded, fearing I lacked the maturity and resourcefulness to handle its connotations. Yet here I am. The dread has turned to a heaviness of heart, but a heart that is strengthened by pain and love.

The impact of my father’s illness and death is still unfolding. As it unfolds, there are many connections to the law. I will be exploring some of these connections in my footnotes; they are all being explored in my mind.

In 2019, “the law” was not only something I “did” when time permitted, between trips to the radiation oncologist, Dairy Queen and naps. The law also proved to be a system that touched upon many aspects of my father’s life and death. For example, I appreciate the estate attorneys who took the time to meet with my father and frame his final wishes. I am grateful for the “forensic” geologist who helps me understand old geologic charts and deeds. I learned more about our state’s “Death with Dignity” law and its impractical impediments to giving the terminally ill the power to control their death. I hope that when I finish the paperwork for my Dad’s estate and catch up with all the administrative tasks that were “on hold” this year, that I will remember all of these encounters.

I am back now to my Boulder law office. I appreciate the clients who were patient when I needed more time to complete their tasks. I have a better understanding of the how the law intersects with the comings and goings of every life—-and has the potential to make it an easier transition.

Thank you, more importantly, Bill Bush, for always giving me a desk to dream from; delighting in my ambitions; listening to my stresses and losses; paying my law school tuition; going with me to the Supreme Court of the United States when he was in his late 80s; and leaving me a legacy of love and laughter.

Mari Bush