My Dad sometimes forgets my name now. He usually remembers who I am when
he sees me, but I can see that he's often searching to recall my name.
Then, like catching a thread, he'll remember that the last time he
played tennis, he played against me, and he lost. As a testament to how
athletic my father was, the last time he played was actually the only
time I ever beat my Dad in tennis and he was in his late 70s.
I would like to think that by staying active, I can prolong the inevitable
effects of time on my mind and body. From my family history, it appears
that dementia, cognitive disorder, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's
disease are lurking on my distant horizon. My grandfather worked as a
lawyer for over 50 years and was of sound mind when he died of a stroke.
When I was a teen, we took care of my grandmother who was physically healthy
but was quickly mentally gone with Alzheimer's disease. Their child,
my father, retired over 20 years ago yet stayed fairly active. In the
last 5 years, however, he has declined mentally, similar to his mother.
My brother, whose life was nearly cut short in a severe accident a few
years ago, has a lawyer who is in his mid-90s and has been practicing
law for over 70 years. This man told me a story about when he had cancer,
which was operable, and he had retired at the same time because he was
in his late 70s. The doctor said he could not work for at least six months.
The old lawyer told me that during the six months he could feel his brain
deteriorating every single day. As soon as he was medically released,
he came out of retirement and went back to work because he said it's
what he enjoys doing; it's what he does. As I spent an hour with my
brother's attorney, I learned a lot - or I just heard a lot of what
I already knew.
It is my long-term goal to be a long-practicing elder attorney that has
the power to mentor younger lawyers as I have been mentored. My daily
goals are to enjoy my law practice and practice in a manner that makes
my attorney grandfather and my father proud. My lifetime goals include
remaining physically and mentally healthy enough to enjoy and remember
the times I have with my son as long as I can.