I am not sure if you knew that Astrid, my assistant for eleven years was, my mother.
She fell walking the dogs early on March 9. (She was up at 4 am and walking at 5 am always). Upon return she had a black eye, but she told me how many fingers I held up- she told me her name, our address, the date, and other facts. She refused to go to the doctor when I insisted. This was her life policy. She believed in eating broccoli and staying out of the doctor’s office even though I had insurance for her.
Later in the morning she began to speak nonsense and I called 911. A CT scan revealed extensive bleeding on the left side of the brain. She had emergency brain surgery and the next day the neurologist told Anouk, my sixteen year old, and I that if she lived, she would have to breath and eat through a tube, would have no sight, memory or speech and have paralysis on the right side.
Her brother, sister in law, my cousins and my children and I decided on Saturday that mom would hate such a life. On Monday March 12 we withdrew life support. Mom breathed on her own for 25 hours, nine of which I was at her bedside. She died at 12:55 on March 13.
The last nine days have been a blur with a flurry of calls from the nurses, doctors, hospital, coroner (because the death was an accident), crematorium and church – and of course her nephews, sister-in law and brother.
She leaves two major holes in my life. We walked dogs daily. We ate together nightly by candlelight and we were friends and housemates. She was also my assistant.
Her position at the office is being replaced by Tyece Shaw, a paralegal who worked for me for several years around 2007-2009 – she left at the time for marriage and child care reasons. She starts tomorrow.
Mom’s position in my life is irreplaceable.
I have remained working and attended court hearings. Two difficult hearings I have continued. My mom would have said, Tristan, you must carry on. In fact I hear her say that. In love and respect.
Earl Spencer made a speech at Diana’s funeral which I have adjusted a little here, but it seems appropriate: I would like to end by thanking God for the small mercies He has shown us at this dreadful time. For taking Astrid at her most beautiful and radiant and when she had joy in her private life. Above all we give thanks for the life of a woman I am so proud to be able to call my mother, the unique, the complex, the extraordinary and irreplaceable Astrid whose beauty, both internal and external, will never be extinguished from our minds.
She shall be cremated this week. A service at her church, St. Patricks Episcopal in Thousand Oaks (near the library) will be held on April 14 at 10 AM. The church is apparently so full until then because of Easter and holy week. It is a public funeral. If you wish to pay your respects, please be a guest. t
FAMILY COURTS IN VENTURA COUNTY
The Hall of Justice in Ventura has five family law departments, Departments 31, 32, 33, 34 and 35. The East County Courthouse in Simi Valley no longer provides court services and Department S2 has relocated to Department 35. The Hall of Justice hears all family law cases except for adoptions, guardianships (probate) and juvenile (dependency) cases which are heard in Departments J1, J2 and J5 in the Juvenile Courthouse on Vineyard Avenue in Oxnard.
We help clients in family law cases. Completing a family law case can be complex and expensive if the case is contested. This is particularly true of custody disputes and complex property issues. In contentious or indecisive custody battles, if mediation alone is insufficient, the courts could refer the case to psychologists for a custody evaluation (MMPI and Rorschach tests are common). Attorneys also avidly seek help from forensic accountants, actuaries, appraisers and therapists. It is possible to use private mediation for custody cases, and to conduct trials out of the courtroom. 'ADR' or alternative dispute resolution has a strong following, and many good retired judges make themselves available. Cases should be worked out with care and attention. Settlement discussions may take as much work as preparing for a court hearing, but a party to a settlement is in more control of the outcome.
Options to Litigation
This, philosophically, is a strong argument in favor of working out disputes. What value can be placed on swift resolution as opposed to being embroiled in a family law matter for a year, even two, or more? Ventura County continues to provide a facilitator who assists self-represented individuals and also has a referral program assisting litigants searching for a lawyer through the local bar association (Ventura County Bar Association LRIS) and may be reached at (805) 650-7599. Hopefully this site will provide some understanding to the different aspects of family law when many are fraught with complexity - you only have to read the cases to see that. Family law is seldom simple but it is creative and the law does help build families and structure.