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The Cost of the Call (Part One):
Reflections in Conjunction with the 5th Anniversary of the Wendland Victory


“Call” is defined as:

1. To order or request to undertake a particular activity or work; summon. He was called to the priesthood.
2. A claim on a person’s time or life: the call of duty.
3. A strong inner urge or prompting; a vocation: a call to the priesthood.

Among the various definitions I have found for “calling” are:

1. An inner urge or a strong impulse, especially one believed to be divinely inspired to accept the Gospels as truth and Jesus as one’s personal savior.
2. An occupation, profession, or career.
3. The particular occupation for which you are trained.
4. A profession, or as we usually say, a vocation (1 Cor. 7:20). The “hope of your calling” in Ephesians 4:4 is the hope resulting from your being called into the kingdom of God.

People ask me (I may have mentioned this before) if and when I am going to write a book detailing my recollections, advice, and feelings about the six years I spent litigating Conservatorship of Wendland. I have no plans for a book . . . just this blog. To write a book, I would have to focus all my energy on that endeavor to the exclusion of other activities, which would be impossible. It would require an intense emotional and psychological commitment. I would have to really “hunker down” and relive the events that took place in a concentrated, intentional manner over a specific time interval. I’m not ready to do that and don’t know that I ever will be. Blogging allows me to comment about bits and pieces, here and there.

The cost was too high.

You don’t usually hear lawyers say things like that, do you? Especially the lawyer who wins the case.

But it’s true.

I graduated from McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento in 1993 and immediately began practicing law in Stockton with a small firm, handling a wide variety of cases. In the summer of 1995, the managing partner called me into his office about 6:30 p.m. one evening, handed me two file boxes and a videotape, and said, “Here’s your new case.” He informed me that he had that day obtained a temporary restraining order preventing Rose Wendland from directing that Robert’s feeding tube be removed, pending further proceedings. The boxes contained mostly medical records, the pleadings he had filed that day, and the scant research one of the summer law clerks had hastily performed.

I decided to head home and watch the videotape there. My husband came into the living room just as I was popping the tape into the vcr. “What are you going to watch?” he asked. “My new case,” I said. “Want to check it out with me?”

Neither of us was prepared for the images that tape contained of Robert Wendland working with his therapist at Lodi Memorial Hospital.

Neither could we have known that I would be consumed by the case — for the next six years. And we certainly couldn’t have guessed the toll it would take on everyone involved.

What I didn’t know on that summer evening — and only came to realize gradually over the next few years — was that everything in my life had deliberately led up to that evening. Slowly, I began to comprehend the concept of a “call” or “calling,” realized that I had discovered one of mine, learned much more about the way the Holy Spirit works, and was eventually forced to accept that you can’t escape your destiny, no matter how hard you try or how high the cost.

Click here to read Part Two.

I’ve been gushing on and on about James Gandolfini. I even said he was the greatest actor ever in the history of television.

I admit that I should have qualified my assessment. Gandolfini is the greatest actor ever in the history of primetime television.

Daytime television? Different story.

The greatest actor in the history of daytime television is none other than my very dear friend, Clint Ritchie. ((Clint is retired, so I no longer get to watch his handsome mug on my television screen on a regular basis which explains my “senior moment”.))

Things just haven’t been the same since Clint decided, in December 1998, not to renew his contract with ABC and left the role of Clint Buchanan that he created on “One Life to Live” back on September 10, 1979.

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The folks in Hollywood often don’t get it right.

But this year they did. They got it absolutely, perfectly right earlier this evening when they gave the Best Picture Oscar to “Crash.” Bravo!

If you haven’t seen it, run — don’t walk — to your local video store or sign on to Netflix and put it at the top of your queue.

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It has been four (4) months since my mother, Ethel, died. She left this world on October 13, 2005, but she left her family long before that.

She left us very slowly, very gradually, literally inching further and further away until she finally retreated into a little corner of her own mind, her own universe, where we could no longer connect with her.

And then I did something I never thought I could ever find myself doing: I wished that she would die.

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Bob and Mary Schindler spoke at Life Legal Defense Foundation’s (“LLDF”) annual dinner on November 12, 2005, in Berkeley. It was my privilege to finally meet them face to face, and have a little time to visit with them.

The first thing that struck me about the Schindlers is that they appeared to be utterly exhausted — physically, mentally, emotionally. Since Terri’s death last March, they have been traveling around the country speaking about the case, her death, and doing their best to educate families about the dangers they could face if a loved one becomes incapacitated. As I looked into their eyes and listened to them speak, it seemed incomprehensible to me that either of them could even get out of bed in the morning and concluded that they must be carrying on through a combination of sheer iron will and a deeply-held faith.

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I extend my thanks to all of you who have expressed such kind thoughts and remembrances in the past couple of weeks. I appreciate your reaching out more than I can describe and will write more later about “the long good-bye,” as Nancy Reagan aptly termed it, we said to my mother over a period of several years.

In tribute to her, I share here the eulogy that was read at the celebration of her life, a worship in memoriam, on October 19, 2005:

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Bob and Mary Schindler will be the featured speakers at the annuel fund-raising dinner for Life Legal Defense Foundation (LLDF), based in Napa, on November 12, 2005.

I urge you to take advantage of this opportunity to meet the Schindlers and hear them tell the story of their battle to save their daughter’s life, as well as the horrifying manner in which she spent her last days on earth.

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Yes, it’s true. For now, the operative term is “status quo.”

My church lacked the guts to take a brave stand in favor of civil rights. Gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and members of the transgender community will continue to be welcomed at church but denied the right to have their unions blessed in the sanctuary or become ordained pastors unless they vow to live in a state of celibacy.

What a disappointment.

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I’ve changed the name of this blog. I couldn’t come up with anything clever or witty. So, for now, I’ll just call it “Colloquium” which fits because this is a place for discussion.

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