Why Elder Law? Why Do I Do What I Do?
Fifteen years ago today, one of the most precious people in my life passed away – my Nana, Elsie Gonzalez. I adored my grandmother and have so many wonderful memories of time spent with her. She was always around while I was growing up, and I remember going down to Miami to spend long weeks with her during the summertime.
I remember how proud she was of me when I sang in a competition for the first time and won first place. She always came to see me perform. She was there at all of my milestones, including graduation from high school and law school. And my grandfather, Anthony, was always by her side. He loved her so very much and took care of her, until the end.
My Nana was bedridden the last five years of her life. I watched my mother, an only child, and my grandfather, struggle to take care of her. I was in law school at the time and felt so helpless. But I watched as my grandfather did everything he could to make her comfortable and make sure she had everything she needed. He would blend her food in the blender because she could not swallow very well. He bathed her. He lifted her out of bed into her wheel chair. He dressed her. He did everything for her. And when he could not do it, my mother would step in and help. Mom worked a full-time job, but was always there for her parents, either before work, or after work, or sometimes she took off work to do what needed to be done.
They had “meals on wheels” to help them out. Medicare paid for some therapy, in the beginning. But, they had no idea what programs were available to help them. And, after watching my mother and grandfather struggle to help my grandmother, I decided that I wanted to be able to help those who were struggling with the same situations. It took me a couple of years after I graduated law school – but I finally did it. I went out on my own and focused on being the best Elder law attorney I could be.
My grandfather, “Poppop”, died in March of 2005. He never got to see me become a Board Certified Elder law attorney but I know that he and my Nana (and my other grandmother, “Anyu”) are looking down and are proud of what their granddaughter has become. I miss them all so very much. And, I thank God that I had them (and my parents) who helped me to do what I do.