As we begin the year, I write my final newsletter on Barriers to Settlement on the fear of regrets. Often times, the parties or their lawyers refuse to accept that “Last, best and final offer” because they think they will regret making the deal and not having the time and energy to take one more deposition, find the “truth”, the “smoking gun” or exact a little more pain and discomfort towards the other side. Most often, I hear them express their regrets that they refused to settle within days, weeks or months. The time to reach an agreement is during the mediation hearing. It is so much harder to achieve agreement on all of the terms once the parties disband. I suggest a time out, but in present time, not waiting until the next day, the next week or the next hearing to decide if the proposal for settlement is going to be acceptable.
On a very personal note, my mother, Bette Frankel, passed away last Friday morning at age 89. She lived her life without regret. This month, she planned a happy cruise vacation for my husband and me (as our travel agent) and waited until we returned to hear every detail. The day before she lost consciousness, she told my father where all of the Chanukah gifts were for her 9 grandchildren and 8 great-grandchildren and she told my brother and me that she loved us and knew we loved her, too. Within a couple of weeks of her demise, (which was entirely unexpected), she reached out to nieces and nephews all over the country by phone or email and even to a former AFS student in Switzerland, just to say “hello” and tell them that she loved them, too. She was meticulous about maintaining contact with people she loved and equally open-minded to making new friends and embracing new family members with a full heart and with no reservations. She kissed my father that last day with the same love that she had kissed him every day for their 71 years together. She believed in the power of love and kindness to make this world a better place, and she accomplished that and more every day.
As 2017 begins, I wish each of you a healthy, rich and fulfilling New Year with no regrets. Making peace by accepting that which cannot be changed and having the courage to reach out and change that which can will make each of our lives richer. Tell the people you care about that you love them and make an effort to keep in touch and make new friends every day. Embrace the day and approach life without reason for regrets. Trust me, it’s the formula to a life worth living and well-lived, too.
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