Lawsuits, Forgiveness, and Moving On

Book update: I’m still sifting through the stories that were sent in. If you haven’t heard from me, don’t panic. I hope to have this all done after the Thanksgiving holiday. Thanks for your patience.


A week or so after Krista died I got a call from an attorney. The attorney wanted to know if Krista had taken any antidepressants or other medication before she killed herself.  I asked the attorney why she wanted to know that information and she started babbling on about how anti-depressants were linked to an increase in suicide and that she was represented people who were suing drug companies for damages.

I can’t remember what I said to her but I do remember hanging up the phone feeling upset that someone was trying to use Krista’s death for their own benefit.

About six months after Krista’s death I received a call from a friend informing me that the mental health councilor Krista had been seeing before she died has passed away from a drug overdose. Apparently he had a drug problem for years and finally succumbed to his addiction. After I got off the phone with my friend, I started wondering if the councilor’s addiction might have got in the way of helping Krista. Had he been under the influence during some of the counseling sessions? Had his addiction affected his judgment with Krista? Would she be alive if she had seen someone else? Questions flowed through my mind. And for the first time in my life, I thought about suing someone.

I did a free consultation with an attorney (who wanted to take the case) and a few others about moving forward with a lawsuit but eventually decided that it wasn't worth it. There were lots of reasons I decided not to move forward with it but the biggest reason was that I had finally reached a point in my life where I felt things were moving forward. I had just started dating again and I was able to go through most days without bursting into tears at some point. I knew that going down the lawsuit road would halt a lot of the progress I was making. For me, moving forward with my life was more important than assigning blame.

I tell this story because I’ll occasionally get an email from someone who’s dating a widower that’s suing someone over the death of his late wife. Sometimes it’s a hospital and doctors, or a drunk driver, or a cigarette manufacturer or drug company. Whoever they’re suing, the one commonality I see in all these emails is that the litigation makes it hard for the widower to start a new life. Instead they generally become focuses and/or obsessed with the legal case that it makes it difficult for them to move on and open their heart to someone else.

I’m not saying that all lawsuits are bad. There are times when I think lawsuits are justified and other times I roll my eyes that such a frivolous case even made it to court. Nor am I saying you shouldn't date widowers who are suing someone over the death of his late wife. All I’m asking is that you be aware of potential drawbacks when it comes to making you the center of his universe. Lawsuits have a funny way of consuming someone’s life until the matter is settled. And knowing how slowly things move through the US legal system, it could be years before the matter is resolved.

I have no regrets about not pursuing a lawsuit. Had I started legal proceedings, I doubt that my life would be where it is today had I followed that path. In my case it was better to forgive, forget, and start over.