Monday, September 12, 2016

A moment of silence and laughter for Tim Lahrman

A moment of silence and laughter for Tim Lahrman

Dear Friends of Tim:
It is with deep sadness that I must let you know our brilliant friend Tim Lahrman has apparently passed away, after he suffered a major heart attack Thursday night and has now been confirmed to be with no brain activity and on machines to breath and pump his heart. Tim had a heart attack on August 5, 2016 and went to the hospital but did not tell anyone including Cindy, because he did not want to worry her. He did not tell me either and during the past year, we had become like best friends. He taught me so much about the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990 and we formed the Foundation for Elder Justice with the slogan ADA in Action! Thursday, I sent him the logo and we both tweaked it. Cases began to come in and we were singing contracts to help people in Missouri, Florida and North Carolina.
The light bulb finally went off in my head and I understood the simplicity of the ADA and the message he tried to convey to me for a year, that I could not grasp because I am no Einstein like Tim. I am blessed to have known a true genius who said to me on his last day coherent, “Candice, I am just an instrument.” In March, when he was arrested on trumped up 17 year old charges that were illegal and past any semblance of a statute of limitations 15 years ago, notwithstanding the US Supreme Court ruled the Sheriff could not hold Tim those 73 days because he was a ward of the State of Indiana 30 years and the State could not have it both ways, he laughed and told me he thought it was hilarious because he heard cha ching $10,000 a day for false imprisonment. I said “I cannot believe you can laugh in jail” and he even laughed as he fired his court appointed lawyer and wrote his own habeas corpus, making the Judge eat crow and rule he was right all along.
He asked me many months ago to be his attorney and help him sue the State of Indiana for $12,000,000 because his wish was that Cindy always be taken care of when he was gone. He told me “Candice, I am so full of joy that it has finally come the time for this because I am 59 and there’s not much time left.” I guess he knew since he had the heart attack it would not be long. I wish he would have told someone so he could have seen a Cardiologist and maybe taken preventative measures. Thursday night, he was supposed to appear on Andy Ostrowski’s Justice Served and talk about our Foundation we planned together and our vision. The vision Tim had is growing rapidly as all of his wonderful friends who were waiting on Tim to help them in their case call me and we decide to pull together and carry his vision forward. He said it was oppressively hot and his asthma was bad, but he was going into cardiac arrest.
Cindy cried as she gave him CPR desperate to save his life, but the hospital determined he was dead 10 minutes. Most of you know it’s over after that, but we kept thinking he would sit up and go “Let’s get out of here.” I was supposed to go to Indiana in October and have steaks on the lake with Cindy as we planned our campaign going forward. He sent me that and I share that with you and ask you to join me and make his dream come true. Thursday night, they froze his body to prevent brain damage and yesterday began to heat it back up slowly to 95 degrees, which Cynthia Stephens told me is actually a life saving and capacity saving blessing for him.
Doctors said as they warmed him, he could go into cardiac arrest again, though his heart rate was only 30 bpm until Cindy came and spoke with him and prayed, it spiked to 80 momentarily. Today, the slowly removed the sedation though they were already certain it was too late because he did not begin breathing even 1%. He began to suffer seizures, requiring that he be resedated into a coma. It’s not possible to bring him back and his lungs and heart are being kept alive on machines. I suppose the blessing for him is that Indiana could not make him incapacitated and he was never incapacitated, but an absolute genius. He kind of looked like Einstein and I would have asked him if he had a haircut this decade if I had met him. As this happened, I had the idea
It’s a book but not about me. It’s about an “incapacitated “ (tongue in cheek) genius saving all of us intellectuals and making a MOCKERY OF THE COURT by having the last laugh proving them all wrong. And in fact, that is exactly what I believe is happening. ! It’s bizarre and he will be the “Erin brokovich” of the ADA because while he was “incapacitated”, he sat in his basement studying the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 to master it and come up with a brilliant plan to end the captivity of people suffering in guardianship for good.
He understood long ago the power of the ADA and now, we will see it come to pass. I have enough drafts he made to finish the work he began for clients who asked for our help in just the past weeks. The first lawsuit will be filed in Houston, Texas before month’s end. As I thought of this book, I thought of the scripture, “God uses the foolish things of the World to confound those thinking themselves wise.” And so the Book will be entitled “A mockery of the Court” because that is what Tim did best. I have a vision in my head of just how big this is going to be and trust me, you will sit stunned as you see it too. Cindy Damron was by his side for 24 years as he roughed it out without much money working to free other people from guardianship as a paralegal.
Just this week, two very senior attorneys with decades more experience than me joined me and saw the vision Tim had and their expertise is probate, guardianship, ADA, and Civil Rights Litigation under Section 1983. We also were blessed to have a man who is a former corporate executive who retired to join the cause and end this travesty / cancer killing our elderly and disabled in what Congress deemed a National Disgrace 30 years ago. It’s still a National Disgrace and more so. We will begin in Texas and the saying goes, “So goes Texas, so goes the Nation.” I’m not sure why, but that’s kind of what I think. Florida, Nevada, California, Missouri, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and many others come next. God will make a way to help us in our journey forward because it’s just time.
About a week ago, Tim wrote the Fundraising Crowd Presentation he envisioned and it is based upon the Freedom Riders of the 1960’s, something he had to explain to me having not been born! lol. Here is what he wrote:
Stop the discrimination now because not one of us will ever escape growing old
The Foundation for Elder Justice is a non-profit civil rights advocacy organization seeking tax exempt status to go past awareness into Action and our slogan is ADA in action! We need the public’s support, please.
Our mission is to protect, preserve and advance every person’s civil and human right to ‘personal autonomy’ and self determination as they age and become vulnerable due to disability and incapacity. One need not be old to be stricken by disability or incapacity but as our aging baby-boomer population grows even older, the elderly and disabled are particularly vulnerable and many a parent and family across the country are being victimized by a state run system which in 1987 the U.S. Congress declared to be “A National Disgrace”1.
In both growing numbers and frequency across the country, news reports, victims’ stories, and shocking details are emerging about these issues of significant pubic importance. Sadly, for many in America growing old and/or being disabled is or has been an absolutely terrifying event. You can read the stories for yourself – but know in advance that a common theme in most every one of these stories is that lives and families are being torn apart and devastated, left in ruin — family members are being forcibly separated and isolated from one and other while family fortunes and peoples’ entire retirement and life’s savings are being preyed upon, completely liquidated and consumed by courts and complete strangers under the gyves of “guarding” and “conserving”. Know too before you read – often times death is visiting these families while they struggle desperately to find justice for their elderly and disabled loved ones.
In the 1960’s it took a few brave and daring souls to make a difference, to go where no man or woman, no black man or black woman anyhow, dared to go. A group of brave and daring souls boarded a caravan of buses and they began their “Freedom Ride” across the segregated south. The story, the events and the results made history, and moved the masses to recognize the human dignity of every human being whether black or white. The issue of systemic discrimination had made its way into the public discussion and into living rooms across America, and as a nation we were forced to face an ugly truth. Bigotry is real.
In 1990 the United States Congress passed the Americans’ With Disabilities Act (“ADA”). Hailed as “the emancipation proclamation for disabled Americans”, the ADA was passed to remedy what Congress found to be Jim Crow laws for the disabled, who were considered not worthy of protection or even quality of life. In 2004 the United States Supreme Court affirmed the authority of Congress to strip state and local government of their immunity from liability for violating our nation’s anti-discrimination public policy. There is an emerging trend of state and local governments, even several state court judges, who are in fact having to answer for violating these federal laws – a movement to challenge the status quo and decades of disability discrimination is underway.
I ask you to join us on our Freedom Ride as we sweep the Nation with ADA lawsuits and take back our liberty, happiness and justice and go boldly where everyone but us has gone before.
-Tim Lahrman, 2016
As I think of the year of friendship and especially the past three weeks, I learned what Tim looked like, something I was always curious of and I thought what an odd couple of mutt and jeff we would have been – Einstein and Legally Blonde. But, this past week Tim finished the work on several cases we are working together. I only wish he had made it until October or November, when I thought maybe I could sue Indiana for Tim and begin the process of restoring what had been taken from him for more than 1/2 his life.
Job was restored in the Bible twice what he lost and he lost everything as Tim did. Heartbreaking is the fact that Tim lost his children 15 years ago to his ex-wife, something that he secretly mourned. His guardian abandoned him 15 years ago and he sued him but the Court held he lacked the capacity to maintain the lawsuit—knowing if they let it go forward, the Judge / Guardian was toast. Imagine the catch 22 he was in, yet strangely when I asked if he wanted me to restore him officially, he said no. Tim was happy whether in jail, or in guardianship. It really didn’t matter to him because he was confident he was anything but incapacitated.
As he praised God for his dream finally coming true on Thursday, and I told him, this is going to explode like wildfire, he sent me a Billy Joel Song, “We didn’t start the fire”.
We didn’t start the fire, it was always burning as the World was turning! Incidentally, Einstein and the Mafia are mentioned in the song. I have no idea what the song means, but he did.
He leaves behind his beloved Cindy, who is the sweetest little thing I think I ever imagined. She loves him so deeply—every last aspect of Tim, even his feet, who most agree should have socks on! LOL! I attach pictures of the two so that you see the little 4’9” sweetheart who stood by his 6’1” side going fishing and sitting by the lake having steaks for 24 years.
In October, I was going to have a steak with them and stare at the stars. Then we were going to Florida and he was coming to Texas. Wednesday I asked him how he was always so happy and he just told me he enjoyed every last simple thing in life and tried to savor every moment. He didn’t seem angry or bitter and I believe he forgave each and every person who ever harmed him. He liked to argue and made a lot of people mad, but I hope you know that it wasn’t malicious. He had a mischievous streak and liked to stir the “POT.” For those of you that know what happened in March, you will get the joke in that. If not, I have to leave you with something that I absolutely KNOW TIM WOULD WANT. He would never want anyone to cry. He would want you to laugh and he will get the last laugh if I have much to say about it.
Tim lived a good life and did not drink. He was not by any means excessive, but he liked to smoke pot and made no secret of it. Maybe it allowed him to tolerate the difficult 30 years he endured and have a positive outlook on life, really wanting for nothing. It certainly did not dull his mind. Because I know he would want you rolling in laughter, which is not the appropriate response, but neither was laughing as they put him in solitary confinement for firing his lawyer and writing his own briefs.
I posted a picture of a marijuana leaf in an email to him at the time that said “Weed miss you” so I leave you with a request that you laugh and celebrate Tim’s goodness and that he was never incapacitated and now he is free and doesn’t need anything to experience joy. Please know that this was my idea to ensure you leave with peace. I have a weird sense of humor, like Tim. Ok, get ready for this…the first is a command related to our civil rights movement.. If you aren’t prepared to giggle, you might want to stop here and just say a prayer. For the record, I do not personally indulge, I simply don’t judge others as I have known friends with devastating chronic pain who have benefitted medically and feel “to each his own.” Everything in moderation. Whether you loved Tim, knew him only in reputation, or he drove you crazy, he left a mark.
For those of you who never met Cindy and Tim, here they are. If you can donate to the Foundation for Elder Justice to help with Tim’s burial costs and Cindy’s ability to pay basic costs of living until adjustments can be made for her welfare. I am establishing a GOFUNDME so find me on Facebook and please give now. Funeral costs are now.

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