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Mediation, The Sensible Approach

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Culling Down To The Essentials

Culling Down To The Essentials by Ada Hasloecher{3:36 minutes to read}  Recently a very, very close friend of our family passed away. She was my mother’s oldest and dearest friend. She was family. Her health had been deteriorating of late, but her death came as quite a shock to those of us who knew and loved her.

We all called her “Darling,” because that’s what she called everyone, AND she looked like Ava and Zsa Zsa Gabor and Ivana Trump all rolled into one. She was full of life, high spirits and always great humor despite a terrible car accident thirty years ago that almost claimed her life. She was quite a dame!

My sister Judith, who lives in Seattle and couldn’t come to her funeral, wrote a beautiful letter of condolence to Darling’s daughter, and she recalled a special memory she had of Darling which I share in part here:

Your family was visiting us in Rockland. Maybe I was 8 or 9. I came upon your Mom in the upstairs bathroom fixing her make-up with the door open. I just stood there taking her in with great fascination—her thick false eyelashes, her tall blond hair, the cloud of her perfume. But the thing I will never forget was watching her put on three different shades of lipstick, one on top of the next.  “Why do you do that?” I asked. “I like the color it makes” she replied.

I often wear more than one lipstick color at a time and I attribute doing so to Darling.

It is a vivid memory of a colorful woman.

Up until the end, Darling was always dressed to the nines, hair and makeup impeccable, her best jewelry in full display. Her daughter would tell us that one of her mother’s admonitions about their bleached blond hair was: “Never let them see your roots.” She was unabashed and a true original. We adored her!

So what does this all have to do with mediation, you ask? When I read my sister’s recollection of Darling applying her lipsticks—the innocent, direct questioning of her routine by a young child—and Darling’s response, it immediately brought to mind that THIS is what we’re up to in mediation: Getting to the essentials of what people want and what they need, no matter how simple or unimportant it may seem to someone else.

We eventually get to the bottom line—culling, culling, culling to get to that which is essential. It may take some time to get there and our clients may take a circuitous route, but soon enough they make their agreements about what’s in their best interests and needs—what they can ultimately live with.

For Darling, it was three coats of lipstick to get to the result she desired. For our clients? Well, we mediators listen and help them figure it out.

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Ada L. Hasloecher

Divorce Mediator / Center Founder
Divorce & Family Mediation Center, LLC
Phone: 631-585-5210
eMail: Info@DFMCLI.com
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