It is fitting that my journey with The Mercury should end this week. It is the anniversary of the time period my sister Jane had her stroke two years ago. Wednesday, my last official day in Jay Bernhardt’s employ, is the anniversary of the very last time I held Jane’s hand, kissed her brow, and said goodbye.
I learned something valuable over the last two years after saying that farewell to my only big sis, who was so much a part of me. I learned that just because something has ended, that doesn’t mean it is gone forever. There are many things Jane taught me, that we shared together throughout our childhood and then adulthood, that stay with me to this day. Songs, so many songs, remind me of her. The smell of green apples and warm clean laundry, Noxema skin cleanser, Jean Nate. And while she is no longer physically in my life, she is in my heart and mind and always will be.
With her passing came so many dark blessings-good things that came out of something bad. To this day my other two sisters, Joy and Jeana, and myself meet regularly, making sure life does not get in the way of saying “I love you.” I’ve also become stronger, learned how to speak up for myself, since she is no longer here to do that for me.
I also learned that change is what keeps us knowing we are alive. Change and growth are synonymous, although many people do not view the two this way. When we stop changing, we stop growing. And when something stops growing, it dies.
Maybe this is why so many people are in shock after learning The Mercury was closing. We were changing, growing, getting better with each edition. What happened?
I have been learning that change is not always bad, but in this situation I can see how so many of our readers would disagree with that wisdom. Something is being wrenched from your lives that you’ve grown to love, to depend on. It is as if a close friend or a loved one is passing.
Bruce Watson has stopped in a few times comparing this end to a funeral or wake, asking where the tuna casseroles are and offering to bake something. Although his jest is a bit dark, he has hit it right on the mark.
Richfield and the surrounding communities are losing an old friend. Again. And it is tough saying goodbye; I have heard it in their voices these last few times we have spoken.
I didn’t think it would be this difficult to say goodbye. With all the challenges I’ve overcome since assuming the role as editor/reporter, it hurts to type this column, knowing it may be my last for The Mercury. I am going to miss you all so very much.
There are so many things I still want to share; so many stories and anecdotes I want to write about. But for now I think I will just have to be content thanking everyone for accepting me unconditionally, despite my non-traditional way of looking at life.
In all of my years in the business, I have never felt so embraced as I did by this community. I was well read, admired and established on Long Island, but there was a separateness between me, a member of the Fourth Estate, and my readers.
Here, it was like coming home. When I was welcomed into someone’s home for an interview, it was like coming home. When I met someone at a meeting whom I had only known over the telephone or through email, it was like embracing an old friend.
It seems I did not get to enjoy you all enough. I did not get to know you all enough, or visit enough, or take up the invitations you all extended to me so often.
But what we did share, it was good. I want to thank everyone for so readily welcoming me into your hearts. Sometimes my stories were not on the mark, so there was always a swift kick in the butt in the form of a letter or phone call telling me I goofed up. But there were very few hard feelings.
Working for Jay, first as a reporter and then as an editor these last few months as we tried to salvage The Mercury, has been one of those experiences that I can definitely classify as life altering. Thank you, Jay, for providing this amazing forum for me, as a writer, and for the community. I would have never known how beautiful Richfield Springs is, or how beautiful the people who live here are.
In closing, I would like to leave you with something positive.
Change is inevitable. We can either accept it gracefully or have a tantrum and kick and scream our way through it. Either way, it is going to happen.
Rather than be victims of change, why not be pro-active and BE the change?
There is a secret I try to live my life by, that I will share with you now. If you want something badly enough, you have the power to achieve it.
First, you must think of what it is you want.
Secondly, you must take the action needed to pursue your desire.
Once this is done, you have to live your life as if it is going to happen. Experience it and it will.
Once you believe it can be done, you will bring form to what started as a thought, a hope or a dream.
Then you will have become the creator of that change. You will be in control of your life, your destiny.
You will not be a victim of change. And it will be more comfortable, and easier to handle it.
Once you have accepted that change, you know what to do. Once it becomes a part of your life, embrace it.
After all... life is for living. So live it.