My life’s journey met with momentous happenings last week. Let’s start with Thursday.
As a reporter and journalist I pride myself on being an effective communicator, a good conversationalist and connecting the vast array of information that is received on a near daily basis. You put all the cards on the table and assess what is rumor, hearsay, verifiable information and established fact. Then you discard, rearrange, and put together words in ways that are hopefully compelling and of interest to your readers once you pen your piece.
When I went into a meeting with our publisher Thursday morning and he told me that I was being laid off for fiscal and company reorganization reasons I hadn’t put together the dots. I didn’t see it coming. I was no longer the editor.The meeting was amiable and without drama. While I accepted the dynamics of the decision knowing well that over the years newspapers have suffered from dwindling ad revenues, cut back circulations and downsized newsrooms, the result was that within half an hour I was taking artwork off the walls of my office, packing up books, photographs and an array of desk ornamentation and plants.
I was no longer the editor.
I had taken the hit well and was functioning. As the hours and days passed I realized that I had been hit and the wound was bleeding and I was hurting aware that not only was my time with this paper over (it would have been nine years in November) but 17 years of community journalism starting in Fauquier, moving to Rappahannock and now in Culpeper.
There’s a deathlike quality when something ends. You find yourself grieving and feeling mournful. You need to give grief its due, then brush it off so that your vision doesn’t become permanently clouded.
It didn’t take long for the clouds to part. I started to hear from many expressing their shock and sadness at my departure and thanking me for my time spent in the community. With each message, I smiled more and more knowing that a chord had been struck, relationships forged and that all would be right with the world again. Another door would open.
Now, let’s back up a few days before last Thursday to Mother’s Day. Our oldest, a daughter, Sophia, presented me with a small box and big smile. She was even more bubbly than usual and very anxious for me to open her gift. As I did, I beheld two, cream colored knit booties with a small knit crown. A tiny envelope revealed this message – The best parents get promoted to grandparents. And the tears flowed.
Our firstborn is having her first child. Anticipated delivery in December, my birth month.
Our middle son Douglas and his wife Rose have gifted us with two beautiful grandbabies – Maria and Piers. Now we anticipate the arrival of Sophia and David’s baby.
So within a week’s period I learned that our daughter is having her first child and that I had lost my job and do need to find another.
I’ve always believed and been nourished by the notion that there are no ends, just a series of new beginnings.
As I write these words, I want you to know how much I have appreciated your gifts to me. Your trust, your confidence, your patience and understanding, your support and your conversations allowing me to share your stories, events, and opinions.
This chapter of my life is finished but the book isn’t over.
A job ends but a new life announced. For me, the new life, the new beginning is the bigger news.
Anita Sherman is the former editor of the Culpeper Times. You may reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org or 540-272-9200.