2022, Boston, Grammy

Dear Grammy, I miss you.

1 year ago today, my grandmother passed away. It was sad and kind of sudden, but she was 87 years old. She had a great life, she really did. Gail Lillian Somes Hadley was magnificent.

I think about her often. She was just such a great grandmother. My brother and I are her only grandchildren, and she loved us both so much. Whenever we went over to her house she had some home made dessert waiting for us, or a snack. She made the best peach cobbler or cookies. She loved to cook and bake and made sure no one was ever hungry when they were with her.

She also never missed a recital, baseball game, theatre performance, or any other activity we were a part of.

One year on Thanksgiving when I was little I remember getting upset about something and crying, and she came over and sat with me to comfort me and make me feel better. It’s funny how I have no recollection about what I was upset about, but I will never forget her comforting nature that day.

If we were sick, she came and sat with us so my parents could go to work. We would watch tv and she would sit in the living room with us all day, probably knitting whatever sweater she was working on at that time.

She loved our yellow lab George so much. George knew it too, always sitting by her because he knew she would slip him something under the table. Dogs are so smart.

I always knew I could talk to her about anything, I called her a lot when I moved out here to Idaho, she was just the best.

Recently when I moved away from MA, we were pen pals, writing each other letters, and of course she would include a little gift in mine, some cookies or a gift card.

My dad would go over to her house and show her my news stories that I did, or if I was anchoring he would pull that up and show her too.

I sometimes wish I could call her up now and just talk to her. Tell her about my life, although I’m sure she knows.

We would talk about my dream wedding some day, what colors I wanted and where I wanted to get married. She said she would do my hair in pretty curls like she did for my prom.

I learned a lot from her, about generosity and love and loyalty, but I learned the most important lesson from her after she was gone.

Let me tell you about it. When she passed away, my family planned a wake and a funeral for her. The wake was on Tuesday night and the funeral was on Wednesday.

Tuesday night, we were all there at the wake and when I tell you that EVERYONE she knew came, I mean EVERYONE she knew came. And they were all sharing memories and stories and jokes and it was beautiful. I mean, all these cousins, and nieces and nephews, and friends, and my parents friends, and her friends, and her sister and brother in law, and my friends, and her family, and neighbors, and her daughter’s friends and of course her husband. I could go on. And, I thought how amazing it was that all these people took time out of their life to come say goodbye to her.

It was sad, but it was also kind of amazing, because they were remembering her as this person who cared so deeply about people, and never forgot important milestones.

People were recalling Thanksgivings from years ago, and fun trips to Cape Cod, and Christmas parties, and hand made sweaters that she knit for them or their child, people were remembering her, who she was and what kind of an impact she had on their life.

I always worry that I won’t be successful, that I’m not good enough or smart enough or pretty enough, and it’s kind of sad that I had this realization at my grandmother’s funeral, but NONE of that matters.

Because Grammy was a successful nurse but I don’t think that was brought up once at the funeral. Instead what was brought up was who she was, deep into her soul. She was amazing and kind and generous and loving and caring. And THAT is what matters.

It’s sad that we wait until people are gone to tell them our favorite things about them. I hope she knows how much of an impact she had on my life, and always will.

I think she’s up in heaven playing Bridge with her friends and her sister, eating some trout (her favorite food) and laughing without being in any pain. And I know she’s hanging out with George as well. Probably going on walks with him every day.

I know I’ll see you again someday, until then, I love you, every day.

2022, A Day In The Life Of Liz, College, Idaho, journalism, Reporter, Twin Falls

WHAT I WISH I KNEW BEFORE I MOVED ACROSS THE COUNTRY AT AGE 22 TO BE A NEWS REPORTER

When I decided to move to Idaho after college, I was excited. I was scared, but I was excited… It was a good job, I had just graduated college, and I thought I was ready for this next chapter in my life.

I was so wrong. 

Now, I’ve been here for almost 3 years and I was thinking how much has changed since I began that cross country drive. 

Not only is the world a different place, but I am as well. 

And I can honestly say, even though it has undoubtedly been the hardest thing I’ve ever done, it’s also been the absolute best decision I’ve ever made. 

It’s so hard to see that so much of who you are, and the things you believe, are solely because of the people you surround yourself with. 

“You are the sum of the people you surround yourself with” 

I believe this with my whole heart. If you are around negative, mean people, you will become one too. But if you are around people who support you and lift you up, that’s who you’ll become. 

But when you move away, and you’re all alone, you get to decide who you surround yourself with, and what type of person you want to be. And not because it’s what everyone else thinks you should be doing, but simply because you know it’s what is right for you. Sometimes, you are only friends with people because you’ve always been friends with them… not because they are adding anything to your life. 

So that’s number one, whether you need to move away to figure this out or not: 

SPEND TIME WITH PEOPLE WHO FILL YOUR CUP, AND SPEND TIME DOING THINGS THAT BRING YOU JOY… 

Number two: 

BE PREPARED TO BE LONELY…

The only reason I moved here was for my job, and although now I have a lot of other hobbies and people and things going on in my life, that was not the case right away. 

I was so lonely, the only people I knew were from work. I missed the familiarity of my room, my friends and my family. 

But, in a way… that’s nice, because I got to decide what I liked doing, and what I didn’t. I got to figure out what type of person I wanted to be and what types of things I wanted to do.

It’s ironic, because now, I LOVE being alone. Please just give me 20 minutes after work to myself, I need to decompress. 

Third: 

IT’S GOING TO BE HARD…

I mean, working in journalism doesn’t pay a lot… at all, so not only will you be in a place that is new, and you will be lonely, but you will also be poor. 

You also will be learning how to succeed at your job and let me be honest… you will be bad at it, very bad.

You will make mistakes, and you will be lonely, and you won’t have a lot of money… so yeah, it’s going to be really really hard. 

But, that leads me to Number four: 

REMEMBER WHY YOU WANTED TO GO INTO THIS FIELD/PROFESSION ETC… 

On my worst days, when I would go home and cry and just want to give up, I didn’t… 

For a lot of reasons, mostly because I believe life is hard, and if you can’t handle hard days, that’s on you. 

“Life is tough, my darling, but so are you.”

I love telling stories, I love meeting new people and hearing about them and why they are the way they are. I love meeting people and thinking to myself, you are doing exactly what you were put on this earth to do. 

I love it, and the good days far outweigh the bad… but it is hard, it’s so very hard. 

Wow, already on number five: 

ACCEPT THE FACT THAT YOUR LIFE ISN’T ALWAYS GOING TO GO HOW YOU PLANNED IT: 

I’m not going to lie, I had a plan in my head when I moved to Idaho, to finish my two year contract and move on to another station… I always wanted to be a head anchor at a big station… but almost three years later, and I’m still here. 

There are a lot of reasons why I chose to stay, but it really all comes down to the fact that you can have all these goals and plans and dreams for your life, but then things happen, and they change. 

For example: 9 months into me living here, COVID-19 hit and I was forced to work from home. 

I believe that “life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond to it.”

So, yes I wasn’t expecting to move to Idaho and like it, I wasn’t expecting to move to Idaho and meet my boyfriend, I wasn’t expecting to move to Idaho and for the entire world to shut down. But, it did. So what am I going to do about it? 

Which is another reason why I think it’s good to be alone, and it’s good to be somewhere where no one else is impacting your decisions on how you react to it. Because you know it’s going to be your choice, and no one else’s. 

Which leads me to number six: 

TRUST YOUR GUT: 

No one knows you like you. 

So, when you are alone, and you feel in your heart or soul or gut that something isn’t right, listen to it, don’t take anyone else’s opinions into the matter, just listen to yourself. You know what feels right to you, and you know what the right choice is… you always will. 

Seven: 

HOLIDAYS NEVER GET EASIER: 

It just sucks to work on holidays, there is no easy way to say that. We all do it, and we all hate it. The only bright side is, the people at the station will understand what you are going through on those days, and they will help you get through them. 

Eight:

IT JUST TAKES TIME: 

Everything takes time, it takes time to feel like you belong, it takes time to feel like you are good at your job, it takes time to make friends, it just takes time. 

But while it’s hard, and while it seems like it’s never going to get any better, embrace that… embrace the hard… embrace the days where you mess up, learn from those mistakes, and don’t do it again… be a little better every day. 

Life seems long, but it’s really not, and your job, your money, your “success” none of that matters in the end, I believe that with all my heart. 

I can tell you with absolute certainty that what people remember about you isn’t any of that, it’s all about who you are, and how you made those people feel about themselves, and what you did for them that matters, I promise. Who you are… deep into your core, is the most beautiful thing of all. 

So if you’re still reading this, I hope it helps you. I hope some senior in college about to move across the country for his/her first reporting job reads this and just remembers one piece of information, and maybe, just maybe it will help them.