Becoming a Massachussettsian*

It’s funny how a town you’ve never been to can grow on you within a few days. Five, in fact.

Last Tuesday, I was startled to read that a hospital in North Adams, Mass., was abruptly closing in just three days.

Starting on Wednesday, I began to meet the hundreds of people who didn’t know what their future would look like. They told me their town of 13 and half thousand people would not survive without North Adams Regional Hospital (NARH). I met the daughter who moved within walking distance of the facility to ensure her mother, her children, and she would have immediate access to health care. And I joked with the Mayor who showed shock in his eyes but fearlessness in his words as he promised to do whatever he could to bring the hospital back.

 

And I kept at itĀ for the next four (work)days.

 

Each day came with its own burdens, hurdles and stress. Daily, sometime in the mid-afternoon, there would be a late-breaking development. For a reporter who’s off the clock at 6 p.m., any news at 3 or 4 o’clock when it takes over an hour to travel is not welcome news. This led to late hours,Ā extreme hustling to meet deadlines, and getting the necessary news out.

I was there a lot.

I was there a lot.

 

As exhausting as it was to make the drive daily (the trip from Albany to North Adams was at least an hour and 10 minutes), I came to welcome these views as I crossed theĀ Taconic MountainsĀ from the Empire State to the Bay one.

 

After a storm

 

Those mountain tops. Stunning.

 

It meant, that after all the winding, the bumps, the steep precipices, the curves beyond which I couldn’t see… there would be a city that I could try to help through my work.

It meant that I would soon start recognizing certain landmarks and towns.

It meant that I could give one of the recently unemployed leaders ofĀ the Massachusetts Nursing Union a hug.

It meant that I could stop by City Hall and get a heart-to-heart from Mayor Alcombright.

It meant that I would head down Main Street to pick up a muffin from Luma’s Muffin and Mug.

 

In less than five days, I found another home to love.

 

 

This is what I love about the news business.

—-

For some of the coverage I provided, check out these links:

Patients Respond

Adjusting to Health Provider Changes

Temporary Injunction Falls Through

The Unemployed Look to the Next Step

State Leaders Address NARH Crisis

 

*I don’t know if Massachussettsian is actually a word. I found it somewhere on the Interwebs and liked it.

 

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those three little words

… that pack a big punch.

I’m going to stray away from my random newsgathering-related rambles and tackle one of the most written-about subjects of all time.

yup. you got it.

To be honest, I’m not planning on questioning its significance or how one recovers from heartbreak or any of its deeper profound moments. I just wanted to write an entry as an ode to those three words that can make or break our lives.

Today I learned that a friendĀ heard those words from a man she cares about this past weekend, and for the first time, no less!Ā  I yelped in excitement, I giggled, and even ran over to give her a hug. She was, in her words, “on Cloud 9.”

I’ve gone through my share of pain due to love, but when I saw someone who stepped into that place of being deeply and openly cherished for the first time, my heart leapt in mutual joy.

To know love, to live love, and to give it is one of the greatest parts of our lives on earth. Call me a sap, but even if I’m not the one all aflutter, I can’t help but celebrate itsĀ vibrancy in those around me. Love is an action. Love is a decision. Love is purposeful. The list goes on.

To wrap up:

“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.” – John 15:9

and to those of you who know me well:

I love you.