I don’t like goodbyes, so I’ll just say thank you. Thank you for being so incredibly nice when I run into you at public places. Thank you for writing or calling and sharing yourselves and your experiences. And thank you for being so amazingly supportive as I endured one of the most difficult years of my life following my breast cancer diagnosis.
I continue to be amazed by the Hoosier heart. So many of you gave so much of yourselves, I could not thank you all individually. But I take each of you with me. I’ll think of you each time a drape the blankets viewers made for me over my knees, or wear a hat personally knitted for me, or read a poem beautifully engraved on etched glass and sent to the station. I’ll think of you when I pick up the three boxes of cards (yes, I kept every one of them), or drape a hand knitted prayer shawl over my shoulders, or adorn my lapel with one of the many breast cancer pins given to me by so many of you.
I’ll think of you when I remember the hugs from Hoosiers in SteinMart, or scriptures shared in the grocery store line, or the many of you who started prayer chains – whispering my name in fervent pleas to the Father.
Hoosiers are the most incredibly emotionally generous folks I’ve ever had the pleasure to know. You’ve touched my heart, blessed my spirit, and enriched by life. And for that, I thank you.
Making the decision to leave was difficult. But by the end of 2011, I knew I needed to return toTexas. I was still healing from reconstructive surgery following my double mastectomy when I got a call from my Dad in mid December. He told me that my mother was unresponsive and he had to call an ambulance. The day before, she’d been feeling a bit under the weather, but she’d taught school, helped her granddaughter with a term paper, and had gone to bed. She didn’t know the cough that had been troubling her was pneumonia caused by nasty bacteria that would invade her blood stream overnight.
She was septic. The bacteria were winning. And she could neither recognize loved ones nor breathe on her own. I couldn’t get a flight to Texas until the next day, and overnight, my Dad had been forced to make decisions alone about everything from intubation to whether to sign a DNR.
After a two week hospital stay, my mother improved and returned to her active life as a teacher, church member, and community volunteer. But the episode forced me to acknowledge that I have to take care of family first. And it’s difficult to do that from more than a thousand miles away.
And so it is. I’m leaving. I’ll be working as an anchor and investigative reporter at KXAS, the NBC affiliate in Dallas/Fort Worth. But I’ll be taking a bit of each of you with me. I came here a Texan, but I’ll leave here a Hoosier.