Love, loss part of life’s journey

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Love and loss.

It’s strange how two words that sound so alike can be so different. Yet both are so much a part of our lives. Without real love, we can’t suffer true loss, but without loss we don’t always appreciate or remember just how much we have.

We’ve had a lot of loss in our work family lately. From the unimaginable loss of two El Reno teenagers – one, our own Jesse Gorbet – to the sudden death of our friend and co-worker Terri Grubbs, we have had the lesson that life is fragile thrown at us recently more than we’d ever like. But it is through these we also can remember those we’ve lost and how much they’ve brought to our lives.

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I’m ashamed to say I didn’t know Terri well. What I do know is she worked for our sister paper, the El Reno Tribune, for about 30 years, since before some of our staff members were even born. Terri did so many things that brought both of our papers to life, in both El Reno and Mustang – she was an asset to all of us and someone whose work took her far beyond the four walls of the El Reno office. She will be missed.

But the pain of loss also brings us lessons. For me, it was a loss that brought me to this desk writing this column now. My mom was one of those people who gave more than she ever received. She was my inspiration, my moral compass, my best friend. She was the one who told me, more times than I can count, that I should get back into journalism after 20-odd years working as a legal assistant.

After she was gone, I was lost and searching, trying to find ways – any way – to honor her memory and everything she had been. So I took the leap, took a chance and ended up at the Mustang News. Every story I write, every photo I take, I think about my mom and I know she’s happy. And she lives on, not just through me and her grandson and not just through the friends and family who loved her, but funnily enough also in a newspaper she had never even heard of.

Loss may have brought me here, but love is what has made the Mustang News what it is today. It certainly is what’s kept me here and is the reason I look forward to coming to work every day. We are not the same newspaper we were six months ago, we are so different, and I hope, better.

That’s because we have a group of people who love what they do every day. It probably sounds corny, but we like being with each other, we have each other’s backs, we love being a part of this community. We don’t just cover the news or sell ads or work at design – we truly want to make Mustang a better place because it’s our home too. My mom always said you could be judged by the company you keep, and every day I am blessed to work with some of the finest people I’ve ever known – both here in Mustang and in El Reno too.

These changes don’t mean the Mustang News of the past was a bad paper. It was just different. I’ve heard a lot of people say they didn’t realize there are two newspapers in Mustang, and in the past it was true that what you read in one you’d likely find in the other.

While to an extent that’s still true – there will always be stories universally important to everyone in our community – we’d like to think our change in philosophy shows in our content. Sure, we run the crime stories and if someone does something wrong, we’ll cover it. That’s our job. But we now are more about you – what you’re doing, what you like, what you’re interested in, what you’ve achieved.

We are proud of who we all are and what we believe in. We are here to tell the stories of our community’s and our residents’ success, but we are also here to help make that success a reality.

Love and loss. There will always be loss but more importantly there will always be love. And that’s something to cherish every single day.