Thursday, June 20, 2013

A funeral that leads to hope

I didnt' know Jordan Curtis but I know 22 years on this earth wasn't long enough.

His dad, Todd, used to work here at KATV. Judging by the standing room only, packed house was obvious that Jordan touched many people in his 22 years.

A co-worker of mine and I wanted to do a story on Jordan about a year ago when had kicked cancer's butt. He wasn't expected to, but he did. He was going to school at the U of A and we never worked out a time to meet. Boy, do I wish we had. The cancer came back. And this time, it won.

I cried a lot throughout the funeral. There were several of us Channel 7-ers gathered in an overflow room together. The song "Angels Among Us" made us all tear up. So did hearing his fraternity brothers share about their brother they loved. But nothing hit harder than hearing his own mom share words that her only son had written. One was from when he was in junior high. The other, his essay to get into med school. Saying how he thought he'd make a great oncologist because he had once been a patient.

The family, and all his friends, had such hope that he would pull through. He was a proven fighter. And we all believed he would make it. It reminds me of when our own Anne Pressly was fighting for her life in the hospital. We were given reason to believe that she'd get better. She was a fighter. Surgery was scheduled for the following Monday. Which is why we were all so shocked when we heard the news. It seemed even harder to believe. But would we have been less devastated if we hadn't had hope that she'd be okay? Would it really have lightened the blow if we were more "prepared" for that kind of news? I don't believe so. Because the truth is, no one can ever be prepared for that kind of news. So for me, I would rather live life with constant hope... than in a dark mode of preparation for the worst. It is a choice. Not an easy one, but a choice nonetheless.

Jordan died on Father's Day. The pastor at the funeral today said Jordan's dad called it the best Father's Day gift he could have been given...because his son was no longer in pain. Now that is faith. Faith with hope.

16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Saying goodbye to Dale Nicholson

It's never easy to say goodbye. Especially to someone that had a profound impact on your career. I first met Dale Nicholson ten years ago when I interviewed for a reporter job at KATV. I was only 22 and to be honest, I was very intimidated by his booming voice. But behind that gruff exterior, I later learned, was a gentle teddy bear with a big heart. One that really did care about the people that worked for him.

I never planned to stay here. In fact, my husband and I said two years at the most. We even went so far as to say to each other "let's not make any friends here so that's it's not so difficult to say goodbye when we leave." Oops! We sure messed up that plan. :) And I'm so thankful we did.

My news director, Randy Dixon, and Dale really were taking a risk by asking me to stay here and become an anchor. I wasn't from here (like many of our other anchors) and at the time I still had a desire to move on and move up to bigger cities... especially ones that were closer to my home in South Dakota. But despite all that, they took a chance on me. And fought for me. To stay here in Arkansas and make Little Rock my home. And more importantly, to make KATV my family. And that's exactly what it became.

One of my favorite memories of Dale is back in 2006 when my family from SD was visiting. We were tailgating a Little Rock Razorback game and shortly before the game started, my husband was helping a car squeeze into one of the last parking spots right by our tailgate. Sure enough, out of the car come Dale and several members of his family. He met all of my family members and he was so kind to each one of them. Talked to each one of them and wanted to get to know them. My family was so impressed that the GM of our station would take the time to get to know them. I really think it made them feel better about me (the baby of the family) living so far away from them. They always wanted to be sure that I was loved and taken care of. And boy, did Dale make sure that I always was.

I am so thankful to "Big Pard" and I will miss his booming voice, his larger-than-life personality, and mostly his overwhelming hugs (that to be honest almost had a crushing kind of feeling... in a wonderful way). :)
Love you, mean it!!

Dale with me and my mom

Dale giving my mom one of his famous squeezes

Dale's grandson, Dale the third (who we called D3) and his wife Cassie

My family at the tailgate