Column: Saying goodbye so I can write my own story

Thank you for all the stories, Langley

After 17 years of writing Langley’s stories, it came time earlier this month for me to turn the page to a new chapter in my life.

It’s not easy saying goodbye to my second family at the Langley Times and this amazing community I’ve had the honour of writing about all these years.

And some amazing stories there have been. From tragedy to triumph, from wacky to wild, there is no shortage of fascinating things and people to write about in this ‘city meets country’ town — from police having to wrangle a 500 pound pig that caused a lockdown of a school, to a wire thief leaving his finger at the scene, to the many characters who have come through our office doors to share their wonderfully strange and often heartbreaking stories.

There were the political scandals, which I never cared for and never will. And then there are the tragedies that most times were so gut wrenching, I would find myself typing slowly, staring at my computer screen through watery eyes. I’ve shared many tears with you, Langley.

It was former editor Frank Bucholtz who took a chance on me — an eager, fiery cub reporter just in my early 20s.

From then to now, I’ve written hundreds of stories about how Langley is growing — and in that time I grew up, too.

I’ve been working at the Times through all the major milestones in my life, from becoming a home owner, raising our first fur babies, getting married, losing loved ones and eventually the biggest moment — having a child.

It was Times staff who supported me through the pain of losing my mom to a rare and aggressive form of early onset dementia.

Soon after I got pregnant at a time when Township council was deciding to develop Fort Langley. Ballooning at eight months pregnant, staff at Township hall had to get me a special chair to sit through the meetings that often went past 11 p.m.

And then my son was born and that’s when everything changed forever.

I held him in my arms and my heart grew 10 sizes. In that moment and forever going forward, my priorities completely refocused.

And that’s what has led me to today, writing this goodbye column.

If you have followed my writing, I hope that you’ve seen that I’m passionate about fighting injustice.

As a court reporter, I have seen, time and time again, where the victims are left out of the equation. It’s been my goal to give the victims a voice and where the justice system won’t hold the criminal accountable, at least the newspaper can.

I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was in Grade 2 when I decided to re-write Bambi so that his mom didn’t die. I went on that year to write a chapter book about the life of Hockey Night in Canada’s Peter Puck. I kept writing, in the school newspapers and then in college. I was hooked.

The tight-knit dynamics of a newsroom are like no other work environment. There is a camaraderie and closeness, there is sarcasm and quick wit. I had the privilege to work with friend and editor Brenda Anderson, my coworkers Gary Ahuja, Miranda Gathercole, Dan Ferguson and Troy Landreville — all of whom have brought their passion for journalism each day.

For democracy to work, journalism must have a role.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t thank the wonderful humans who help our furry friends, like Critter Care, LAPS and TinyKittens. Being on the animal beat may have been my greatest pleasure.

Also, thank you to the humans helping humans like Encompass, outreach, the child development centre, to name only a few.

Langley is a bustling town that is growing faster than it should.

But beyond the traffic and condo chaos is car enthusiasts and farmers, horse people and pioneers (yes you Jim McGregor), that make this town great. Most of all there are so many community driven people. I can say with confidence, that Langley must be the volunteer capital of the world.

It has been an honour and a privilege, Langley.

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