Sunday will be my three-year anniversary of working at The News-Gazette. I've written before about how instrumental late Features Editor Rebecca Mabry was to my hire and career as a journalist.
I think of her every day. Lately, it's been more than that.
I'm working on two stories she would have loved. One is about a women's group that's been meeting for 81 years in the Paxton area. Another is about an inspiring young woman who's made it through more challenges than some people encounter in a lifetime, but is confident she'll break the cycle.
While working on each of these, I wish I could talk to Becky, even briefly. She sure knew how to tell a story . And she had a special knack for making people feel comfortable enough to talk to her about anything.
Even though it's hard right now, I'm trying to do what I can to remember her. For me, that means volunteering at the Champaign County Humane Society's garage sale next week. This event was close to her heart – I remember she took off the day after I started to work the sale.
It also means giving blood, even though I hate it. I gave blood in January, with Becky in mind, and managed to faint in the bloodmobile across the street from our building. But when Community Blood Services of Illinois called me last week, saying they needed my blood type, I agreed to try again. After all, it doesn't cost me anything but an hour, and I know there's no substitute for blood for those who need it.
And of course, I try to remember Becky in everything I write – from simple food stories to the kind that will break your heart and give you hope. I can only hope the end result would make her proud.