Itís so hard to say goodbye

They say all good things must come to an end. And it is with a heavy heart and no small amount of trepidation that I announce my intention to leave my position here at The Evening Sun. Quite literally, I have received an offer I canít refuse Ė chance for a challenging new role at an area business I have been in awe of since my first tour of its facility in 2009.

No matter how enticing this opportunity, though, it is no easy decision to leave Chenango Countyís hometown daily newspaper. These past three plus years have been one amazing ride. Being a Sun staff writer has been more than just a job for me. Iíve lived and breathed it. Sure, Iíve screamed and cursed it. Laid awake at night stressing about it. Cried myself to sleep thinking about it. And fallen into bed absolutely exhausted by it. But I wouldnít have traded one second of it for the world. There is no doubt in my mind that if you cut me open right now, in the place of blood, youíd find ink coursing through my veins.

Working at The Evening Sun has given me a sense of purpose, a way of making an impact on the community which always has and always will be home for me, no matter where I lay my head at night.

It has also given me a chance to know this county in a way I could have never known it before Ė by letting me see inside the board rooms, court rooms, police stations, factories, offices, barns and homes of the people, farms, businesses, organizations and agencies that truly ARE Chenango County.

Iíve never taken my responsibility lightly, always striving to get all the relevant facts and present them so that our readers can make their own, informed decisions. And Iíd like to think what Iíve written has made a difference, whether itís been in highlighting the individuals and organizations committed to doing good in our community, informing about the bad or simply telling peopleís stories.

Even though I know walking away from here is the right decision, both personally and professionally, it is still difficult. As is breaking the news to those I work alongside every day. I have done so gradually over the last 24 hours, starting, of course, with my esteemed editor Jeffrey Genung.

Jeff, to his credit, was incredibly gracious, congratulating me on the offer and telling me that it has been ďa good run.Ē Others, didnít take it quite so well. (Really, Brian, that kind of language just isnít appropriate, even with the caveat that you ďmeant it in the nicest possible way.Ē)

As evidenced by the tears streaming down my face as write this column, it is just as difficult to share this news with you, our dear Evening Sun readers. Because, for the last three years, you have been my sounding board. Youíve allowed me to express my views, expound on any number of random topics, spill the inside scoop and share my deepest darkest secrets. Not to mention those of my coworkers, close friends and family. And youíve been kind enough not to judge me to harshly even when Iíve ďover shared,Ē as my aforementioned coworkers, close friends and family often accuse me.

Your feedback has kept me going through thick and thin, good times and bad. Youíve humbled me with your kind words, and kept me on the straight and narrow with your constructive criticism. I canít thank you enough for sharing your stories with me, and letting me know that my words made you laugh, or cry, or take action. Thank you, too, for letting me know you were reading, even when you didnít like what you read. Thank you to all of you for reading.

Itís been a good run, I think. My only regret is that there are so many stories left to write, and I wonít be the one to write them.

While the shoes I leave behind to fill may not be big Ė just a modest womenís 8 Ė I like to think theyíre pretty fabulous. Something sparkly, with a peek-a-boo toe and a 4Ē heel perhaps.

Because when Iím missing you, those are the shoes Iíll be putting on, tapping my heels together, thinking ... thereís no place like home. And by ďhome,Ē Iíll mean The Evening Sun newsroom.

Follow me on Twitter Ė at least for a little while longer Ė @evesunmelissa.

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