NEWS

My final deadline

Cranston Chatter and Johnston Sun Rise Scoops author reluctantly signs off after decades

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When I hit the send button last week to submit my weekly columns and other news/photos, I did not know it would be my final deadline. For the past 28 years, I have not missed one deadline for the Cranston Herald. Not even through breast cancer.

I entered home hospice last week.

I have been suffering through a chronic illness called gastroparesis (paralyzed stomach) and have been writing from home due to my illness. Steve, my love and my photographer, works with me as a team. As I grew more ill, he added caretaker to the list.

I was being kept alive by TPN (nutrition via a line into my veins) and my body has stopped tolerating it. We have tried all we could even to the point of many surgeries and procedures, and I have lived through horrid pain and constant nausea. My stomach is no longer connected.

So, why am I telling you all this? One reason was that the weekly deadline has served as a weekly lifeline for me. I have a wonderful following over these decades and I have loved working for John Howell of Beacon Communications. We go back a long way and he has been there for me in so many ways. I asked if I could write this and he said please do but explain the illness which I hope I just did.

I want to thank you -- all my readers and followers.

My vision is now too blurry to see the computer screen and read emails.

I have loved Cranston all my life and my careers in Cranston, as Chamber of Commerce Director to Reporter/Columnist for the Cranston Herald.

Despite so many challenges, I have met most of my goals. I am blessed with good friends and support.

I do believe Steve will stay on as photographer – he loves it so much and they adore him and his work. It will be good for him.

I have had the privilege of covering the good news of our community and there is so much. Some have been features that have helped others – from event shout-outs to needs for a sick child.

I have had your trust and in this crazy world; truth in journalism is so needed.

I don’t know how to say goodbye, but I knew this had to be written while I still can.

Thank you for sharing your achievements with me – from Eagle Scouts to fundraisers.

I posted on Facebook because there would be no way to contact everyone. I wrote that if there is anything you want to say to me, to say it. Hundreds of comments were posted with even fun memories from childhood friends. I am glad I made that post and also received phone calls from people I have impacted and did not know.

Again, thank you Cranston and to everyone who is making our City a better place to live.

I did ask John Howell if there was a Herald in Heaven…he replied…with you there most likely will be one.

Editor's note: Meri modestly omitted that she published a book on being a sexual abuse survivor and that she is a member of the Cranston Hall of Fame. She also failed to mention one of her most popular columns that ran for several years in the weeks leading up to Easter. Meri had a giant-sized Peep that visited various people in town. She'd get a photo and comments from the chosen celebrity to be printed in the Herald. She was kidded for running the biggest Peeps-show in town. Indeed, as she writes, Meri never missed a deadline – even if it meant writing from a hospital bed. She is proud of that fact. Unfortunately, it is now our time to miss Meri.

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