Just a thought… New beginnings are often disguised as painful endings. [Lao Tzu]
What, Friday already? I’m kidding. This has been without a doubt one of the longest weeks of our lives. And yet, there’s a lightness of heart at the end of these five days that I haven’t felt for so long. Knowing Debbie’s suffering has come to an end, being in the heart of family in Ottawa with Phil, Brooke and Colin and feeling so happy for a friend who has officially begun her new life.
You’ve heard already of Roger Ashby’s decision to leave CHUM after some five decades on the air there on both the AM and FM airwaves. I wish him all the best in his well-deserved retirement; I hope that he and Moira have a long and adventurous stretch ahead of them with only great health and happiness.
As a coincidental sidenote: Roger’s former co-host Rick Hodge is also hanging up the headphones, having announced this week that he’s leaving his St. Catharines radio job as of today. How lucky we are that (contrary to the ridiculous hoax links online trying to get people to buy skin products) Marilyn Denis isn’t leaving any time soon!
But there’s a radio departure that hits even closer to home for me this week and all of the events of my own life have kept me from mentioning it before today. Lisa Brandt, my sis from another missus, said good-bye to her London, Ontario radio family on Wednesday, ten years to the day since leaving her lofty perch as morning co-host on 680 News in Toronto.
Lisa has been getting up far too early for as many years as I have or more. Her résumé includes radio stations from Prince George, BC to Wingham, Hamilton and Toronto (with more stops than I could list here) and she’s done everything from music host to program and news director to on-air anchor.
She’s written more books than Donald Trump has read (okay, probably double) and has hosted a TV show that I’m sure is still in syndication somewhere right now. If I sound like Lisa’s biggest fan, it’s because she and I have long felt a great affection and respect for each other, both in our radio careers, and as two women born just ten days apart.
Lisa has been open about her struggles with depression (and equally vocal about the silent killer sepsis she even wrote a book about the latter). It’s a known fact that getting up in the middle of the night wreaks havoc with one’s seratonin levels, and less chronicled but more obvious is how hard it is to have invisible keyboard cowards taking shots at you constantly for holding a position with a microphone.
For example, if Justin Trudeau was making news and Lisa didn’t speak about him with the right amount of admiration or bile, she’d come under attack. Her unending efforts to remain a neutral news host (on her own morning radio show) would be ignored by those who heard her through their own filters and let her know what a garbage person she was for not holding their opinions. Ugh. Who the hell needs that?
Don’t get me wrong: she didn’t leave only for reasons of fatigue or mental wellness. It was those things, yes, but so very many more; it was just time. Like Rob and I did, she’s choosing to begin a new life and seeking joy and fulfillment that a job simply can’t provide anymore. Losing loved ones before their time, or before Lisa was ready to let go, prompted a profound shift in her outlook. She could hear her dear, late father’s voice in her ear asking what she was waiting for. And so, off they go.
Lisa and her husband are leaving the Forest City and moving to Wallaceburg, where she’ll continue to write, do freelance work of all kinds and start a new life that I hope includes more daylight and an awful lot less stress. Radio life is harder than ever these days; too few people doing too many jobs, too much stress and not enough support or, frankly, the remuneration that the tolls of the job deserve.
Lisa and Derek have earned every happiness and I can’t tell you how excited Rob and I are for our dear friends. Best of all, they’re coming for a visit late this month and we can’t wait!
Here’s a link to Lisa’s blogs this week telling you the story of her decision to depart. It’s not an end, it’s a beginning. And on this week of sad good-byes (Debbie) and a joyful hello (our Ottawa family) we add to the shouts, a hearty Bon Voyage for Lisa.
And life goes on.
We’ll talk to you here on Monday.