Dear diary, life is short

Published 8:05 am Friday, January 20, 2023

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This is the diary of a twenty-something, and diaries tell the truth. The painful, real-life, truth. As much as I like to believe they’re childlike and full of happy tales, they’re a place twenty-somethings like me go to when they must spill their heart.

Last week, Tryon lost Leah Justice, its reporter for over 20 years. I’ve been with the Bulletin for going on five years, and I’ve never met Leah. I’ve never even spoken on the phone with her, because I’m a freelancer and work from home, but everyone I know and love at the office and every person in the Tryon community has known her in some way or another.

Let me do this the right way:

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Dear Diary, this is M. M. I was swept off my feet the other morning when I found out that the Bulletin’s beloved reporter passed away. 


I remember the first time I ever walked into the TDB office, my resume in hand, and I looked at the brick walls, the olive-green touches of color, and the high ceilings. I thought, “This is where I want to work.”

A couple of months later, I got my first freelance job writing features for our magazine, Life in Our Foothills. It was 2018. Leah was the full-time lead reporter, handling the hard stories, and I started to occasionally write here and there for the newspaper.

Fast forward to a few years later. Leah got sick and had to step back from her position with the Bulletin to take care of herself and her son. When I was informed by my editor that I was going to need to do some more reporting, someone at the office said, “You’ve got big shoes to fill.”

I sat there in that leather chair by the brick walls, and thought to myself, “I’ll never be as good as Leah. But I’ll try to make her proud.”

My dearest diary, I’m a writer, so when I’m feeling some sort of emotion, I write. Today, that emotion is sadness and sympathy.

My dearest Tryon community and favorite little newspaper, my heart goes out to those who knew and loved Leah. I can’t imagine the diary entry of someone who knew her as a friend.

Love, M.M.

P.S. Life is short, folks. Tell someone you love them.