Monday, September 12, 2016


By Niki Turner

As I write this, it is 6 a.m. on a Sunday morning. I've been mostly awake most of the night. You know those nights when your body craves sleep but your mind won't slow down? And when it does, you just have nightmares that jolt you awake again?

We're moving today. With help from two of my boys and my sweet daughter-in-law, I packed the house yesterday and we're moving stuff to the new house, old town, today and tomorrow, leaving two of our boys here to test out their adult wings (and check up on my parents, who live a half mile away, from time to time.)

And, for those who don't know, eleven days ago we became the owners of a weekly newspaper. And no matter what else is going on in your life, the paper has to go out, as it has every week for 132 years. (Check it out here:

In the middle of all that "normal" transition-y stuff, my husband has been at the hospital with his mom since Wednesday. She's dying of pancreatic cancer. She's now in transition from one phase to another, a bridge we all will cross someday, and one we all fear in the back of our minds because no matter how much faith you have, death still involves an element of the unknown.

For almost 30 years of my life, my MIL has demonstrated what it means to love one's children (and grandchildren) unconditionally. It didn't matter how big of a screw up you were being, she was ready with a hug and a cup of hazelnut coffee at 2 a.m. When she babysat our kids while we went to teach youth group, she was the fun grandma... always willing to let the kids make a mess (birdseed, dress-up clothes, bubble baths with her fancy pewter goblets filled with jelly beans and Christmas lights in the bathroom, a giant nest of pink and white shredded packing material in her living room on Easter, with eggs and candy and toys hidden throughout). Birthday and Christmas cards had beautifully handwritten messages with words of pride and encouragement and love. Her house was ALWAYS decorated for every holiday, from Thanksgiving to St. Patrick's Day, and she was always ready to entertain.

I'm going to miss her, of course, but I'm clinging to the example she set. Her spirit lives on in her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.
Have faith. Be kind. Take advantage of every moment to live. Love others, even when they're a mess or you're a mess.

Niki Turner is a novelist, journalist, blogger, and the owner and editor of the Rio Blanco Herald Times weekly newspaper, one of the oldest continuously operating newspapers in Colorado.She is a co-blogger at, and president of her local ACFW chapterNiki is a Colorado native who grew up in Glenwood Springs—home of the world’s largest hot springs pool. She married her high school sweetheart 26 years ago. They have four children, four grandchildren, and two West Highland White Terriers who are kind enough to take them for long walks.You can find all her new releases at under BOOKS.


  1. Niki, I love how you write about your mother-in-law and the example she set. She's the kind of person whose loss will be felt, but the memories of her loving natural will be felt even more. It's so hard to know someone you love is dying, even when you know it will put an end to the suffering. You gave me so much good advice when my Mom died, try to follow it now for yourself <3

  2. Congratulations on your move and the purchase of The Herald Times. This is beautiful, Niki. In one post you've show the courage, adversity, excitement, and sorrow of life. What a treasure you are.

  3. So much to deal with, but you do it with such panache. Go you! :D

  4. Grandparents are such a great way for children to learn about what it means to be an adult...parents are so busy trying to be one, they aren't always the best examples. Sounds like she was one of the best! Congrats on all you've accomplished in such uproar! hugs!


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