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Archived Weekly Features
The Big Picture
Rebecca "Becky" Coates Nee, a veteran TV news anchor/reporter, is a professional life/career coach. Check out her website at to take the coachability test, subscribe to her free "Beyond the Box" newsletter and to find out if you're an adrenaline junkie.

Farewell to A Broadcaster's Best Friend
By Rebecca Coates Nee

The call came on a blustery Saturday night in Boise, Idaho. A sales rep had
found a kitten, wandering through the snow - lost, lonely and confused. Did
any lost, lonely and confused souls in the newsroom want to take him home?

I accepted the offer - a monumental commitment for a 27-year-old who couldn't
stay in one place long enough to let the ink dry on a contract. I named him
Rocky because he had a penchant for swatting at the air and licking beer
bottles. And it was, after all, the 80s.

Together, Rocky and I endured two stations, three states, ten moves, four
shift changes, seven news directors and an undisclosed number of male
visitors. Some Rocky let inside - others he growled and hissed at until they
ran away. His judgment always proved better than mine.

So, after 14 years, it took a torn heart and all the courage I could gather
to give the final word to Rocky's vet. Five days of IV therapy hadn't
reversed apparent kidney failure and Rocky's overall misery. Keeping him
alive was for my sake only, not his.

Knowing but still denying that our unique bond was ending, I hastily arranged
for child care and restructured my To Do list so I could spend some final
moments with my faithful friend.

I planned on staying for 15 minutes, which turned into 30, then 45 and 1 hour.

I fed him with my fingers and reminded him about all the traveling, worrying
and napping we had done together.

As I headed home, not sure if I would ever see my beloved buddy again, I
wondered when I had last given Rocky a whole hour of my undistracted
attention. Certainly not in the past five months, since I became the mother
of a human child. And maybe not in the last five years, after Rocky finally
gave up his side of the bed to my new husband.

I also wondered when I had last given my daughter a full hour of myself -
free from mentally planning my next task, talking on the phone or answering
email. I questioned the same about time I had granted my husband and friends.

Quality time has become an overused term but an underutilized concept. Think
about whom you've been neglecting in your life and give them an hour of
yourself - free from distractions. Let them know how much they mean to you
now. Don't wait until it's time to say goodbye.