Be strong, deep breath… three… two… one…. action.  “Good Morning Nebraska!”  I truly enjoy what I do.  That is why it’s easy for me to put aside my problems and all negativity once that camera light clicks on.  But this week, I broke down.  I just couldn’t bury the pain I was feeling in time to address Central Nebraska and Northwest Kansas.

I knew there was something wrong when I missed a call from my husband.  My father in law was in the hospital.  Well, if anyone knew him, he as strong as a brick house and there was probably nothing to worry about besides the fact that he is probably annoyed for being in the hospital.  I continued working, but there was something telling me it wasn’t quite right.  Then… my phone rang.  I had to hear my husband, one of the strongest people I know softly say with so much pain in each word, “They couldn’t bring him back.”  My 33 year old husband lost his dad.  We lost someone we deeply love in a blink of an eye.

Kent Boughton was right by my side as I broke down.  He hugged me and I just clung on, thinking this can’t be happening.  But the clock was ticking, and I needed to be on set and on air in three minutes.

At the news desk, my mind scrambled, concentrating was so difficult.  But I had a job to do.  Roni Lewis grabs makeup that I tried to quickly cover the anguish on my face.  I thought it worked but it wasn’t fooling anyone.  The open music rolls… deep breath… I say “time for your local news…” and my voice cracks.

I tried all my tricks to keep myself focused:

For instance, sometimes when Doug the camera guy does something funny right before I’m on the air, I dig my thumbnail into the side of my pointer finger.  It’s a diversion I came up with one time that has come in handy to stay focused. 🙂 But this time…  it only left a deep groove in my skin… I didn’t even feel it.

The shaky voice, then the tears, then the thoughts… one thing after another… it was an explosion of emotion that I know others have gone through.  You just don’t know how to prepare for it when it’s you or how you will react.

I’ve always tried to be strong… have the broad shoulders… the invincible woman that is able to tackle anything that comes my way.  I’m the one people turn to… not the one that has to turn to others.  Uncharted territory for me, and it all unfolded right in front of NTV viewers.  I felt like a failure.

But then, viewers stepped up to the plate and open my eyes.  Such understanding, compassion and flat out love.  Some of the greatest comments and words of support from people I’ve never even met in person.  All day I was able to scroll through over one hundred comments on Marylyn Barnett Fan Page on facebook.  Not just letting me know it’s ok to be hurt when it hurts… but reminding me that on the other side of the camera, you are not just viewers, you welcome me into your home… like family.

We have probably all tried to be super-human.  I have all my life, at every turn.  This blind-sided me, and the pain isn’t going away anytime soon.  But sometimes it’s ok to release that shield.   Viewers remind me it’s ok to be human, to genuinely share what you feel.  I’m not perfect, and that’s ok.  Thank you for all the kind words, the sentiment for my family, and for showing me the love on the other side of that cold hard camera I’m looking into every morning.