When I first started out at the Daily paper I would sit at my desk wishing for something, anything, to happen.
I wanted a murder, a wreck, a fire — I wasn’t being picky. I wished for murder, mayhem and madness.
Now, it still gives me something to do. I still have a story to find, a lead to chase and a death to investigate … but I’m not wishing for it.
Today, I found out there was a fatal fire over 24 hours previous to my arrival at work and no one had reported on it. Not anyone at my paper, or any other news agency.
I haven’t had to go after a story in a while and it felt nice to be, as they say, back on the horse.
I was calling the fire departments, the police station and bugging neighbors. I was crossing across neighbors’ backyards to get a peek at the scene.
Then, I had to speak with some of the victim’s friends. While I am getting good at separating myself, I know I’ll never get it down.
The man killed was a husband, a father. Luckily, his family was not at the home when the fire erupted.
I realize, now, murder and mayhem seem fine in books but in reality there’s a person, a friend and a family member behind the name that I write about.
I wish for less of the murders, less fires and less sadness. I wish I could reach out to the people I’m talking with as tears roll down their cheeks and they struggle to speak.
I do what I can, but it’s not enough. I don’t have enough in me to comfort someone who has just suffered a loss. I can offer them a kind word on a printed page, but that’s the best I can do.
It’s tough having to sit on the sidelines of death and, while it will inevitably be the main cause for me to find another career, I hope I never become callous to it.