The calendar says spring is here. It's time to leave behind the winter of my discontent.

And what a long one it's been.

This is the first time I've seen winter span five months. It began in November with bitter cold air and lasted until now.

Homes sustained roof damage from ice buildup. Some homeowners complained of interior water damage. On top of that, home heating costs have skyrocketed.

Plus, there were more icy roads and chain-reaction traffic accidents this winter than any time in recent memory.

Health has been an issue for many, too. Apparently, influenza hit full force this winter, along with bronchitis, pneumonia, a stomach bug, and sinus infections. Bad news.

I suppose it would be only fitting then, to cap it with the most perplexing tragedy in the history of aviation.

People are trying to get their heads around the disappearance of a Boeing 777 with 239 people aboard. It happened two weeks ago and has stumped experts.

Investigators believe the Malaysian Airlines plane was seized, possibly by a pilot or crew member.

As of this writing, they're saying a puzzling, technical flight plan was entered into the computer. The Boeing 777 is a relatively new jet, they say, and few folks have expertise and training to program such details. As a result, they're calling the event a possible "pilot suicide," suggesting the passengers are deceased. Naturally, we hope such isn't the case.

But many in the media are getting it wrong.

If, indeed, the flight crashed and if the crash was due to purposeful intent by one of the pilots, it's not a "pilot suicide."

What it should be called is mass murder. In that situation, only one of the 239 deaths is a possible suicide. The other 238 would be cold-blooded murder engineered by a sick and twisted mind, whether pilot, crew member, religious zealot or deranged passenger.

This is assuming only one person was responsible. Those details remain to be seen.

Whatever the case, I hope the plane is found and the families can begin healing. It won't be easy.

Murder is unlike any other cause of death. It leaves a dagger in the heart of affected family members.

The healing process moves slowly in that kind of situation. Why? For one, newspapers and other media tend to sensationalize murder coverage and prolong it for their own purposes.

At its worst, it surpasses the public's right to know and becomes a sadistic form of tabloid journalism. The Golden Rule no longer applies. Traditional Christian values are tossed out the window. News coverage like that is sad on many levels. Good judgment and ethics are too important to be discarded at the devilish offer of opportunity.

For family members of a murder victim, the dagger can be twisted and pushed deeper by media in public displays of poor taste and profound lack of judgment and empathy. That type of coverage forces the family, already suffering, to endure additional pain under a pretense of right to know, even when that mission already has been fulfilled. One wouldn't understand unless one's been through it. But to a crime victim's family, it becomes crystal clear. Take my word.

In any case, it's been a winter of discontent for many. But springtime arrived this week and it's never been more welcome. I, for one, am looking forward with optimism, strengthened by a hard-earned boost in wisdom.

I'll delight in the basics bursts of crocuses, daffodils and a promise of new life and a new beginning.

It sounds trite, but when summer comes, I'll take time to smell the roses. I intend to enjoy each new day and bask in the warmth of summer sun.

The reality is we're here for a short, biological visit. It's up to each of us to make the most.

Eleanor Roosevelt put it this way: "Happiness is not a goal; it's a byproduct of a life well lived."

She was right. It's time to be happy. Time to live well.