The answer is to stick together
Reporters try to be objective when covering news.
But that doesn't mean they're devoid of feelings. It's easy to feel passion about a topic.
News can be emotionally draining. It can be powerful, unsettling. And journalists aren't robots.
That said, the past few weeks have been a roller coaster.
Capt. Jason Jones was killed in service to our country. There's no good way to report that kind of news or to soften the impact.
I watched writer Chris Parker emerge from First Methodist Church in Pottsville after spending five hours absorbing every little nuance of a sad, compelling memorial service. I saw the strain on her face and sensed her pain.
My job was to stay outside and interview mourners. That, too, was unnerving.
There are no words to adequately describe how heartbreaking it was and how pervasive the sorrow.
Chris and I hugged before we left, overwhelmed by sadness.
Jones represented the best of our youth. He also embodied a continuing fight for freedom, guaranteeing our rights as Americans.
The importance of rights came into play just days later when I met and interviewed Crystal and Heather, the first female couple to marry in Carbon County. It was a delight to see their happy son bask in attention from the two women who adore him.
The love in that family is unmistakable. It's tangible and special, and I felt privileged, not merely to write their story, but to become a friend. Without question, their family deserves the same rights and protections as everybody else.
Today is their wedding ceremony, and I wish them the best.
The joy and euphoria of sharing Crystal and Heather's happiness helped to mollify recent grief.
And that was a good thing because the news quickly took another bad turn.
Just days later, I saw 17 others who apparently don't appreciate their freedom. It was a day spent at the police station and at the office of a magisterial district judge as alleged drug dealers and heroin users were rounded up to face charges.
"I love you," yelled spouses and partners as accused druggies were herded into a county van and hauled off to jail.
It's sad to see families broken apart and innocent children hurt. But there's a level of comfort in realizing suspected drug dealers are being taken off our streets.
The comments were revealing.
"I really didn't think he was into drugs," one mother said to me, off the record. "But if he was, then he deserves whatever happens."
Drug use leads to crime. Heroin leads to death. There's nothing "high" about it.
Four days later I was ready to start a one-week vacation but had to delay plans and switch gears.
More horrific news.
A local man missing for one week turned up killed. His body, bludgeoned, was found in the woods.
The shock of that news hit me in a personal way. It was difficult to report. As some know, I'm still dealing with something very similar in my own family from only four months ago.
Sometimes being a reporter is a very difficult job.
There's just no way to cover news like a robot. There's no way to divorce yourself from what you feel inside.
And the older I become, the more emotionally invested.
We live in a terribly screwed up world.
And the news over the past few weeks has been a struggle for all of us.
Our dismay is understandable. We're human. Heartbreaking headlines take a toll.
But when things get bad, my sister and I give each other the same advice.
"Let's stick together," we say. "No matter what happens, we'll stick together."
It works. It brings strength. A sense of unity forges a steel bond in the human spirit.
Recent news has been just too tragic and very hard to accept.
And so for all of us at this moment, let's stick together.