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Friday, Dec. 6, 2013
A tragic week; hopefully next week will be betterPosted Saturday, June 6, 2009, at 4:41 PM
This was a tragic week involving death and it was one of those weeks as a news reporter I wish would never happen.
Reporters are taught to be neutral, unbiased, and not involved in their stories. But I have to admit two stories which I have been writing about in recent weeks ended tragically this week and I was touched.
I come from the "old school" that says you need to write with passion and convey that emotion to your readers with your written words.
Death and dying are commonplace in the newspaper business.
I read once that on average more than 150,000 people die every day on this planet. That's two people per second and over a million corpses a week.
All too often the sting of death strikes close to home in our families and in our communities.
It hurts, even at times when we don't personally know the individuals or their families.
I, like many others in this community, wanted to cry when I heard that 10-year-old Nicholas "Nick" Decker had lost his fight against some very tall medical odds and passed away last Friday night.
Nick is the 10-year-old Bloomfield boy who was severely burned in an accident in Scotland on April 18.
His friend, 11-year-old Joshua Merritt, who was also burned over more than 90 percent of his body, remains in critical condition in the burn unit at Riley Children's Hospital in Indianapolis.
We were pulling for Nick to make it and will continue to lift up Josh in prayer.
You know 10-years-old is much too young to die.
On Tuesday, I received the news that the body of Esther Risher, the 93-year-old rural Linton woman who had been missing for nearly seven days, had been found near the West Fork of the White River -- close to Wheatland in Knox County.
I never knew Esther, but writing about her disappearance reminded me of my own mother and grandmothers.
She had that special look that made you feel like you knew her and I really wanted this to end on a happy note.
There was some glimmer of hope when an Illinois woman came forth with information that she had seen and talked to Esther three different times on May 26 -- the same day Esther was reported missing.
I talked with Margie Gaffney, of Fairmount, Ill., and she has no doubt the woman she saw about three hours after she was last seen on North Main Street in Linton was Esther.
Esther did have some ties in the Danville, Ill. She may have been in confused state and somehow managed to get to Danville.
She formerly worked as a registered nurse at Lakeview Memorial Hospital and had taught practical nursing at Danville Community College, both in Danville.
Officials estimate that she had been dead for at least four days, so the timeline could be established that put her in the Danville area just as Gaffney contends.
I know from talking with Margie that she feels terrible about what happened. She feels responsible because she believes she talked to Esther several times on May 26 and at the time she didn't know she was missing.
To her, Esther appeared to be a sweet elderly lady who was lost and confused. Margie helped her find directions and left her feeling that everything was going to be OK.
How many times have any of us done something that we wish we could do over again and do it differently?
Margie shouldn't blame herself for the way this story turned out. She didn't know.
I am so glad -- if this had to end tragically -- that law officials were able to locate Esther's body and give her grieving family some closure.
By all accounts she was a very wonderful, special lady, who still volunteered as a Pink Lady the Greene County General Hospital -- trying to help others.
You know this was one of those weeks when this old hard-nosed news reporter just wanted to go home and give each of his family members a long hug and say how much he appreciates them and cherishes all they do and say.
We need to treasure the years we have and rest in the goodness and mercy of the Lord and know that everything is done in his perfect timing.
Hopefully, next week will be better.
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