A roller coaster is a wonderful thing. The anxiety of the lift hill and the thrill of the drops and various gravitational forces. Up-and-down we go on the tracks until we reach the station.
However, the roller coaster, in our case, is only a over-simplified metaphor for a complex series of events that occur over one holiday weekend. Ask any photojournalist about the roller coaster of emotions and energy that certain days or weeks can bring us and they will tell you that there is a certain thrill to the experience as we work through the difficult times and the good times. After the twists, dips and curves of the events, there is no feeling better then pulling back into the station, wherever and whenever we find ourselves.
The first assignment was sent out earlier in the week before my days off leading to the holiday. Staring at me was the funeral for slain toddler Jada Justice. I've been working her abduction/murder story since it broke in June and I was saddened but not surprised to find out of her unfortunate death.
For those not up to speed on the Jada Justice story - go here to read Jon Seidel's encompassing story on it that appeared in the Post-Tribune on June 27.
It's a hard thing to document funerals in general and especially tough for a child. It's important to keep a level of professionalism but you would be stupid to not have it effect your psyche at some level. I made peace with this horrendous incident and story before getting to the funeral. I knew what I was walking into and was prepared physically and mentally for the experience, but 18 months ago, I'm unsure how I would have reacted.
One of the oddest things about this job is the 180 degree turns we have to make as we work through our day. I filed the pictures of Jada's funeral and drove hastily to Hobart for the Pet Parade.
Finished the night with some minor league baseball which served as a nice mellow point.
A cool breeze was coming off the lake as the air begun to get downright cool as the day faded away with my view of the field from the foul pole in right field.
A morning of chores and rest before two easy assignments. A July 4th parade in Crown Point and an Naturalization Ceremony in Hammond. Calm and happy events that were finished and filed before my deadline. I sat in my chair in my living room as I waited for my shift to finally end at 10pm.
I could see the disappointment in my wife's eyes as i left. No fireworks tonight.
Parking outside the park, i saw a masses of humanity making their way out, some wrapped in white linen after getting out of the lake. We run to the danger with only cameras and notepads while others get away. I mean we can''t hold to a candle to the cops and firefighters who run into it, but we still do what we can.