Thursday, December 22, 2011

THE ENDLESS AFTERNOON

Gentle Readers . . .  and Maxwell,

When I was a newspaper reporter, the police scanner was an always chattering presence in the newsroom. Most of the time, we heard nothing of importance.

But one rainy, gray wintry afternoon, something came over the scanner that caught everyone's attention. An elderly couple had been reported missing by their adult children. Their car was gone and they hadn't been seen since the day before. The woman had Alzheimer's Disease. Her husband was her primary caregiver.

Throughout the afternoon, we were glued to the scanner as the police searched. Very little work was accomplished.

Finally, word came. Their car was parked on a country road. They were dead.

The man shot his wife and then killed himself.

We shed more than a few tears in the newsroom that afternoon.

People quite often accuse members of the media of having no hearts. I'm sure some journalists don't. But many of us suffered as we covered stories about families burned out of their homes and groups of people who held fundraisers to help cover the medical care for a terminally ill child.

Yes. We had hearts.

But sometimes we had to hide them so we could interview people without sobbing.

Infinities of love,

Lola

Broken Heart

27 comments:

  1. Sad story =( Its hard to understand why someone would do that. Maybe his wife keep forgetting him day after day and it got to him, that doesnt make it right but maybe gives us insight into what a person has to go through to do this.

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  2. Sad story, but I know these problems...

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  3. I always wondered about that. I had a cousin that did that last year. His wife also had Alzheimers and they had agreed that when she got bad he would kill her then himself. It's so sad but I understand why people do these things. I can't imagine a disease more humiliating than that.

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  4. Hard thing to do, but in that case it is understandable. Must have been quite hard to report on such acts. Except for those who will stomp on anybody and anything to get to the top.

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  5. Great post, Lola. I'm sure I couldn't be a reporter...I'd get far too emotional.

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  6. I think "Craziness abounds" might have hit on it. Some sort of murder/suicide pact. I wouldn't want to live if my mind deteriorated that badly.

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  7. I agree with CRAZINESS ABOUNDS & THE SILVER FOX. I read somewhere that Eskimos used to put their dying loved ones on an ice flow & let them drift peacefully away. Maybe not such a bad idea.......

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  8. Very touching and sad story. Thank you for sharing. My great grandfather would sit in his recliner, watch TV, and listen to his police scanner every night. Not sure why, but he did.

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  9. JDC, It's extremely difficult to take care of someone after Alzheimer's takes hold. It's not a matter of merely becoming forgetful. It's similar to caring for an adult-sized baby who can walk and get into everything and is in diapers. The person can't be left alone for one second. The person plays with whatever happens to be in the diaper. The person is often argumentative, angry, and will strike the caregiver. It's extremely difficult work, even in the somewhat controlled setting of a nursing home. I can't imagine taking care of a person with Alzheimer's at home.

    R and GT, Thanks for reading and commenting.

    Melynda, I have ordered my children to decide how they want to kill me and then do it rather than put me in a nursing home or on a feeding tube. They understand that I know what I'm talking about.

    Pat, People who will stomp to get to the top are desperate. It's hard to be a reporter even in a small venue, with the constant demands for articles and arguments with editors.

    Stephanie, Reporting had lots of fun moments, too. I loved writing editorials and my column. Many articles were fun. And when it was a happy story, people would just about go nuts with joy when I showed up to cover it. I also got stopped in the grocery store and on the street by people who wanted to tell me how much they loved my work. I had a drawer full of thank you notes. I definitely had my 15 minutes of fame, and then some.

    Mr. Fox, People have to make advance plans before the memory-slayer sneaks up on them.

    fishducky, I don't believe I care to float away, but I do want to die at home and be cremated immediately so there's no need for embalming. No coffin. No funeral. Throw my ashes out. Keep it as cheap as possible. I don't want my children handing over their inheritance to a funeral home.

    Joshua, Some people like the police scanners because they want to know what's going on around town. Thank you for your kind comment and thank you for sending the laptop to Padded Cell Princess. That was an incredibly nice thing to do, and I was really touched by your thoughtfulness and generosity.

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  10. Ah sad, my grandmother has Dimensia and its progressing into Alzheimer's. I hope everything goes well.

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  11. I just hope someone does the same kind of thing for me if I ever need it.

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  12. That's a very sad story! I'm sure that everyone has a heart...somewhere... You just got to dig real deep sometimes to find it :)

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  13. I meant to sat ice "FLOE" but the w is right next to the e.

    On a lighter note, my husband & I have decided to eliminate the question of who will inherit our money when we die by pissing away every cent we have now.

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  14. Pat, People who will stomp to get to the top are desperate. It's hard to be a reporter even in a small venue, with the constant demands for articles and arguments with editors.

    I know that all too well during the two years I was at The Signal, first as an intern, then working on the weekend Escape section. I was always at a computer near the sports desk, and across the room were the reporters, which was always a revolving door. The paper never paid enough to expect loyalty. Plus, the reporters were never from this valley, which was to be expected, because no one could take pride enough in this valley to want to explore every crevice and report on what they find. There was only John Boston, who I worked under when he was the editor of the Escape section, who truly loved this valley, but he had been part of the valley decades ago, and it sustained him when he needed it the most. He's still around, but like the rest of us, I'm sure he's happy not to be part of the paper anymore, though it's got to be more painful for him because he was there through 30 years, through many editors and owners, and he was the soul of that paper. When my mom read The Signal back when it was half-decent, she saw that he was so prolific in it that she thought he owned the paper. He was the spirit of this valley too.

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  15. Oh, & I'm not having a BORING funeral. I'm having fireworks to celebrate my life!

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  16. That is a sad story, yet it is oddly beautiful. He couldn't take care of her, watch her suffer any more and he didn't want to live without her. I believe there are still good people out there. Cops, journalists, celebrities etc. Thanks for sharing this story.

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  17. Baur, I've very sorry about your grandmother, and I hope that one person isn't expected to be her caregiver. It's too much for someone to handle alone.

    Joshua, You should speak to one or two family members you trust to make arrangements. You should also have a DNR when you become older, or now, if you have a chronic illness. You also need a will, or better yet, a living trust. Not that I know what I'm talking about. Talk to a lawyer, but don't include the part about making arrangements for your own death. And you didn't hear it from me. And this is not my typing.

    Ms. Fun, My ex-husband has a heart for some other people, but not for me or his children. So it's there. He chooses not to use it.

    My 2 Pesos, Si, es muy triste. Mi corazon es muy triste, todo el tiempo.

    Rory, That's the way it tends to be in small-town journalism. Reporters use it as a stepping stone to a good job, and if they can't get a good job, they turn to some other career. Being at a small paper for 30 years is amazing. Mr. Boston must have been a true believer in the goodness of the area with a great desire to produce a decent newspaper. Lord, I disliked the sports guys. They were such slobs.

    fishducky, Maybe you'll be flying among the fireworks, enjoying everything from above. And I knew what you meant with ice flow/floe.

    Interwebs, Yes, it's sad, but everyday life is a mixture of sad and happy, unless one is stupid enough to be happy about everything or depressed enough to be sad about everything.

    Barb, That's a very insightful comment. Thank you so much.

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  18. Lord, I disliked the sports guys. They were such slobs.

    The ones at my paper weren't slobs, but those frat egos were just loads of fun. Obnoxiously.

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  19. Dear Lola dont be sad, I just arrive now Iwas only all day out!! Im reslly tired:) and now I saw I dont answers commets today(lol) I come only to see you, sleep well dear, :))

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  20. Rofy, Frat Boy = Stupid Ass

    Querida Gloria, No soy triste. Soy muy bonita.

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  21. I know Lola, I know but sometimes all we are sad, I know you are so pretty:))) and nice(lol)

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  22. Goodness, how terribly sad. :(

    Beautifully written. *Hugs*

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  23. Allen, Yup.

    Frisky, Thank you, dear.

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