Last week was a rough week at work.
I've been at this job for more than 17 years, and I can't remember too many like last week.
It started off OK, but late Monday night set the tone for the rest of the week. It was Feb. 20, and most people had been off for President's Day. I was just settling down with a cup of tea and was checking Facebook when I saw an entry that there had been a bad crash on Route 543 near Wheel Road, not far from my house.
The early reports were that three people had already died, police were looking for a possible fourth. An accident in which three people are killed is tragic, but it's infinitely compounded when the three killed are siblings, and young siblings at that.
The Bauguess brothers, David, 29, and Joseph, 17, and their sister, Ashley, 24, who had gone to Aberdeen High School, all died in that crash.
But I didn't know that when I got there, and I went into work mode. My job was to get what information I could and get it out to our readers, these days that means getting it to our online site, http://www.exploreharford.com. When I get in that mode, I don't think about the ramifications, I just do what I need to do.
It reminded me of 9/11. That day I woke up to reports of planes hitting the World Trade Center towers. Then, planes crashed into the Pentagon and in western Pennsylvania. Thousands of people died that dreadful day.
But as I was listening to the news reports that morning, I also went into work mode. I knew Harford County would be affected, whether it was the sheriff's office, the local government, the schools, Aberdeen Proving Ground or just its residents in general. So, I hustled into the office and got to work. We covered the angles we needed to cover for our paper the next day. It was a busy, hectic day and we were all working hard to meet our deadline.
It wasn't until about 10 that night I had time to really comprehend what happened to our country. And once I began to understand, I was devastated. I went into a back room and just cried – for the loss of lives, for the invasion of our country, for everything 9/11 meant. It was awful.
That's similar to how I felt the night of Feb. 20 (the morning of Feb. 21, actually). Once I got my story written and pictures uploaded, I had a few minutes to think about the crash and the aftermath of it I had just seen.
As a mom, I can't comprehend losing either of my children. It's got to be the hardest thing for a parent to go through. Losing both of them at the same time – I'm not sure how you learn to deal with that. It's got to take an incredibly strong person.
But as the Bauguess' stepfather said, they died together. "I guess God meant it to be," John Farmer said.
A few days later, we learned of the death of Randy Worthington, of Havre de Grace. He died in an accidental shooting at his property on Aldino Road in Churchville.
I didn't know Mr. Worthington well, but I worked for his brother, John Worthington IV, former publisher of The Aegis, for a long time. Some of my colleagues knew him much better.
Mr. Worthington's friends and colleagues talked about what a dedicated person Mr. Worthington was, how much he meant to Upper Chesapeake Health and how generous he was.
It was his generosity I witnessed at a Harford County Liquor Control Board meeting a few weeks ago. Mr. Worthington was a member of that board, which recently reviewed a request for a one-day liquor license. The non-profit organization had never made any money, and any losses were made up for by its founder and president, who was seeking the one-day license for a fundraiser.
Mr. Worthington seemed moved by Lorraine Bailey-Carter's efforts, and bought two tickets to her fundraiser on the spot. Just wrote her a check. It was a heartwarming moment and an obvious sign of his generosity.
Last Thursday, Feb. 23, just as we were wrapping up one of our papers, two people were hurt in separate crashes within a couple hours of each other. Fortunately both survived.
But later that night, just as I was heading to bed, I heard on the scanner someone had been hit by a train in Havre de Grace. The reports were gruesome, so I wasn't surprised when I heard last Friday morning that the person was killed.
As if all that weren't enough, parts of Harford County started to smell bad last Friday morning, particularly in Havre de Grace. It was just a smell, nothing more, but it was enough to keep volunteer firefighters busy for a few hours tracking down what turned out to be fumes from a gasoline refinery leak in New Jersey.
In general, it was just a week for bad news, more bad news than I can remember in a long time. Maybe doing this job for so long, I've gotten a little cold and hardened by what I've written about and seen, but last week was a tough one. And if it's tough for me, there are a lot of other people who are out there suffering, much closer to those horrifying situations than I was.
Fortunately, it's not always like that. When we have weeks like this, I take a deep breath, hug my kids and husband just a little longer and thank God that I'm only writing about it, not living it.