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Monica Bielanko
A chronicle since 2005 of my marriage & move to Brooklyn in my twenties; becoming a mother in my thirties; moving to Pennsylvania and learning to amicably coparent after divorce in my forties while living 3 doors down from my ex-husband in a small country town.
That's What She Said
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« Newsletter: Month Eleven | Main | The Great Experiment: Open Topic »
Friday
Dec182009

Why don't the newscasters cry when they read about people who die? At least they could be decent enough to put just a tear in their eyes.

"I think I hit a dog."
"What?"
"I. Think. I. Hit. A. Dog."

The photographer I had just sent to breaking news was calling me. He was supposed to be at the scene of a murder-suicide. A 36-year old man had shot his wife and two young sons, texted friends and family about it before killing himself. We were tipped off shortly after the 9PM newscast began. I immediately scrambled a reporter and photographer to the scene. The reporter was there, waiting for the live truck to arrive so we could get a live shot up before the end of the newscast. But the man driving that live truck was calling me.

"I think I just hit a dog."
"What do you mean? Is it dead?"
"I don't know. I think so. Should I go back?"

I paused. I did. I paused. Telling him to stop, to turn around and go back would mean I wouldn't get the live shot.

"Go back! Turn around and go back!" Fuck the live shot.

He called ten minutes later. "I killed the dog. This guy, he was walking his dogs off leash. It was dark."

Goddammit.

It'd been a rough day already. For nearly two weeks now we've been covering the disappearance of 28-year old Susan Powell. Mother of two sons. Wife. Husband says he took the young boys camping at midnight last week in freezing temperatures and when he came home Susan was gone. Without her wallet and cell phone. Family says there's no way Susan would allow those boys to go camping in that weather, nor would she leave them. Husband acts fishy, lawyers up.

All I can think about is this poor mother's body stashed underground somewhere and her boys wondering where could their mama be? Where is she? I can't help it. I'm jaded. I study Josh Powell's face, his words, his actions. What happened to your wife? Police play it cool, continuing the investigation, never really vocalizing what everyone is thinking: WHY AREN'T YOU OUT SEARCHING FOR YOUR WIFE?

I drove home sobbing. Aching so bad inside it was hard to breathe. Dead children, dead dog, missing mama. It's all just so much sometimes, isn't it?

Reader Comments (10)

i was watching coverage of the susan powell story yesterday morning ... they showed a shot of her husband and i couldn't help but think, "give her family some peace, you lying son of a bitch" ... maybe after lacy peterson our minds automatically go there, but what a ridiculous story and why on earth wouldn't you cooperate with the police when the mother of your children is missing!!?? i can't imagine what it must be like for you to live with these stories everyday.

December 18, 2009 | Unregistered Commentermichelle

So sorry Monica, for all involved.

December 18, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDaycare Lady

So sad. You know, often times the burden of a person's grief is just too heavy for them to bear. It's people, like you, Monica, who have compassion and can show empathy which make life bearable. Here is a song I wrote about bearing other people's burdens. It's called 'Held'.

the randomness, the senselessness
you strive to make life count and then it comes to this
and in the end you're left with pain
and someone writes a song and it just seems inane

there is no way to justify, find meaning in your loss, you know
but still we try
there are no words you need to hear
you only want the comfort, and it seems so clear

it's in our hearts, we want to take
your misery, to share your grief and ease the ache
well-meaning words, it's just the thought
and sinking down, too weak to stand
with arms you're caught

held up and loved in silence there
is something more than words can say to show we care
just being there.

December 20, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterGina

you handle it all so well in the newsroom. we all look to you. a good boss.

December 20, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMeg

oh it is... a big hug...

December 20, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterana_jo

I don't know how anyone who works in news doesn't get like this every day. Just watching the news upsets me. I respect journalists so much though when it's obvious their heart is involved (as is obvious with you).

December 21, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRachel

I grew up with Josh Powell, but I can't say I really knew him other than always trying not to have to sit next to him in Sunday school (he was always that guy). But still this whole thing has totally freaked me out. It's been 2 weeks, when are they gonna arrest the bastard?

December 21, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDanielle

Sorry sorry Sweetie!
It is so weird because I feel like I know you so well because of being addicted to your writing, you're like my best friend "in my head"!!! I just feel so horrible for you. Too much sadness!!! Go home & hold "Lippy McLipperson" (Violet) & order The Surge to make her laugh (from the video on Flicker, I can see he is VERY good at it!!), and I promise you'll feel a tad better.
BTW- What the F-CK is wrong with me, that out of that whole entry, I feel the most sadness about the dog? Is that bad?

December 21, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterGiac

It definitely is. Only since I've been in recovery and sort of separately come to truly believe there is more than just this Earthly life, do I find it remotely bearable. Be gentle with yourself.

December 22, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLL

What a horrible day! I'm so sorry. I love that you sent the cameraman back to the dog, though. Poor dog. Very kind of you.

January 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMrs. Sitcom

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