As journalists, it's a coping mechanism to separate ourselves from our stories. There are so many tragic events that wind up in the news, that it would be very difficult to get through each day if we didn't try to block out the sadness. Sometimes, you just can't help but to feel a story. One of the stories that hit me recently was the death of Patrick Kincaid. We had done several stories on fundraisers for the 11-year old with a heart condition. I had never met him, but he seemed to full of life in the clips I saw. When he passed away following surgery in March, there were several in the newsroom that shared in the grief for Patrick.
Friday, I covered an event at Patrick's school, Worthington Elementary. The school held a mini Relay for Life and for the final part of the day's festivities, students had a balloon launch. Each student had a purple balloon that they could tie the name of a loved one to before releasing it into the sky. While Patrick Kincaid was not a victim of cancer, teachers told me that many students had Patrick's name on their balloons.
It was mild and overcast day. The clouds had been so thick that the sun hadn't had a chance to come out. I watched for about 20 minutes as the teachers distributed the balloons to students, giving stern warnings not to release them until it was time. When all of the students had their balloons, the teachers instructed the students to let all of the balloons go as soon as they started playing a song.
When the students finally let the balloons go, it was very calming sight. Hundreds of purple balloons gracefully danced up to the sky. You could tell the students were mesmerized. It's not often you find a group of elementary-aged kids silenced. But I observed something even more remarkable that day. All day, the sky had been gray and dreary. The second the balloons were released, the sun poked through the clouds and didn't go away until nightfall. It turned out to be a picture-perfect afternoon.
Perhaps the sun coming out at that exact moment was just a coincidence. I like to think it was something more.