Darkness in the Sunshine

On perhaps the most beautiful day of the year so far, working on the stunning Dorset coast, I found myself in the midst of darkness.

I was covering the loss of the three Weymouth and Portland fishermen, following the sinking of their boat last week.  And it was an emotional experience.

I spoke to many people who knew the men, and read the scores of tributes which had been left all along the quayside in Weymouth.  And it was impossible to come away without feeling very moved, and deeply saddened.  The men were Dorset born and raised, well-known, and very much loved.

Whilst on the quayside, I was asked by a couple who knew the men - and very kindly, I thought - about how I cope with such difficult times.  It's a very good question, and one I've often asked myself.  Dan does the same in the tvdetective books, and it's some of what he thinks that I think is the answer.

Firstly, every single one of such reports he produces, he always remembers. It's the humanity of such a sudden, unexpected, and utterly unfair loss.  Dan says it etches an indelible mark on the heart, and I'd certainly agree with that.

Secondly, such times can be highly emotionally charged, and the media may be less than welcome.  I tell myself that if it wasn't me doing the reporting, it would be someone else, and they may handle it less sensitively.

Thirdly, and perhaps most importantly, I always try to get what I say just right - not only accurate, but well-judged and appropriate.  Thoughtless or careless words can really hurt, so I do my best to reflect the people who have been lost in the way their friends and family would wish.

It was very emotional this week, but a particular moment lifted me as we left the quay that evening. A member of one of the men's families told me she thought we had been very respectful and sensitive in the way we conducted ourselves and compiled our report.

And that meant a great deal to me.

I said it at the time, but I'd like to say it again here - my thoughts go with the family and friends of David, Robert and Jack.

Finally, if you don't mind, I won't choose a favourite song to go with this blog, as has been the tradition of late.  It just doesn't feel right.  I'll wait until the sun is shining unmarred once more.