The hard­est week

The Compass - - EDITORIAL - Ni­cholas Mercer nmercer@cb­n­com­pass.ca

Trib­ute sto­ries. I’ve done any num­ber of them be­fore for this pa­per and others.

They gen­er­ally fol­low the same for­mula. Mix a hu­mourous anec­dote in with an emo­tional telling of what the sub­ject meant to their fam­ily.

This one was go­ing to be sim­i­lar.

Now, telling some­one’s story isn’t a job I take lightly. At any time, you’re catch­ing a per­son on the best or worst day of their life.

It’s a heavy re­spon­si­bil­ity hav­ing to let strangers know how this per­son is feel­ing or how they af­fected the lives of those around them.

But, it’s my job and I take great pride in do­ing it.

This week of­fered some­thing a bit dif­fer­ent. It of­fered a fiveyear-old girl from Car­bon­ear pulled from a burn­ing home on Hay­den Heights April 24.

Tragic by it­self, but even more so when you con­sider the cir­cum­stances around it. A girl al­legedly aban­doned by a man who she called dad, but might not have de­served the ti­tle.

It’s a sce­nario that rips at you. You strug­gle with it; grap­pling with the gamut of emo­tions it pulls out of you.

It makes you an­gry. It makes you sad and it makes you re­al­ize that life is pre­cious and short.

You want to punch a wall in frus­tra­tion or scream at the heav­ens that it isn’t fair.

Par­ents are sup­posed to be there for you, you know?

It makes cov­er­ing a story like this dif­fi­cult. Imag­in­ing what her mother and ex­tended fam­ily is go­ing through only pulls you in deeper.

I don’t think I’ll ever for­get Quinn Lorna-Kay Butt. The vi­sion of a care­free five-year-old danc­ing through a for­est is never go­ing to go away. I know that.

On a fresh snow­fall, I’ll re­mem­ber her smile and her red sweater. I’ll re­mem­ber the 3,000 peo­ple who showed up to St. Fran­cis soc­cer field in Har­bour Grace and the heart­break­ing level of sup­port shown around the world.

Did you know Dis­ney World paid trib­ute to Quinn?

That just cuts at you. Think­ing about it brings tears to your eyes. Writ­ing about was even worse.

There were plenty of times where I stopped mid-sen­tence; the weight of the sit­u­a­tion over­whelm­ing me.

Cov­er­ing this story has been a chal­lenge. We’re en­cour­aged to show em­pa­thy in our work. We’re en­cour­aged to put our­selves in the mind­set of our sub­jects.

Gen­er­ally, I try not to be­cause I don’t want to write from a place of emo­tion. I find it can cloud what I’m try­ing to say in my writ­ing.

You couldn’t here and I strug­gled with it.

It’s a soul-sear­ing story. Stuff like this changes you.

Man, what a week.

Gen­er­ally, I try not to be­cause I don’t want to write from a place of emo­tion. I find it can cloud what I’m try­ing to say in my writ­ing. You couldn’t here and I strug­gled with it. It’s a soul-sear­ing story. Stuff like this changes you.

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