It's been a long time since I've been in a newsroom during breaking news. In recent years, I've been part of the team - and there's a certain amount of excitement that goes with that, even when the news is tragic.
But today, as the news unfolded, I was lost in my own world, buried in two different stories - one that I was writing for later in the week (a draft was due by the end of the day) and one that I was reporting, switching gears when my calls were returned. I knew there was breaking news. I knew it was a big deal. I knew there had been a shooting at Virginia Tech. I read about the skyrocketing death toll - but then the phone would ring and I'd start interviewing someone for my other story.
Even after work, on the Metro, I couldn't get a good strong signal on my phone and just gave up trying to surf the Web. I got lost in the music on my iPod for the rest of the train ride out of the city. It wasn't until the ten-minute drive from the train station to home that it really hit me.
A radio announcer was talking about what had happened. He was talking about the families, how they never would have suspected, how their lives are forever changed, how - in a moment... well, you know. And then he reminded of what we all know - never take tomorrow for granted. Tell those you love that you love them. Today. And take an extra moment for that "see you tonight, have a great day' moment in the morning. When I walked into the house, I went up to each of them - Stacy, Alex, Zack and even Nick. A hug and an "I Love You" for each of them... just in case they didn't know.