Most people have some kind of story about a person who deeply affected them, supporting and inspiring their efforts. Someone who generally changed their life for the better.
Alice Morrin was one of those people to me.
Alice was an assignment editor at Fox 61, working shifts opposite of me. She had this way about her that could simply be described as, well, caring.
Former anchor Rebecca Stewart put it best, saying “A newsroom can be a cynical place, but she brought joy and optimism with her every day. She had a smile for everyone who walked through the door, and she was genuinely excited to learn about our lives and our families.”
It was enough to make this young cynic first question whether a person could actually be so genuine. But soon after she started it was obvious Alice was truly one of the kindest, most thoughtful, and best humans in existence.
We got to be good friends in our three years working together. She was the “Connecticut Mom” to the young reporters. Holidays she would have the younger reporters over for dinner and bring me leftovers at work. I would stay late on weekends and we would chat and joke around. Alice kindly tolerated hearing the antics of this twenty-something catching up on his fading youth.
When I started picking up photography, she was first in line with nothing but words of strong encouragement. She believed in me. It was sad irony that my first published photograph would be her obituary photo.
Alice was murdered five years ago yesterday.
It happened just before midnight, a murder/suicide. We would report on domestic violence cases frequently, but they didn’t have a personal urgency. It didn’t affect me. Then it suddenly did, with a telephone call at 4 a.m. Truth is that one in 4 women will experience domestic violence. If you claim not to know someone, it’s only because they haven’t told you or you haven’t noticed.
All the warning signs were there. She was getting a divorce, finalizing four days after her murder. When he called the office, she’d have me to make up excuses why she couldn’t talk. He controlled the bank accounts. She had a secret phone for calling and texting friends. I saw all the warning signs. I just didn’t know to look for something other than bruises.
Like many of Alice’s other friends, I help out Interval House. They’re a domestic violence shelter, and a great source of confidential help if anyone you know may be a victim of domestic violence.
Since then every good opportunity seems like a gift from Alice. Every goal to achieve is because she wants me to. When things look shitty, I’ll hear her voice driving me forward. Everything good is because she’s keeping an eye out. I may not think about her as often anymore, but it hurts just as badly every time I do.