Grief. Most of us know what it is. Part of a photojournalist’s job is to cover grief, whether it’s a funeral for a fallen soldier, the pain of losing a loved one, or losing the championship football game .

Some may not like what we do, but one person’s pain may involve community wide grieving and these stories need to be told.

Such has been the case during the past two weeks here in Sonoma County.  The tragic deaths of the Maloney family in Sonoma and the untimely shooting death of Alejandro Ortega in Santa Rosa or Montgomery High School football players in remorse about a loss in the championship game.  Very different assignments, but all have an element of grief and healing.

kp1204_Maloney_walkMaloney family and friends follow a bagpipe procession on East Napa Street in Sonoma to Murphy’s Irish Pub, Friday Dec. 4, 2009 after a memorial service at the Sonoma Community Center for the family of Susan Maloney, 42, her husband, John, 45, and their children Grace, 5, and Aiden, 8.  The four were killed Saturday night in car accident at Highway 37 and Lakeville Highway.  By Kent Porter / The Press Democrat

kp1209_Funeral_casketFriends of Alejandro Ortega mourn his death at St. Rose Church, Dec. 9, 2009 in Santa Rosa.  Ortega was gunned down near Moorland Ave. and Neville Way early Saturday morning Nov. 28, 2009. By Kent Porter / The Press Democrat

kp1204_DoveAt Prestwood Elementary School in Sonoma, Friday, Dec. 4, 2009, from left, teachers Roberta Trevino, Kristi Draluck, Mary Mellinger and district Supe. Pamela Martens, release doves in remembrance of the Maloney family.   By Kent Porter / The Press Democrat

kp1211_DejectMontgomery quarterback Max Heller and receiver Justin Mendoza embrace after playing their last football game together in the NCS final loss to Eureka, 30-17 at Rohnert Park, Friday Dec. 11, 2009.  By Kent Porter / The Press Democrat