When I was asked by one of Blake's friends to write about grief during the holidays for Buzzfeed, I felt really honored. First of all, I was so glad they were putting something together about such an important topic. I had been thinking about how this holiday season would be especially difficult, so writing gave me the opportunity to dig deeper into those feelings. I felt like this article could be a great platform to both read other people's insights and strategies as well as share my own.
It came out today, I read it, and unfortunately, I was disappointed.
I really don't know how articles like these work, but I was surprised to see that my words were changed around and some were omitted. I figured that the author would use what I wrote as is, unless he checked with me first. But the most upsetting part wasn't a correction or deletion, it was an addition. After the sentence where I explained my boyfriend Blake died, he tacked on "from a heroin overdose" to the end.
When I wrote my piece, I purposely left out the cause of Blake's death. It's not because I'm embarrassed or ashamed (his family and I have never tried to keep it a secret) it just didn't seem to fit the premise of the article. I never mind if his overdose or addiction are mentioned as a way to teach people, but in this context it just seemed like a gratuitous insertion for shock value. I was under the impression that the article's focus was how to be thankful during Thanksgiving in spite of grief, not drudge up the circumstances of the deaths.
After I allowed myself to vent to my mom and Blake's friend for a little while, I realized that focusing so completely on one tiny aspect of the article stopped me from seeing the bigger picture. Yes, some of the things I wrote were changed. Yes, something was added that I felt strayed from the point. But not only did I get across my gratitude for the friends and family Blake brought me, there were also 12 other beautiful stories shared. As I read them, I started crying. Although everyone went through a significant loss, each person found a way to make the holiday special by honoring their loved ones' memories.
I ended up sharing the article on my Facebook (which was something I originally decided against because I was mad). I realized that regardless of my individual contribution, I am so grateful to be a part of a really important piece with a comforting message. I wanted anyone who has lost a relative, parent, child, sibling, friend, or significant other, to read these stories as a way to inspire and help them get through the holiday season.
Here is the article: