| Payton North
Due to deadlines and print schedules, I often write columns weeks before it will be read by readers. For example, at the beginning of October, I wrote my November Go Local magazine editors note.
Naturally, as I sat down to write that note, I realized I needed to pen the traditional “Happy Thanksgiving” message. And at the time, I was only two weeks out from the sudden passing of my grandfather. I recall writing something along the lines of, “…this year does not feel quite like a ‘Happy Thanksgiving,’ rather I prefer simply, ‘Thanksgiving.’”
But, as time passes and the season of giving and being grateful approaches, I can feel the ice thawing around my emotions, allowing a bit of warmth and light to shine through. And a lot of that thaw has been due to the outpouring of support I recently received from readers in my email inbox.
I have had countless conversations with folks in my life about how I struggle with writing editorials. I tend to gravitate toward writing pieces that are more emotional, or ones that I can hopefully connect with readers on. I have gone back and forth on whether these types of pieces are valuable. I have had many questioning moments of, “What is the purpose for sharing this personal piece of my life with 240,000 strangers? Why would anyone care?”
The last editorial I wrote that appeared in our newspapers was my recounting of the events that surrounded my grandfather’s passing. It was personal — so personal, that before moving forward with the story, I let my grandma and parents read it and decide if they were comfortable with me printing so many details about our lives. Kindly, they were.
And I’m thankful they were, because printing that piece was not only cathartic and helped me in my healing process, but also afforded me the opportunity to talk with so many readers. Writing that piece only proved to me that people value a human connection — which is something that many people feel today’s society is missing.
Despite the world of social media and the ability to connect with people across the globe, we have never been more insular.
Our society has become so self-interested that we are not just forgetting to put ourselves in another person’s shoes to understand their hardships — but we don’t want to, because we don’t care.
The response from my last editorial was heartening. People — certainly people in Western Massachusetts — do care. I received countless emails of support, of sorrow, of shared experiences. People who offered a poem, a song, a personal memory. I have never in my nearly seven years with The Reminder seen such an outpouring of encouragement.
So, while I count my blessings and what I am grateful for this year — and there is so much for me to be thankful for — I wanted to say thank you to our readers for offering comforting words, and for proving to me that people do still care about one another. People do still value human connection; people are looking out for each other. You have proven to me that there is immense value in writing about shared experiences.
Thank you, readers, for picking up our papers each week and advertisers for supporting our hard work and believing in our products. Finally thank you to the news team and The Reminder staff who works so diligently to put out countless products each year.
And even though I am still so sad, it won’t be just “Thanksgiving” this year — it is going to be a happy one.