I just wanted to write you with regards to an alteration you made in my article, “Locked In” (Features, October 11, pages 8-10). While editing, you changed the following passage:
“And when each member of my family was given some time to talk with him, spend with him and then finally comfort him as he took his last breath, looked up and then retreated into himself, it was easier to accept because my father had been given, all things considered, the most comfortable death possible.”
“And when each member of my family was given some time to talk with him and then finally comfort him as he took his last breath, he looked up and then retreated into himself. It was easier to accept this because my father had been given, all things considered, the most comfortable death possible.”
This revision changes the entire substance of that memory. It disrupts the conversational rhythm with an unnecessary transition and made my account emotionally inaccurate. I would like to share this article with my friends and family with whom that memory resonates. However, I don’t feel like the crucial section – where I wrote for the first time about my dad’s death – is described in the way that I wrote it. I’m taken aback by the oversight in making such a decision without my consent. While I recognize that you have the authority to make ad hoc decisions on edits, and exercised this a few times elsewhere in the piece with varying degrees of competence, this particular decision was drastic and, speaking frankly, hurtful. Unless you are 100% sure that you are more equipped than I am to describe my father’s death, and I’m operating under the assumption that you aren’t, I think such a revision was unnecessary and unprofessional without clearing it by me.
U4 English Literature