BlogHer '10 Speaker Spotlight, July 13, 2010: Grief, Loss, Tragedy and Community on the Internet

BlogHer Original Post

One of the greatest things bloggers experience is being surrounded and loved by others when they blog about their personal lives. One of the most difficult things bloggers experience is the backlash they sometimes receive when they blog about their most heart-wrenching circumstances. So let's talk about it. Let's talk about the good, the community, the Internet love, and let's discuss the bad, how we deal publicly with our tragedy, and how we protect ourselves from becoming bogged down with our grief. This session is titled: "Grief, Loss, Tragedy and Community on the Internet."

Here's the description:

How do you blog your deepest losses? How do you help when your blogging friend goes through something unimaginable? What happens when it’s not all rainbows and helpful unicorns? When you get both positive and negative attention? How do you deal with grief, loss and tragedy in a public, naked way? How do you walk the line between grieving, and not becoming defined by your loss?

Meet the speakers:

Cecily Kellogg moderates this discussion on grief and Internet community. She began blogging during her struggle with infertility, through the termination of her twins at 22 weeks (in order to save her life), and through her daughter's birth. She has seen both sides of the coin, and continues to write about parenting, politics, life, being sober and spirituality, among other things, at

Kim Trimble is a Hurricane Katrina refugee. Last year, she suddenly became a widow when she lost her husband to a brain injury. Her father, who had cancer, passed away nine months later. She continues to use her blog,, to write openly about her deepest sorrows while also keeping their memories alive.

Loralee Choate has blogged at for many years about her family, her deep depression, and her grief. When he was nearly four months old, her infant son died of SIDS. She has written about the circumstances, the regret, the effects, and the heartache that she has endured. Loralee also writes about motherhood, things she loves, blogging, and her life.

Peter and Anissa Mayhew are the team behind, which began as a blog about their family and the cancer her toddler was battling. Her daughter won, but later their family was hit again: Anissa suffered two strokes and a coma, and is now pulling through. Amid these hardships, Peter found himself reaching out to Anissa's Internet community, who rallied around her and provided help and encouragement for their family in real, concrete ways -- something Peter hadn't expected.

How has your community responded when you've blogged your darkest moments? Did they rise up and encourage you, or meet a need in a tangible way? Did you experience backlash that left you angry, questioning yourself, or in a well of despair? How have you managed to overcome those moments, to delineate yourself from the hard times in your life, to protect yourself from the doom-and-gloom of blogging about your grief?

About the Speaker Spotlight Series: BlogHer is excited about our upcoming conferences this summer (yes, conferences, plural: BlogHer Business '10, White House Project Workshop and BlogHer '10 will all be taking place under one roof in New York City this August). Though we may still be a few months away, we figure it's never too early to begin introducing you to our speakers. Over the next many weeks, I'll randomly select a panel or two to highlight each Tuesday. Though the panels are randomly selected, our speakers are not -- we take great care in researching, considering and inviting speakers for each conference, with a special focus on featuring new and diverse voices. We hope you’ll learn a lot, think a lot and jump into lively conversations with these speakers!

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