Below is a picture of a letter that a mother in the Durham area wrote to a neighbour with an autistic son. It’s hateful and disturbing. She did not sign her name, and police are now trying to find out who she is:
My Response to Her Letter:
To the mother who wrote this letter:
I could write a hateful letter in response to what you’ve said to your neighbour, it would be the logical response, wouldn’t it? Instead, after thinking about it for a while and letting my own anger at your words be felt and safely put away, I would rather say: you need help.
The right thing for you to do at this moment would be to knock on your neighbour’s door, kneel down and beg for her forgiveness. Tell her you’re sorry for all the hurtful, hateful things you said. Ask her if there is anything you can do to make her life easier since you’ve probably broken her heart.
Once you’ve apologized then it’s time for you to address your anger. It’s time to ask yourself:
- “How could I write such hurtful things?”
- “What was I thinking?”
- “How can I be a better person from here on out?”
- “How can I be a better example for my own children?”
If you disagree with me and think the letter you wrote was an effective way to solve a problem, then I want you to think of this: Would you be proud to show your children that letter? Would you boast to them about how every word was written by you, their mother?
If your answer is “No”, then in your heart you must know that what you did was wrong. It was a hate crime, plain and simple.
Right now, as your letter has been exposed on social media sites and even the news, you’re probably shaking with fear that you’ll be found out. You didn’t sign your name to the letter, perhaps because what you wrote was extreme and mean. Perhaps because you feared the response you might get. Well, you’re sure getting a response now, aren’t you?
I wonder if you’re remorseful for saying the things you said or just regretful that you let your anger get the best of you; and now people will find out how ugly and mean you can be.
A lot of people want you exposed. They want a name and a face to attach to the letter. You may have thought you were being brave by writing how you truly felt. But if you were really brave you would have invited your neighbour over for a coffee and taken a risk, saying something like this:
“I feel horrible for feeling the way I do, irritated by the noise, uncomfortable because I don’t understand your grandson’s illness, so I wanted to talk to you about it. Maybe learn more about the struggles the two of you face every day, so I can be more compassionate rather than annoyed. I’m not trying to mean. I’ve just never been exposed to a situation like this before and I want to work with you so I can learn to adapt…”
Sure this still might make you seem insensitive and even selfish, but nonetheless it would make you seem human…not inhumane as you were.
Well, that’s my response to your letter. I hope you will do the right thing: be accountable. Be a better person, a better neighbour, a better mother, a better YOU.