Apr 11, 2012 Neil Benjamin Jr. Uncategorized
Despicable. It’s the best word used to describe what thieves did to Catherine Meeker and her 13-year-old son Joshua.
The front of the Post-Standard on Monday was a story about the Meekers and how their home was burglarized and trashed by people in the lowest rung of society. You hear about this sort of thing a lot in Syracuse, but this story has a subplot that brought me to tears in the office.
Joshua has a rare form of leukemia and his mother, who’s single, spends her days and nights taking care of her son.
One night, after spending time with her son at the hospital, she came home to find her house completely trashed, with many of her and her son’s possessions missing. Because of her son’s illness, Catherine isn’t able to work, so the things they have mean a lot to them.
And in an instant, those were taken away.
The thieves probably didn’t know Joshua is battling such a horrible disease, but even if they did, I highly doubt it would have stopped them. These people don’t give a hoot about anyone or thing but themselves, which is why they commit such acts.
I’m still new to the city. I thought it was a great place at first. Then, a little more than a month ago, me and my girlfriend woke up to find that someone had broken into our apartment. Nothing was taken, but it scared us enough to immediately start looking for a place in the suburbs.
I was freaking out. I couldn’t believe this could ever happen to me; I thought it was something I’d only hear about on the news. I lost my temper and cursed out whoever thought he or she had the right to enter my home.
But then I read the Meeker’s story and grew even angrier, thinking of ways I can help the family out, while also brainstorming ways to clean up some of the ugly Syracuse streets.
But what Catherine did set me aback. She wrote a letter to the Post-Standard addressed to the criminals who ransacked her house. She didn’t condemn them, or wish harm upon them.
“While you were rummaging through my drawers and helping yourself to my jewelry, I was rubbing the back of my child who is fighting for his life.” That’s one line from the letter, and it could make even the most stoic of people tear up.
Catherine concludes with: “We are heartbroken. But although you have violated our lives and taken things we hold dear, you have not been able to take away from us the things that we’ve learned are the most important — our family, our faith, and our love.”
Catherine and her son have taken a devastating blow, but they didn’t let it rip them down. They, clearly, are fighters, and have a positive attitude toward life.
And they’re not going to let some loser, small-time criminal bring them down during a time of utter despair, a time when they need positivity more than anything.
While I haven’t had a chance to speak with Catherine, I’d like to extend my condolences for this, while also applauding you on taking the high road when you could be hateful.
But, you said it yourself in your letter. No one can take away what’s most important in your life.
That’s the definition of courage.
Neil Benjamin Jr. can be reached at email@example.com.