Two weeks ago, we told you about a hate-filled letter that was sweeping the Internet and shocking everyone who read it. You know the one: It was aimed at the family of a 13-year-old autistic boy from Canada. It complained of the loud noises he made in the yard and how he scared all the "normal" kids in the neighborhood. It assured that no decent employer would ever hire him and no girl would ever love him. And finally, as if that weren't cruel enough, it suggested he be euthanized. The letter was so hateful, we could hardly bring ourselves to read it fully through. And yet, shockingly, it was anonymously signed by a mother. (Sorry, make that "One pissed off mother!!!!!!")
While we still don't know the true identity of the letter's author, we do know the family on the receiving end—the Begleys of Ontario. And this week, mom Karla Begley spoke out on behalf of her son in a response letter posted to the special needs blog Love that Max.
What did she have to say? A lot of powerful things. And no, none of them involved angry comebacks or bitter one-ups. (And who would blame her if they did?) Instead, Karla Begley said she wouldn't stoop to such levels, and took the opportunity to appeal to the humanity in the letter's author.
"Everyone has a place in the world. Some people are meant to hold big jobs. Some people make you happy and smile. Max brings pure joy and love. He has taught me to slow down and appreciate life, as seen through his eyes. He's taught us what's important. ... I think I'm lucky: How many mothers still have their 13-year-old son wanting to sit on the couch, have mommy time and cuddles, and not be afraid to show love and affection?"
It's impossible for her words not to touch you; and yet, we wonder if the letter's author will ever read them, and if so, would it would change her opinions? Begley continues on to write that "people with special needs are people first," and explains that instead of glares, she wishes people would give them smiles. And instead of anger toward their parents, she wishes they would offer more understanding. "Trust me," she writes, "if there's behavior ruining someone else's day, it's ruining mine, and I want to deal with it!"
Yep; raising a kid with special needs is no easy task and deserves a certain level of compassion and understanding—and we couldn't have put it better, ourselves. But if you want two more reasons to seriously respect Karla Begley, here you go: Not only does she care for another teenage son on the spectrum—15-year-old Jack—but she also bravely battles multiple sclerosis in a wheelchair. Read her full response letter here.