The reaction to “Dear Hermann”
I have to admit that when I wrote the “Dear Hermann” letter, I was angry and emotional. I was hurting so much, feeling so raw, and the words, almost without thought, just flew onto the computer screen. It was only when I started reading the responses that I realised just how much of my personal pain had been transferred into the article.
As I read through the first messages, I felt an overwhelming sense of comfort flow over me. The kindness and love expressed in those messages was absolutely awesome, and the raw hurt began to ebb away. To be given such gifts of kindness, so many gifts of comfort, at such a difficult time, was just so incredible. I have never experienced anything like it before.
The hurt returned with a vengeance when the first of the trolling messages appeared, and just as one cannot help but pick at a scab, I could not stop returning to the article, snatching minutes here and there, over and over again. As the trolling messages took their toll, I could see the hurt they caused to others, but I was unable to respond and set the record straight until much later that night. My heart ached for those who were now confused and angry, for the good, kind people who had helped me so much earlier in the day, and who now felt that they had been abused. And once I had set the record straight, I could only hope that people were not so disgusted by the whole debacle that they would never return to the article to see my rebuttal, and that people would believe that I am the “real Merry Martin”, despite the claims of fake facebook profiles.
Oh boy, did I underestimate the inherent goodness of most people. Following my “set the record straight” comments, I have been absolutely humbled by the responses from “our” News24 family. I have received messages of support from people with whom I have never actually corresponded, from people that I had not realised even noticed my existence on the forum, from Christians and Atheists alike, and from those in between. A truly humbling experience.
There were three events today that made me weep… the first was the letter from BrainCandyCPT. I read that letter this morning, and took great comfort from the support expressed therein. BrainCandy’s letter gave me the strength to face the day, the strength to face the reality of my father’s memorial service.
The second event was truly amazing, something I did not expect at all, something that has fully restored my faith in my fellow man. I was standing at the entrance to the church, helping my son hand out the brochures for my father’s memorial service. A total stranger walked up to me and asked if I was Merry Martin. When I confirmed that I was, he introduced himself to me, told me he knows me from News24, and had come to express his condolences in person. I am not going to name you, you wonderful man – you know who you are. I cannot tell you how much your words, and comforting hug, meant to me.
The final event was the memorial service, which, whilst it was difficult, was also touching and uplifting. A fitting tribute to a gentle and compassionate man. The tears were flowing, but they were good tears, healing tears.
The healing process has begun, and whilst I will miss my father terribly, I rejoice in the fact that he lived a good and noble life, and that he is no longer in pain.
To you all, I again give my thanks. You have generously and unstintingly given of yourselves to help a total stranger through a difficult time. Never let it be said that just because we have differing beliefs, we cannot help each other navigate through dark days. Never let it be said that there is no kindness and goodness in the world.
At the risk of “doing a Zion” (no offence Zion, just kidding), and if it is OK with you, I will honour my father in the only way I know how – by continuing, as he would wish me to do, to question, learn and share on this forum, and to refuse to let the bullies win.
Peace and blessings.
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