It feels like just yesterday that we were wrapped up in the news of 11-year-old Lyric Cook and 9-year-old Elizabeth Collins, the missing Iowa girls who disappeared in July. Did you realize it's been four months? The girls' parents have spent four long months waiting, wondering what happened to their daughters. And I have to say I was surprised by the contents of a letter the Cook-Morrissey and Collins families have released to mark the four-month anniversary of the girls' disappearance.
The letter is addressed "to whom it may concern" because the missing girls' families have no idea who abducted their daughters. And these people whose pain is so obvious have an amazing amount of compassion for the person who has put them in this state.
As the letter, which was written by Elizabeth's mom Heather Collins but also signed by her husband, Drew, and Lyric’s parents, Daniel Morrissey and Misty Morrissey, says:
We can sort of imagine that you must not have had the things you needed to grow up feeling safe and loved. Because only someone who hurts inside would hurt another person and their family. We’ve all heard the saying, “Hurt people, hurt people.” We believe that is true.
We are so sorry for whatever happened to you, when you were growing up. Certainly, all children do not receive all the love and care they deserve. Some are even abused by those who are supposed to have taken care of them. When that happens, it is very wrong.
I can't imagine the strength it took for a woman like Heather Collins to write those words. She could easily have written a scathing letter full of anger and vitriol, and we would have understood. This is a mother who lost her child, a woman who went from having a daughter one day to having no clue what had happened to her the next.
If it takes a strong person to admit their mistakes, I dare say it takes a stronger one to forgive that mistake. Certainly when the mistake is as heinous as the abduction of your child, to have the aggrieved party show compassion is on a miracle level.
This letter may not have any effect on the case. After all, you have to be a certain kind of sick to steal children in the first place. But if the man or woman who abducted Lyric and Elizabeth has a heart, that letter will do something to them.
Put yourself in the families' shoes. Could you write a letter with such sympathy for the person who did this?
Image via Black Hawk County Sheriff's