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Letter: Our ‘collective’ neighbor

I am indeed haunted by Brenda deRepentigny’s plea to the people of New Hampshire for “love and support,” published June 23 in the Monitor’s Viewpoints section. Brenda is dying of cancer (multi-myeloma), her kidneys are failing and yet her heart is beating strong with a mother’s love.

Brenda is pleading for mercy, not for her son who is in prison, but for herself.

Brenda wants to see her son who is an inmate at New Hampshire State Prison. Sadly, he was recently transferred from Concord to Berlin. He is now three hours away.

Brenda lives in Epsom. She is our “collective” neighbor. She is dying.

Isn’t she entitled to basic human rights? The right to liberty and the pursuit of happiness? How much more does she have to suffer?

At the end of the day, do you, your family, your friends or those with whom you gather around the drinking fountain at work really, really care whether Brenda’s son is in Berlin or Concord?

I don’t know Brenda. I don’t know her son, nor am I interested in what he did or didn’t do to land in prison. But I do know a mother’s bond, a mother’s love and the sounds of a cry. I do know the heavy toll love takes on our hearts even in the best of health. I know the pain of separation, of being away from a loved one and the helplessness and hopelessness of not being able to change the outcomes for those we love.

Even in protocol there is some wiggle room. There is discretion on a case-by-case basis.

I believe that to be true among the powers that be with the New Hampshire Department of Corrections as well as with our governor. I urge all of you to collectively open your heart to a dying woman.

Compassion can be inconvenient but our humanity calls out to us to have mercy and forgiveness.

LISA BROWN

Concord

Legacy Comments1

Brenda's case is heart-wrenching. Having lost younger sibs - have a concept of how a mother would feel. That said, there must be a balance between compassion and responsibility. We (the taxpayers) have charged the state to use our hard-earned tax dollars responsibly and to be frugal whenever possible. If we start moving criminal inmates around and disregarding procedures that work for most citizens (none work for all) - we would see the prison system fall into chaos and create crippling expense. Not unlike the child with end-stage disease wanting to jump to the head of the recipient line - yes she/her family got what they wanted but another deserving soul was forced further back on that list. Tragic heart-wrenching cases - all but that is why we caused the creation of reasonable (not perfect) systems and procedures. I suggest people who really care, take turns ferrying Mom for visits as best can be done by them and her. A perfect solution- no-but it would be a truly carting and compassionate act, help this family and a great behavior example for the young.

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