, Gloucester, MA

April 25, 2013

Don't judge the Hammonds or Harrisons

Gloucester Daily Times

---- — To the editor:

A year has passed since we all have had to suffer the loss of our sweet, innocent, beautiful Caleigh.

There have been some wonderful celebrations recently held in her memory. The Harrison family (father’s side) had decided a celebration of life and planting of a tree would be a way that they could remember Caleigh and try to bring some closure to this tragic event. These sensitive and touching celebrations made front-page news and the public was invited to attend.

In the meantime, Allison’s family (the Hammonds) had planned for a more private means of remembrance. It was held on the one-year anniversary of her loss at Allison’s parents’ house where family and friends gathered for dinner, comfort and support. At dusk they walked together to a natural setting where they all joined hands, prayed and shared their feelings.

This letter does not by any means intend to insinuate anything negative to the Harrison family or their events, but when stones are being thrown by the public — as they have been for too long — I feel someone has to come to the Hammond’s defense.

The above mentioned memorial service was planned without contacting or considering the Hammond family. The Hammond family was never asked to participate or attend.

We all know that marriage separations are complicated and the distance created is to be expected, but it is unthinkable that Caleigh’s mother was not included. Of course the word got around that the mother and her family did not attend these events, and many were appalled.

Any of you who are familiar with the Hammond family, which includes the Bolcome family, know that we have experienced more than our share of tragedies. Way too many of our loved ones have left us much too soon. I will painfully mention one.

Caleigh’s grandparents lost their first born at the age of 2 due to a rare health condition. I’m sure you can only imagine losing a granddaughter at a similar age. Remembering that, she suggested that Allison return to work, and this resulted in many insensitive comments from others. This is just one example of how people quickly judge others who are not behaving as they believe they should.

Through the losses of so many in our family, the Hammonds and Bolcomes have used their faith and family bond to move on, never forgetting the specials gifts the loved ones have left us. This has made us a stronger and more loving family.

We love and miss Caleigh. Just because we don’t profess our feelings through the media doesn’t mean our pain is any less or our mourning is any less meaningful.

Contrary to many rumors and speculations that have surfaced, Lizzie and Caleigh’s mother Allison is a wonderful mother. She could not love her children more. That is why she is living instead of hiding away in despair. It is best for Lizzie and herself.

We, her family, could not be more proud of her. I am afraid that inaccurate statements made in social and news media will always allow some to quickly pick from the large and convenient pile of stones to cast on others.

The Hammond family has been struck too many times. I guess I, for one, am willing to stand here and take one for them.