LANDING, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Sometimes you just don’t know what your neighbors are going through. A Morris County grandmother had been busy dealing with a sick loved one when a neighbor was too quick to judge.
Elise Ryan read an anonymous letter she recently received to CBS2’s Meg Baker on Tuesday.
“Show some pride in your property and the property of your neighbors,” she read. It was part of a judgmental move by a neighbor who had nothing close to the whole story.
The bright orange signs in front of Ryan’s home read, “To my neighbor who left me a nasty letter about my yard in my mailbox and didn’t sign it … my priority is my 10-year-old grandson who has been in the hospital fighting for his young and precious life. I have been busy caring for his twin sister and their house and pets! I pray that next year all of my priorities are as simple as leaves and twigs.”
“I was hurt and I couldn’t imagine who would do that,” Ryan said of the author of the letter she received.
Ryan said all her energy has been spent caring for her grandson, Matt, who was diagnosed with brain cancer back in September.
“Unfortunately, this is a very bad time in our life and, yes, I am slower than usual,” Ryan said of her failure to keep her yard tidy.
Enter some other neighbors who get it. They showed up Tuesday and pulled weeds and raked leaves. Georgiana Farnsworth said that’s what a community is all about.
“To see something like this happen was unbelievable. No one can get over it, so everyone’s coming up to help today,” Farnsworth said.
Zach O’Connor is Matt’s classmate and hockey teammate.
“I’ve known him since he’s been like this tall,” O’Connor said, demonstrating.
His mom, Christine O’Connor, said it’s important to set the example and know how you treat neighbors.
“Regardless if it’s cancer or if it’s something else, you don’t know what somebody is going through. Maybe they’ve just been sick, maybe they’re going through anything. You never know,” Christine O’Connor said.
Ryan said she is grateful to have neighbors who didn’t jump to judgment but instead reacted with compassion.