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Today’s column is a tough one, and really out of the norm for me. But it’s time for a serious conversation.

This week, my sanctuary – that is, my home – was violated. I was the victim of a burglary.

I love our little town. But the reality is that not everyone who may live or visit here, is a good person. Sometimes, evil pays a visit.

It was an average weekday afternoon. I was at work, just a few miles from my home, very busy with the demands of my job working with homeless veterans.

I received a text message from my neighbor asking if I was expecting people in my house, as she had heard a lot of noise coming from my home and had just seen a man leave out my back door.

Turns out, he was not in my home by invitation.

By the time I arrived at my home, the damage was done. Precious items were gone. Taken by someone who, I suppose, felt they had a right to them, even though they had never worked a moment to earn them.

Two of Black Mountain’s finest came to take a report – what was missing, what was out of the ordinary, when was the last time I was home, descriptions of the men, etc., etc. They were kind and patient as I struggled to give them even the simplest of information. I was numb and in shock. This was a first for me.

All I knew…. all I felt ... was that my home, which had always been such a private, safe, sanctuary to me, no longer felt private or safe.

As we walked through the house, I started noticing the changes.

There was an empty stand where my guitar once sat. The guitar I used to serenade my mother before she died, the guitar I played at her funeral, was gone.

The mandolin that was a gift from my son, the drum I bought myself on my first trip to Ireland. Both gone.

I walked further into the house.

My new camera, purchased just a few weeks ago after months and months of searching for just the right camera at just the right price, and saving until I could afford it. Gone.

My old camera, a little worse for the wear after years of taking pictures of precious faces, was nowhere to be found either. That camera was a great teacher. I had hoped to gift it to my granddaughter.

My iPad – it was purchased five years ago, so nothing fancy or new. But it was my companion on many long journeys. So long Candy Crush level 659. I would have beat you eventually.

Upstairs, jewelry that wasn’t so valuable, but precious to me. Earrings from my daughter and Rusty. A Celtic cross necklace from my friends in Ireland. A ring my husband gave me when my son was born. All gone.

But the worst was yet to come. Tucked back in the corner of a small desk, in a zip lock bag, were the items that I took from my late husband on the day that he died – his old leather wallet, a watch, and a few other items of no value to anyone but me. The bag and its contents were gone.

Who are these people who feel that they have a right to your home? A right to your things? What have we become that we are raising children who become entitled adults who can walk so easily through a locked door and help themselves to things that they have not earned?

I suppose there’s a lesson or two to be learned here. Be diligent in the security of your home. Use the deadbolts. Don’t become attached to things.

And finally, a reality check. I’m a trusting soul. I see the glass half full, and I believe the best in everyone I meet. I always have.

I will have to adjust that, I suppose. And that is the saddest part of all.

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