The Thinking Woman's Diary

Violation of the material kind...

Written: 22nd Aug 2016  | Last Updated: 22nd Aug 2016

Being robbed is a terrible shock. Finding out that your home has been ransacked while you were happily visiting family on the opposite side of the country evokes a swelling ache of emotion. There’s an immediate, gut-clawing sense of urgency to get back to the house, to assess the damage, to make things right again as fast as possible. At this point, everything is abstract - you just want the little bastards caught, your belongings recovered and the whole sorry story put away. 

On the flight home, all you think about is what’s gone, what’s broken, what’s to be done. But no amount of in-flight imagining can prepare you for the reality of a violent break-in, of drawer contents strewn everywhere, of treasured belongings with enormous sentimental and some monetary value missing presumed lost forever. Worst of all, the serene, safe sanctuary that is home melts into myth, and the reality of your own crime scene begins to howl and haunt.

In some ways, we were lucky. The thieves didn’t destroy everything in sight (this is not praise!), they just searched aggressively for whatever could be carried away on foot and converted to cash reasonably fast - jewellery, a gold pocket watch, coins in a jar. Perhaps, all up, the value was something like $5,000. But the real value to us was immeasurable - the jewellery pieces stolen were family heirlooms...bracelets, rings, earrings, necklaces that held the touch and love of my mother and of my grandmother, of my cousins, and of my husband. Irreplaceable, charming, adored. Gone.

The process of police reporting, insurance company claim, installation of a security system, replacement of two bespoke broken doors et al takes time and patience. While the little rotters have long since bagged cash for our heirlooms, we set forth on a several week-long cycle of reportage and repair. It doesn’t seem fair. And it’s not.

Now, half a year beyond our robbery, we live a little differently, more cautiously, setting the alarm each time we leave the house, even if only walking the dogs around the block. While the insurance company fixed the violated entry and (with some quibbles) paid a fair cash sum for the goods taken, the fact remains that life will never be quite the same. I will not replace anything that was taken, because such things cannot be replaced. They were one-offs. They were part of our family story. I will not be able to hand them on to my children or their children, or their children’s children. 

C'est la guerre.