Thursday, August 09, 2007

Another Violation

Joared's blog, Violation, brought back vivid memories of our own house break-in. I recall almost every detail.

Our sons were still in elementary school and the family had been away for a few days of skiing before Christmas. We came home in the evening and noticed the blinds in our bedroom were slightly pulled back. Hadn't we closed them? We entered the house and noticed the kitchen window was ajar. This should have sent us straight to the telephone to call the police. But for some reason -- perhaps denial -- we stupidly proceeded upstairs to the bedrooms. All the bedrooms had been ransacked, the drawers opened and the contents dumped onto the floor. All the boys' CDs and videos had been taken as well as their sports and movie collectibles.

We eventually called the police and, as in Joared's case, they figured the culprits were probably pretty young and inexperienced (they had found my jewellery, but took the cheap costume pieces - presumably because they were more glittery - and left a much more expensive pearl necklace and plain bracelet).

The worst part was that the thieves had taken all the family Christmas presents from under the tree. A few of the gifts had been painstakingly wrapped and decorated by my youngest. The look on his face when he realized his presents to me and his father were gone was heart-wrenching. That was probably the hardest to take. We kept telling him it was okay, that it didn't matter if he didn't have something for us. But we could tell, he wasn't buying it. It was too late to replace anything. Luckily, there were still a few presents from Santa, hidden in the back of my closet, that they hadn't found. We made the best of it, but it was a hard lesson for my heretofore sheltered sons that there are nasty people in the world who don't give a darn about others.

I think the incredible violation you feel after a break-in is only understood by those who have gone through the same thing. The thought that strangers have been in your home, touched your personal belongs, including your underwear is both creepy and unnerving. This feeling of violation is followed by a sense of outrage. How dare anyone take things that aren't theirs! How dare anyone ruin a child's Christmas! How dare they . . . !

I wondered what kind of kids these thieves were; wondered how they'd been raised; wondered about their parents; wondered if they were kids from the same community.

Most of all, I wanted them caught. I wanted them to know that what they did affect real people. I wanted them to know that their actions had consequences. I wanted someone to shake some sense of decency and moral obligation into them. And in the end, I held the notion that they could be changed into decent human beings who would care about fellow human beings.

I still think that way. Some people say it's naïve. I call it hopeful. That's me - a glass half full kind of gal.

Nowadays, I often think about young people I've met and passed along the way, particularly those who had difficult lives; were abused; were abusive; had unwanted pregnancies; got in trouble with the law; or had severe psychiatric problems. I wonder if they've been able to find the strength and support to make something more of their lives. I hope so.

1 comment:

Joared said...

Sorry to hear you, too, had that "Violation" experience. Fortunately, if it's possible to think that way, my children's belongings weren't taken. But the Christmas presents... that's really hard for me to think about.