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Alarm Bells. Sunday September 11, 2016

It was a Friday evening. It was bright outside.

I had a work meeting all day and afterwards, collected my daughter and son from their friends' houses.

Then, tired but happy enough, we headed home. As I drove in, the alarm was ringing.

My son was immediately anxious. I said everything was okay. 'Stay in the car. It's all okay'. As I put the key in the front door, I realised it was open and that my desk chair was up against the door from the inside. I pushed it open and ran up the stairs. The balcony door was open. And broken. My jewellery boxes were thrown around my bedroom. Every drawer had been emptied. Underwear, pajamas, scarves strewn all around. And yet a part of me still couldn't believe this had actually happened. To me.

I checked my jewellery. I knew I wasn't supposed to touch anything but I had to know. The kids were calling from the front garden. Is everything okay? 'It's okay', I call back. 'We have been robbed. But he's gone. He didn't take much'. I have six pieces of jewellery that mean the world to me. Everything else is glittery, sparkly and fun. But these six pieces are valuable - in every way. My ring. My beautiful diamond eternity ring. The most valuable item I owned was gone. As I ran down to my children to keep them calm, my stomach was nauseous. Why oh why hadn't I worn the ring to work today? Why oh why did I not organise house insurance? Why oh why?

The guards were lovely. Young and kind and when one of them asked about the inscription on the ring, I started to cry. My son cried too. The guards became even kinder. They tied up the balcony door so we could sleep that night.

My children slept. I didn't. I was keeping watch. The anger I felt was terrifying. I feared the slow sadness would arrive and engulf me, overpower me and I wouldn't be able to function. I cried over the happy memories of the ring. The time I felt safe and loved and life was good. And that made me angrier. With the thief yes, but also with life and love and expectation.

I work hard for the little I have and the thought of someone stealing that makes me furious. Yes, it could have been worse but it could have been a whole lot bloomin' better too!

But I have accepted that horrible things happen in life. It's not just the ring. It's all it represents. It's all about loss. But I didn't fall into a black hole. I spluttered. I dipped. But I didn't sink.

What have I learnt?

Don't buy second hand jewellery unless you know who and where it came from. Especially not off the internet - it's most probably stolen.

People surprise you all the time - they can be meaner than you thought them capable of and kinder than you thought was possible.

Wear your favourite jewellery every day.

No matter how sad, angry, lost or disappointed we get, it is possible to surprise ourselves. Yes, I actually surprised myself! I just might be tougher than I think I am. Maybe we all are...

Salt Water Mum
A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.

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Barbara Sun, Sep 11th 2016 @ 6:20am

My ex-husband lost the only piece of jewellery he cared about to thieves - a signet ring belonging to his father, a Church of Englsnd minister. Insurance paid out, because we had a photo of him wearing it, very blurry but conclusive. But of course it never made up for the loss.

Duma Sun, Sep 11th 2016 @ 7:36am

Salt Water Mum. I'm physiologically angry, on your behalf. I own three pieces of jewellery, being a bloke, like. The two rings are simple silver, a ring finger ring (a triple celtic knot) and a russian wedding ring (for my ring toe). They are on a dog tag chain. I never take them off, I plan to be buried wearing them, under an Iron Oak. I'd empty hell to get them back and they cost a combined total of £33 (unadjusted). The watch Is a good Storm watch, a gift from my only male cousin and it's on about its fifteenth battery. 'Nuff said. I have one living enemy, a bad lot who would fight people, taking their watches as trophies. It's mine he wants most, but he is sore afraid. I wear that watch, with pride. Things can be important too. But, you put yourself at risk, running into that house. Be safe, Duma.

Duma Sun, Sep 11th 2016 @ 7:39am

Sorry Barbara, I meant that to be a comment, not a reply. Whoops, your story got to me too. Cheers, Duma.

Brum Mum Sun, Sep 11th 2016 @ 7:14am

A touching story about resilience. I too would have been heartbroken about the jewellery. You not only did what Mums have to brave for the kids but you showed you had inner strength for yourself as well. Thanks for the blog.

Richard Sun, Sep 11th 2016 @ 7:35am

Dear Salt Water Mum,
Thank you for your blog. At work this week, I was given a most wonderful present by a friend. A Rakhi bracelet. Every time I wear it, I feel connected, happier, loved.
Before this, I was quite unmoved by jewelry.
Your blog and Deepika's gift have opened my mind and heart.
Thank you.
Peace and Love,

LillyPet Sun, Sep 11th 2016 @ 7:42am

I loved everthing about your blog. Beautifully written, I was with you with every word. I'm so glad that you weren't knocked down by it. Shaken but not stirred! Go girl! Sunshine and smiles to all :) LP xx

the room above the garage Sun, Sep 11th 2016 @ 7:49am

SWM, I'm so angry for you! But this is not about that, this is about how you discovered that you have more strength than you thought. And, in trying to find the good thing, I'm glad you were not in the house when it happened. Thank you for sharing it, and well done! Love ratg X.

Andrew Sun, Sep 11th 2016 @ 7:53am

You did well not to fall in to a black hole. Very well. I admire your resilience in the face of your loss, the shock and after shocks of which must have been devastating. Isn't it odd how we humans can attribute so much meaning to inanimate things - jewellery, photos, clothes, bits and pieces.... Which all have a certain power over us, able to bring joy and sadness by their mere appearance, or disappearance...
Looked at dispassionately, this would seem ridiculous... It's only 'stuff' metals, precious or otherwise... But their value to us trancends all monetary currency and becomes something much greater. And yet, strangely, we don't actually need these items. We can still recall the memories they trigger without them. We can still be 'us' without them. And life still goes on, without them. But that sense of loss, like a kick in the guts, never goes away. Aye, and there's the rub.
Again, well done for being so strong. Go well....

Hopeful One Sun, Sep 11th 2016 @ 8:05am

Hi SWM- We can only be so careful . However it's how you have interpreted this negative life event that bodes well for you. You appear to have mourned your loss but appreciated your own strength in not letting it get you down. I have not been burgled ( famous last words) but I hope I have the strength you displayed.

It is certainly not a laughing matter but that is another possible option no matter how dire the situation?

A married man and his secretary were having torrid affair. One afternoon they couldn't contain their passion, so they rushed over to her place where they spent the afternoon making passionate love. When they were finished, they fell asleep, not waking until 8 o'clock that evening.The man told his secretary to take his shoes outside and rub them on the lawn. Bewildered, she did as he asked thinking him pretty weird. The man finally got home and his wife met him at the door. Upset, she asked where he'd been. The man replied, "I cannot tell a lie. My secretary and I are having an affair. Today we left work early, went to her place, spent the afternoon making love, and then fell asleep. That's why I'm late." The wife looked at him, took notice of his shoes and said , "I can see those grass stains on your shoes. You are lying aren't you? You've been playing golf again"

Duma Sun, Sep 11th 2016 @ 2:38pm

Good one.

Marie Sun, Sep 11th 2016 @ 8:24am

Life can be very unfair. But, well done you for not falling into the trap of resentment, not only did you excel on a personal level...your example to your children will strengthen their resile ce too. Remember, no one can steal your memories. X

Jul Sun, Sep 11th 2016 @ 8:59am

Hi SWM. I have had jewellery stolen too but not in such a devastating manner as yours was. Many pieces, not valuable in a monetry sense were taken from my home. I don't know who by. I often wonder who stole them. Maybe a builder, decorator. I had been careless leaving jewellry strewn around my bedroom and kitchen for all to see (and steal I suppose). It happened over a few years and I do have my suspicions. I now keep all what's left and new bits in a safe, mainly to keep temptation out of the way when other people come into the house. Yours was a terrible discovery and made worse by the fact you were with the children and had to be brave for them. I felt for you throughout your blog. I don't know what it is about the loss of jewellry, such a personal item and so akin to ones personal taste in how we present ourselves to the world. You have recovered in the only way you can and I am glad you have written about it. From now on, i will never buy second hand jewellry. Julxx

S Sun, Sep 11th 2016 @ 9:22am

Wow, well done SWM- thank you for sharing with us. What a crappy thing to happen and you acknowledged your feelings, those of your children and I think that is amazing, Sx

DAVE Sun, Sep 11th 2016 @ 10:01am

Heartfelt, sensitive lovely blog, thank you.
Your experience was an infringement of your privacy, a violation of your personal space which is enough to cope with, the lost of associated items of heartfelt jewelry and their meaning, is enough to loose faith in humanity....But you were able to preserve your most precious items, which hold more significant hours of pleasure...that of your children, for the lost of any kindred souls, is a lifetime burden.

'Material things are nice but only 'oil the wheels of life', they do not last and we cannot take them with us, but the love we have for our children and all others who cross our paths, hold more meaning in the grand scale of things in the eternities, that of building relationships and lifting others' whose hands are down is really what this mortal existence is, in my opinion, all about.

God Bless you.


Leah Sun, Sep 11th 2016 @ 10:43am

Thanks for your evocative blog.
The words that touched me the most were:"People surprise you all the time - they can be meaner than you thought them capable of and kinder than you thought was possible."

That is the sad and wonderful part of life.
I hope you get to encounter more of the kindness.

The Gardener Sun, Sep 11th 2016 @ 11:56am

Hello SWM, one of a very large club. It was after the first shock that I felt almost physically violated - that these strangers had gone through my most intimate belongings searching for jewels. I had boxes full - most irritating they were mostly presents from husband and children over the years, or super pieces picked up in the Far East. None of great value, but sentimentally irreplaceable. Ironically, the only valuable piece, I should never have had. It was a sapphire ring given by my m-in-law - she was a bit vague at that time, and I think it was meant for a d-in-law, her favourite in the family. One of the surrounding diamonds got dislodged in a tube crush, £150 to replace. Luckily, the ring was insured for its true value - so I bought a laser printer with the money, much more useful. The real comfort was in finding how good the insurers were - tales abound of their chicanery. Their assessor came to the house - the sentimental jewelry was a dead loss, no value to put on it, no photos, it would have been given to the thieves' girl-friends (who would probably have scorned it) or fetched up in the common 'fence' a car boot sale. The assessor said they had loads of people who claimed they'd lost old masters, antique furniture. She said one look at the way people lived (in no snobbish sense) they knew they were not 'collecting' people. She gave good advice - do alarms if you wish, but do NOT barricade your interior doors, leading to bedrooms. Our thieves jemmied an outside door (not visible from the road, and we had no neighbours). She said if they think you have real valuables they will jemmy off interior doors, leaving you with carpentry, re-plastering and re-decorating. Three decades later I still remember with sadness that very special costume jewelry.

The Gardener Sun, Sep 11th 2016 @ 11:59am

PS - our only rich friend (talked to last night, dying of lung cancer) had such a wealth of beautiful objects that every room was secured. You went in to dine, and switched the security system off before you were 'allowed' in, ditto when you left. I could NOT live like that.

Orangeblossom Sun, Sep 11th 2016 @ 12:17pm

Hi Salt Water Mum just read your blog &I some of the responses. I am in full agreement with BrumMum Your courage, gentle firmness & positive resilience comes over clearly. It is a real example to me in the midst of loss & confusion. Thanks for your very clear account of this painful experience.

David Sun, Sep 11th 2016 @ 12:59pm

A hard knock, SWM. Maybe you still feel a little pain when you think of the loss (which is really more what the ring symbolised than the thing itself), but the experience also seems to have provoked new insights in you and given you a sense of strength. More evidence of the notion that it's not the experience but how we respond to it that ultimately matters.

Without wanting to smooth over the loss, I'm thinking of the lines in 'Othello': “The robb'd that smiles steals something from the thief."

(BTW, for UK readers, the 'guards' referred to are not security guards but police; the police in Ireland are called 'civil guards'.)

It's great that you're writing these posts, SWM. No platitudes or generalisations, but insights rooted in your actual experience. Unlike the thief, you didn't steal those insights, you worked for them, and then shared them!

Duma Sun, Sep 11th 2016 @ 2:43pm

Very well said David. You have obviously earned your eloquence. loved the Othello quote, too. Cheers, Duma.

Salt Water Mum Sun, Sep 11th 2016 @ 2:48pm

What kind and supportive comments,

I'm v moved. Thank u.

I'm so glad I'm part of the Moodscope community - to share with people who struggle in similar ways is a great comfort.


Julia Mon, Sep 12th 2016 @ 12:19pm

Dear SWM, I feel your pain. My mum-in-law living in Cape Town, South Africa broke her leg 18 months ago, while recovering in her retirement home, and various carers came in to look after her. Sadly a load of jewellery was stolen and she only found out when she was mobile again. She was terribly upset. Fast forward to 2 weeks ago, and sadly she had to go in to frail care before she died, and guess what? Yes whoever came in and took the rest of her jewellery. There was so little left to take and she had virtually no possessions. We had so much loss. The loss of her most of all. But the jewellery became symbolic of how we felt. My husband however rose from this, and instead of pining for these lost possessions he gave the rest of the contents of her flat to the poor. He said these people don't even have a bed to sleep on, how can we expect to understand such poverty. Treasured possessions such as jewellery most of all hold memories, but no one can steal those and ultimately that is what we hold on to.

Mary Wednesday Mon, Sep 12th 2016 @ 1:44pm

I love your remark, wear your favourite jewellery every day. So right. Thank you.

Nicco Mon, Oct 3rd 2016 @ 5:31pm

Such a painful experience, but your calmness and courage, especially for your children, are testimony to your resilience. Thank you for sharing, and thank you for the little gems of wisdom at the end - very helpful.

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