On January 2, while we were still on vacation in California we got a call from a neighbor reporting that our garage was open, my husbands car was gone and that our house had been ransacked. News like this is never anything you can prepare for and the reaction is probably exactly what you’d expect! We were in shock, shaken and felt farther away from home then ever before. The initial news was like getting cold water thrown on you! We just couldn’t believe it.
The police were called and we were only feed bits and pieces of details from neighbors who were keeping us informed while the house and crime scene were being processed. For hours we were kept in the dark. Naturally we hastily packed, threw our belongings in our car and headed home terrified at what we’d come home to.
The drive home gave us two things…1. A chance to freak out! After the police left a few neighbors went inside and their reports were not good. Some described it like a scene from a movie! Everything that was in a drawer was now on the floor. Heaps of mess. Chaos and emptiness all at the same time. The 10 hour drive only played into the uncertainty of the situation so we expected the absolute worst. 2. One last chance of normalcy before everything changed. It’s funny how calm and safe I felt in a rundown motel in Ceder City on our drive home. I remember thinking that this was going to be the last night I felt “safe” before arriving home. I held my kids close that night and was glad we were all together.
The next morning as we got closer to home the sick feeling got stronger and stronger. My husband and I were as prepared as we could be but the feeling of violation was so heavy. We dropped off the kids with friends and headed in.
I will say this… the pictures our imaginations painted was far worse then the reality of what we saw. Don’t get me wrong! It was super bad but the time we had to imagine the worse was a blessing in disguise. When you expect a 10 on the “worse case scenario” scale and only come home to a 7 or 8, that’s a good feeling… sort of! Hard to explain but you get the picture. We were told over the phone by the police what obvious things were gone already. Things like our tv’s, electronics, and a few valuables that my husband asked to look for. We had a good idea that pretty much anything of value was gone. We still held out hope that some items that really meant a lot to use were still there. Sadly as the cleanup process got underway we discovered more things gone and the severity of the loss was hard to handle. Our biggest loss was 10 years of home videos, gone. This one hurt the most and still to this day if I think about it I break down. What had absolutely no values to them and as something they took by mistake in their haste, truly left the biggest sting. Those first few days were a roller coaster of emotions. Highs when we would discover something they didn’t find and lows when we’d realize family heirlooms were gone.
With the help of amazing friends and a combined 40 plus hours of cleaning, organizing, washing and de-hebbiejeebbing the place our home was put back together. Our kids never had to see their home in shambles. Only with the help of dear dear friends were they able to come home that first night and sleep.
Sleeping there right away was probably the hardest decision we made. We had offers from friends to bunk with them and hotel room offers for as long as we needed it. I just knew that if I didn’t sleep there the first night that it would get harder and harder to go back. We wanted it to be as normal for our kids as possible and making our home a scary and unsafe place by not being there wasn’t going to help. That’s not to say that it wasn’t hard. I don’t think I slept more then 2 interrupted hours night 1 and for the first 2 weeks it was touch and go for sure! Our kids on the other hand did great and I can only attribute that to the amount of prayers that were being offered up on our behalf. We felt comforted and protected. A million thanks!
12 days after the robbery Mikes car was found abandoned. We were greeted with a door bell ring at 1:30am and a police officer telling us we had 20 minutes to go get it before it was impounded at our expense! His car was unharmed but the feeling of violation was once again brought back up to the surface when we had it back. Still all this time later the car was the only thing we have gotten back. No leads, no information. It’s as if nothing happened. Our home, our mail, our credit cards, our car. All of that was used and still we know nothing.
I realized just a few weeks ago that the doorbell can ring without it causing me to hold my breath. Time has been the best healer. It was a rough first month and now as we deal with replacing items from our over 200 missing things list we are finding it challenging and annoying. This is going to take us forever. Still we are seeing the tender mercies through all of this. We have our family, are cared for and loved beyond measure by neighbors and friends and were protected. These are blessings we don’t take lightly. We consider ourselves so so blessed. So many lessons learned. So much perspective gained.
Thanks to everyone who rallied around us and helped with cleaning, meals, babysitting, prayers, temporary transportation, loaned us a tv, let me nap on your couch and cry on your shoulder. You were all the good in this world that will always trump the bad in the world! Always!
(My next post will be lessons learned and how to protect yourself from home robbery! Let’s just say we did a lot of things right and would do a lot of things differently! Lot’s to glean from my next post! Look for it soon!)