home invasion

It was a sunny Wednesday afternoon, seemingly like any other. I was at work preparing for a meeting when my mobile phone rang. It was my husband. I silenced the call with the intention of getting back to him after the meeting, but a few seconds later he called again. I knew at that moment, something was wrong. When I answered, he told me he’d just arrived home and discovered we’d been burglarized.

The 20-minute drive home felt like an eternity.

When I pulled into my driveway, I saw that our front door hung open. It had been kicked in. Wood splinters from the door frame scattered the same floor that held my children’s shoes. Our 14-year-old mini schnauzer was the only one home during the invasion. She stays in the laundry room while we are away, and because she is deaf, she likely slept through the entire event. Whether or not the perpetrator knew she was there, I was thankful she was unharmed. I carried her around the house as I took an inventory of our lost possessions.

My emotions were all over the place. Knowing that a stranger had been in my home, without my awareness or permission, was one of the most unsettling feelings I’ve ever experienced.  As I surveyed the damage, I imagined the burglar walking past the pile of laundry on our sofa, stepping over my children’s toy, and pushing our family photo aside so he could steal the television from above our mantel.

I wondered if he looked at our faces in the photo. What drives a person to commit such a violation against another? A million thoughts raced through my mind. I was disgusted at the idea of him touching our things.

I lied to my kids. I told them there had been a freak lightning storm that ruined our electronics, and we had to throw them away. I wasn’t sure how a 4-year-old and a 6-year-old would process a home invasion, but I didn’t want them to think bad guys came to our home while we were gone. I wasn’t going to let this creep take my children’s security, so I lied. I’ll tell them the truth someday, but not anytime soon.

We were lucky. The things taken could be replaced, there was relatively little damage to our home, and no one was hurt. But I was angry, and I was scared.

My husband’s wedding ring was among the missing items. It had been sitting in a small dish on our dresser. A small dish our 6-year-old daughter made from clay. I know a ring is just a piece of metal, but it was a piece of metal that held great significance in our story, and its loss devastated me.

In a world that is already so chaotic and unpredictable, my home has always been my safe place, and now that security has been compromised. There is no amount of insurance money or top-of-the-line alarm system that can replace the loss of your personal security.

I stayed awake most of the night following our home invasion. All four of us shared the same bed. I was afraid to let my kids sleep alone—what if the thief came back? Rationally, I knew this was unlikely, but I wasn’t willing to take any chances.

As days passed, I began to process this for what it was: a random home invasion. Random to the person who broke into our home, but personal to us. Though we filed a police report, it’s doubtful they will ever catch the person responsible. Home invasions are unfortunate, inconvenient, and maddening, but sadly, very common. My family is safe, our material items have been replaced, and hopefully someday soon I will recover the sense of security I had before this happened.

Photo: Getty