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Someone robbed our house when I was little. They took a few things but 2 stand out: our television and $7 I had saved and hid in my sock drawer. Obviously it was not hidden well. A few years later someone invited themselves into our home and stayed several days while we were out of town. We discovered it upon our return and thankfully they had departed prior to our arrival. They had taken some things and left a large mess for us to clean.

The $7 angered me for a long time. What I did not realize then was the ongoing assault. They violated my space. Someone went through my things and took something of value. Someone later slept in my home uninvited and likely went through my drawers again. Many things have been taken from me through the years. Some of these things are not all tangible but are what matters most in life. In a typical robbery, you lose a few items which hurts financially, and you may feel anxious when you hear a weird noise in the dark.

Last year I was also robbed. This last incident was not from one gaining access to the house though. Last year my son was taken from me. Much like the childhood robbery, I did not realize some losses from the death of my child until later.

Hanging out with your grown-up kids is like visiting the best parts of your life.


Things taken from me:

  • Legacy: He was my only biological child born. His being male meant he had my Y chromosome. Despite his objections to the contrary, he had a lot of my mannerisms, sarcasm, wit, and propensity to learn with little effort. I worked hard to shape him into the kind and generous person he was. He surpassed my intelligence, and I was excited to see the impact he would make in his world. This is gone. Not only is he no longer able to make an impact but many do not respect parents of suicide victims. Other parents keep their children away out of fear.
  • Genetics: He did not look a lot like me but we did have much in common. Unfortunately, his mental illness was also likely passed from me. It is commonly from the father’s side. I know he got ADHD from me. I yearn for grand kids. I long to hear his kids with their dry wit and snarky remarks while discussing Star Wars 16. I assume I will eventually have grandchildren, but not his kids. I now have to wait roughly 15 years longer than I likely would have and these will be a different set of wonderful kids. They will probably love to tease and be loving like my daughter. I know I will love them just as much, but his kids will be missed. I likely would have lived to see his kids get married but not hers.
  • Daughter-in-law: My handsome son knew he would get married one day. I looked forward to meeting this special girl. She would have been special to put up with him. I would talk with her on so many occasions, cry at their wedding, eat at their home, laugh and sing at Christmas. This will not occur either.
  • Resident nerd: We would nerd out on politics, history, math, space, economics, science, philosophy and music… but especially at the humorous intersection of all of them. Few like to nerd in this weird niche.
  • Movie buddy: I do not go to movie theaters often but when I do it is big action movies like Avengers, Star Wars, LOTR, etc. He and I always went together.
  • Movie nerd: Who will observe how the weird topics above influence story lines in the movies, and how movies influence social and political thought… and laugh.
  • Holidays: He and his sister have birthdays a day apart. They always shared the fun which made it twice as fun. She avoids picking the fun things she did with you. Christmas was our special time even after he moved out. It was a time of games, food, and a lot of talking over movies. Halloween is not just different, but the spark is gone. All the holidays, special days, and most random days now have an empty chair where he is missed.
  • Apple pie: His favorite pie, and one I love as much as any, has not been made in this house since he last had a slice in 2017. The smell of apple pie is enough to suck all the wind out of a day.
  • Cool t-shirts: He loved to give and receive geeky or sarcastic t-shirts and so do I.
  • Pictures: I have thousands of pictures of Caleb but almost all are candid shots. At least half are not ones I’d want to share. There will be no more new pictures of you.
  • Friends: I have gained some awesome friends. I have lost other long-time friends. They cannot handle who I am now. Some of them will call me once every few months and I can hear the cringe on the other side if one of us hits certain discussion areas. I am sorry but this is life now. I will bring up Caleb’s name sometimes just like you will say your child’s name. For some, maybe it is because I am now in a different part of life. They have grown kids and starting to get grand kids and I have an 11-year-old. Unfortunately, most people with 11-year-olds don’t think I fit in because I am almost 50. I am thankful for those few willing to hang out with this misfit and putting up with learning who I am.
  • ME: I miss who I used to be. I used to be an eternal optimist with a quick, witty humor and dry sarcasm. Nothing got me down and I tried to lift everyone around me. In 2009 when we lost our 2nd baby, much of this was beat out of me. However, some remained; a small glimmer of who I was. It is gone now.

I was robbed of my future with all my kids together and of the anticipation of this future. I love the people still in my life. My wife, daughter, and friends are so special. I know I will survive this robbery with their help but I do not have to like it. If I knew I could go get my $7 back, I would. If I could have my son back, I’d move a mountain and swim an ocean to do it.

Maybe you have not realized you have been robbed. Maybe there is some area where your special person left a hole. Leave me a note!

Published inGrief


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