When Loss Echoes Loss

This weekend my wallet was stolen, along with a few other personal items, and my beloved Blackberry (and the 22 years of contacts within it), from the front stoop of my apartment building. It was among a pile of winter clothes I was taking to storage: just a clutch of bags piled high with indistinct sweaters, and a pink leopard tote bag filled with a tangle of plastic hangers. I was chatting with an array of neighbors from my building, 4 or 5 of us standing outside catching up a bit before we got on with our Saturday errands.

I left the group and headed up to the top of my block to get my car, drove around the block (waiting at traffic lights, sure) to come up my street. Before I’d even parked I could see that boxes of shoes had been taken, and my sunglasses. I got out of the car in a panic, ran up to the stoop to confirm what I’d seen, ran back out to the street racing partway up and down the block, trying to spot someone carrying a bright-yellow box of shoes (a ridiculous but amazing pair of Fendi heels, six inches high, that I could only walk in in my office; since I don’t have the job, I was putting them away, to treasure as a memory of the heights I’d reached). But I could see nothing.

In the next moment, I realized that the pink leopard bag was gone. And that my wallet had been in it (stupid me). And my Blackberry (stupid, stupid me).

I buzzed my apartment to conjure my boyfriend, sat down on the stoop and started wailing.

Terrible luck, terrible, terrible luck. All my neighbors wafted inside or went off for their activities just when I walked away to get my car. There are neighbors out on either side of our apartment building on the weekend most of the time. But not in the 7 minutes I was gone. A neighbor in my building saw a man come up on the stoop and root through the bags, but she didn’t think anything of it, such is our sense of protection in our idyllic neighborhood.

We’ve all heard how crime makes you feel violated, and I’m not exempt. But more than that, I feel loss piling on loss piling on loss. I know it’s not helpful to collapse my year’s struggles into a single formidable wall of despair, and yet, that’s what I feel. Whom do you want to call most when you have such a sudden, unfortunate event happen to you? Your parents. I wanted to call my parents, and yet, they were gone. And I couldn’t call my brothers, because their phone numbers are only in my Blackberry.

After filing the police report (and being humiliated for have left my belongings “on the street”; I had to keep politely correcting the officer that the belongings were by my front door, 25 feet from the curb, and that neighbors had been out, up and down the block, but her point had been made), I escaped into a movie, afraid of being home alone and disappearing into my agony. Then reconnected with my boyfriend for a few too many margaritas.

The next morning, I stayed in bed until 11:15am—something I haven’t done since I was about, oh, 27—because I was afraid to get up and face all the bad feelings.

But face them I must. And here they are, some of them. There are unspoken bad feelings ratting around as well, but I don’t want to write them down. I’m trying hard to rebuild my life, and pull myself up out of a deep depression, to relocate my sense of purpose and joy, to be open to what’s next, to permit myself to move into change if that’s what’s coming.

It’s tempting to feel like this was a nudge from the universe: a little push that says, “Who you are is not in that Blackberry.” A little push that says: “Those items you love so much and have infused with so much power aren’t meaningful.” A little push that says: “Feel the hurt and find the truth for you within it. Your story is not yet fully written. Keep going, keep going.”

About stacy

I am a writer, author, mother, former magazine editor (last at Redbook), optimist, and, above all, a searcher. I'm still searching for whom I'm really meant to be, after a series of very jarring losses: a divorce and house disaster that led to a book (Falling Apart In One Piece); a week after the book came out, my parents suddenly fell gravely ill, I resigned from my job (and, apparently, my career), my son went into crisis, my parents then rapidly died four weeks apart, and my boyfriend (who had moved in with me and my son just weeks before the book came out) began the painful journey of realizing we couldn't make our relationship work (that story unfolded on this blog). Since then I've been trying to figure out what's next. Or, in other words, how to fill in the blanks.
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12 Responses to When Loss Echoes Loss

  1. Marinka says:

    Oh, I’m so sorry that this happened. But your writing about it so, so true. And I needed the reminder.

    xo

  2. Susan says:

    Reading this made my heart just ache for you…it sucks when you make it through all what I call “the big stuff” and then there is the proverbial straw the breaks the camel’s back. It’s easier said than done to say that the things taken were just that: things. But they were *yours* and for a mere 7 minutes they rested in a place that you trusted; right outside your own front door. It’s a powerless feeling, indeed. I know you will use your gift of expression to sort it out…you always see the brighter side and the deeper meaning of things. And for my little part, I will keep faith that the universe will have its way with Mr. Blackberry-and-Fendi-heels-stealer.

  3. Oh, I’m so sorry. There are so many feelings that come up if something like this happens. I’ve been through that and it’s not pleasant. Cosmic messages aren’t always easy. 🙁

  4. Al Bacon says:

    I can sympathize with you as someone else who was invaded in some way – in my case, a car jacking in Detroit, Mi, where the crooks took my car and everything in it, but we will survive and the person or persons who robbed us may not considering the type of life they must be living.

  5. stacy says:

    Thank you all, for your thoughts and care. Life is a mystery, and I’m determined to be enchanted, not dis-enchanted, as I have many blessings and much good luck on my side, as well. (Though I will give myself permission to pout for a day or two.)

  6. Neil says:

    You are many things, but your Blackberry is the least of them. Now your driver’s license — that is a pain in the ass to replace!

    Your posts really touch me with their honesty. And your book too! I’m glad Marinka told me to read it.

    • stacy says:

      Neil, thank you for your so-lovely words. I am happy my honesty can never be taken from me! Now for the good news: YOU CAN NOW REPLACE A LOST LICENSE ONLINE! I almost wept with relief that this is now true. Thank you, digital photography!

  7. Amanda says:

    To quote from your own book, (something I remind myself of every so often too…), “Sometimes, rain is just rain.” What I always took from that is that the universe isn’t necessarily against us, compounding test upon test, trial upon trial, delighting in kicking us when we are down. Sometimes, these things just happen. Sorry to hear about your stolen belongings, however. That truly is a major bummer.
    🙁

  8. Wow, I don’t sense a minute of resentment. What a series of losses. Resilience, an over used word, but it applies.
    Thank you for such honest writing.

  9. jessica says:

    for what its worth, I think you are one of the strongest people I (feel like) I know. I know it’s just tiring to be strong, and more so to hear other people tell you how strong you are, but reading your words always makes me feel like, thank God there is someone else who GETS it.

    • stacy says:

      Jessica, thank you.
      Deborah, thank you.
      Thank you for stopping by and for being a compatriot in resilience. We all have to do what we can, and when we can’t we have to do what we must.

  10. Jill says:

    Oh hi there Snaus.

    I feel you. I’ve been robbed twice this year – once left my purse, phone, big ass camera with all vacation pictures, in the car in front of our beach rental. Same kind of embarrassment in front of police officers. And then AGAIN over Christmas when our house was broken into (I had left the door unlocked). Now, I am hyper vigilant and frankly, I don’t know if it’s really that much better. OK, I’m probably less likely to be robbed but I’m much more paranoid. The police who responded to our house robbery s.o.s were much kinder, reminding me that it was not my fault that someone stole our stuff. Remember that. Be kind to yourself.

    It still sucks though.

    Love the blog. Thanks for sharing your big heart and brain. xoxox Jill

    p.s. Snausages. (still gets me)

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