I have very few things that belonged to my late son, mostly because our broken system impoverished him to the point that he had very few belongings.
This morning, I found that one of them, his iPod, had been stolen from my car. I bought it for him a few weeks before he died because he had always wanted one and we didn’t know whether he would survive to see his first disability check.
As it turned out, he didn’t. He was dead nine days before that first check arrived, but at least he’d had the chance to enjoy that iPod for a few weeks.
All day, I have felt his loss anew, a stabbing grief that won’t go away. His photos were stored on that device and it was in a compartment in my car, together with a charging cord.
The thief also got away with a projector that belonged to my nonprofit, WNC Health Advocates, a Bluetooth speaker and some other odds and ends, altogether about $1,000 worth of stuff.
When I reported it at the Sheriff’s Department, the deputy behind the glass acted as though I had invited the thief in and handed him my belongings because the driver’s side door was unlocked.
“What are you doing with a thousand dollars worth of stuff in your car, anyway?” he asked, scowling at me.
Not only did I feel violated by the theft, I was blamed. I was the person at fault.
I was left wondering if I would have been so shamed and blamed if I had been a man.
I was so upset, I came home and called Sheriff Van Duncan, who apologized profusely for the way I had been treated.
Meanwhile, I have struggled to hold back tears all day. This is more than a loss of a thing — that thing was connected to my beloved son, and it’s one less connection I have as the days since I last was able to touch him and hear his voice add up.
I left a profane post on Facebook after I discovered the loss, but I know I won’t see that iPod, or the photos he had stored on it, again. The f-bomb helped for a fraction of a second, but it would help more if I could find the person responsible and explain what that small thing meant to me. My first impulse would be to smack him (or her) upside the head, but I wouldn’t actually do that because physical violence never solves anything.
But I would like that person to understand they pain their actions have caused.
It’s bad enough I have to face the rest of my life without my son, but can’t I at least have this one small connection to him?