It's about exploring and sharing my creative adventures (mostly sewing these days) ~
~those activities that sometimes obsess, usually inspire, occasionally frustrate
~and always provide a delightful maze to wander through.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

The Case of the Gold Flannel Pillowcase

It was not a dark and stormy night; it was a lovely, balmy, California evening, spent with a particularly delightful group of local sewing mavens....   I arrived home at about 11:00, & realized that one of my cats was not only not there to greet me, but wasn't responding to any calling.   After 15 minutes of calling & searching, he finally showed up ... OUTSIDE the front door (this is an indoors only cat most of the time - how on earth did he sneak out - was it when I left earlier that evening?).... a few moments after that I found myself staring at the empty space on the desk where my laptop usually resides, and the pieces started slowing falling into place.

Yup - we had been burglarized.
 It wasn't until the police (possibly the NICEST cop in my local police force!) showed up that I finally saw the naked pillow on my bed - the pillow that just a few hours earlier had been nicely dressed in gold flannel....and then realized that the jewelry chest on the counter nearby had indeed been rifled through.   I think in my initial shock and denial I was SURE no jewelry was missing, but then I realized that every.  single.   valuable.  piece of jewelry that had belonged to my darling Mother was gone.   All the diamond rings (from 2 marriages and her own inheritance) - gone.  Anything silver, gold, or a valuable gemstone.   Gone.     Plus a few silver and gold necklaces of mine, which I could honestly care less about.  For the next few days I kept thinking surely there's ONE ring somewhere else, just ONE piece that belonged to her.....   nope - Gone.

I'm still reeling a bit, and noticing that I'm going through various stages of loss & grief  - yesterday I finally felt the anger that made me wish I could kick the friggin' dweeb in the balls....HARD!

I know that people do this, but I'm still mystified about the fact that it actually happened to me!
Bear with me - the silly cartoons actually make me grin,
and I can use all the grins I get right now!  :D

So.....The grand plans I had of sewing, reading, and blogging during the evenings this week have been mostly taken up by sleepless nights  re-doing all of my passwords, researching a replacement computer, dealing with software & old peripheries that don't work with the new system, denial, anger, browsing craigslist and eBay in the ridiculously unlikely hope that I'll see one of her rings, or my computer....uh huh.

Sorry for dumping on blogland, but I realized that I just need to unload publicly as part of the process of release.   I usually move through trauma pretty quickly; actually, this has only been 3 days, so I guess I can cut myself a break, but it still hurts, and the  hours that are being eaten up by realizing that I need to replace my printer (a perfectly nice printer that worked just fine with my older computer - which, btw, was also working just fine!) because it's not compatible with the slightly newer computer (rolleyes), set up a whole new email system, figure out how to transfer data from the 10-year old dinosaur backup computer, hours with online support "experts" some of who, as it turns out, know less than I do....etc, etc.....well... I'm just allowing myself to bitch and dump for a bit here.   Getting ripped off sucks.

I will move through this.

Oh, one bit of good news is that I will likely get an insurance settlement that covers only a pittance of the jewelry loss, but it's enough $ to replace the computer!  Insurance companies do come through sometimes (assuming they actually will, of course).

And of course, it's only "stuff", and it really could have been much, much worse.   :)   I did lose a lot of pictures that hadn't been backed up - I'm thankful for my blog in that sense, because of the shots that are saved in Picasa - yay to web picture programs!   And hey, all that clutter-clearing of excessive files stored on the computer?   Taken care of by the universe, thank you ;-)

I feel better already.   Thanks for being there, dear readers... :)

85 comments:

  1. I was so upset to hear of this violation, Jillian. You are handling it with grace, as you handle everything, but I am SO sorry, not only for the violation of your personal space, but for the theft of your mother's precious jewelry.

    It really chaps my backside. :(((((

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  2. Thanks shams - your call really meant a lot to me, and I really, REALLY appreciate the understanding and support. Sometimes you just need to go to a dark place before moving through it, and that's when the supportive words are the most helpful :)

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  3. I'm so sorry (and horrified and angry) to hear of your burglary. It's just so awful, especially the loss of your mother's jewelry. I hope it turns up and you recover your precious memories.

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    1. Thanks sweetie :) I keep hoping so too.....

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  4. So sorry to hear this - we were just trading stories over dinner about muggings in Berkekey and Oakland, and what a complete bummer! Thinking of you as you work through this!

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  5. Jilly, the EXACT same thing happened to me on March 11 in Redwood City. The pillowcase (mine was blue stars), the laptop, the jewelry--my grandmother's and mother's, as well as my earrings collected over 40 years; also my new iPad and our 2 previous generation iPhones. The only difference is that our cat was under the chair, frozen in fear. The police said that we are having an epidemic of this style of burglary all over the Bay Area--they ring the doorbell and break in when no one answers. It was daytime, our next door neighbor was home but didn't hear a thing, and the window they pried open is visible from the street. We've lived in this house for 30 years without a problem, and I just hate having to worry now that all the windows are closed tight every time we go out.

    I know it feels futile, but I have a friend who found her jewelry at the flea market, so take a buddy to Oakland and Ashby this weekend and turn it into a fun detective game. Be sure to keep a running list of things that are gone as you remember them, and a journal of all the new passwords and accounts you set up, and be glad about the opportunity to renew and replace.

    It hurts so much to think of the lovely things of your mother's that are gone. But they are mementos, not memories, which no one can steal from you. You're on the right track with your "it's just stuff" attitude, and remember: At least they didn't take the sewing machines!

    Mentally rolling over the thieves with a steamroller helps too. Onward!



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    1. Oh wow, Wendy, I'm so sorry - and obviously we can relate to each other here. I guess those are the targeted items. :( My kitty was probably thrilled to spend a bit of time outdoors lol! (but the other kitty - the one who stayed inside, was acting very agitated)....poor babies - hope yours recovered quickly.

      I hear you loud & clear about hating that I'm now triple checking every door & window when I leave the house. :(

      The cop who took the case said he's seen a rash of burglaries like this in the past two years, since so many non-violent criminals are being released from the over-crowded prison system.

      Flea markets - great tip, thanks! I will go to them this weekend!

      And I love the vision of the steamroller....while they're writhing on the ground after getting their balls kicked in {evilgrin}

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  6. I'm so sorry about your losses, especially your mom's things. Being robbed sucks.

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  7. Bummer! That is really not nice at all, and such a PITA. Hang in there.

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  8. Oh Jilly, that's awful. We have been burgled too and its a horrible empty feeling, especially when precious personal items are taken, plus I can relate to the computer sagas. I do hope by some miracle your mother's special jewellery turns up and the police catch that unconscionable pillowcase thief. Take care, and keep your eyes open. Hugs -s-

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    1. Too many people can relate! Sorry that you've experienced it too :( Eyes are definitely open!

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  9. In our small town most things that are stolen wind up at the 2 pawn brokers. Don't forget to check with them too with a description of the items. Thieves are not that bright and can use a pawn shop within a short radius of your home just to get quick money. Craigslist is another place to dump stolen goods. I'm so sorry for this sad event...yes they are just things but they were YOUR things.

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    1. I'm not sure if I could handle the energy of all those pawn shops, but I'll try to follow my intuition here - flea markets too, as was mentioned...

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  10. I'm so sorry to hear this! what a terrible violation. I'm glad that you and the cat are okay, but that totally sucks. I hope that your jewelry turns up. This is awful.

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    1. I'm still hoping too Rose, thanks :)

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  11. Oh this is awful.
    My sister was robbed more than 10 years ago and much of our late Mother's jewelry was taken. I was especially mad about Mother's engagement ring which was of an old fashioned diamond cutting so said by the jeweller to be of low value. I still get into quite a temper thinking that the thieves had no right to that ring!
    Electronics and computers are replaceable even if you were content with your existing set-up but of course photos and documents not backed-up are gone for ever. Hopefully you can get replacement items to suit you and start afresh with off-site/ cloud back-ups.
    You have my sympathy with what you are facing in the next few weeks. It would be wonderful if just some items were located. Best wishes.

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    1. I so hear you on the items with little $$ value but big emotional value - so sorry it happened to you too :( I'm seeing some of the pieces that I love and wear that are in that category, that they did NOT take - grateful for that!

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  12. Jilly, So sorry to hear about the burglary! What a violation!!

    I hope you get the rings back...

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    1. With all of the commenters who are hoping that I get rings back, I have to have hope! :D

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  13. Oh, Jilly, I am so sorry! I, too, have had this happen, and it just feels awful. I am grateful that you have a good perspective about it, and so early in the process! I know it was a terrible blow to lose your mother's things, but you are right, they are only things. You will always have her. I hope replacing your computer is not as painful as you anticipate. Sending really good thoughts your way for what it's worth.

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    1. ARGH how terrible that this has happened to so many of us! It's just so not right... :( Thank you - your good thoughts mean a LOT! :)

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  14. Oh, Jillian, so sorry for what you're going through...the violation and loss of trust, as well as your Mom's precious things...I'm thinking of. You and sending hugs💓

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    1. Thanks Margy - hugs are accepted, felt, and returned :)

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  15. Our home was broken into thirty years ago and I still remember how vulnerable I felt... and violated. HUGS.

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    1. And yet another victim....hugs back, and thanks :)

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  16. How upsetting! We were burgled 5 years ago late at night while I was b.feeding my baby - and even though the stuff they took was replaceable, I felt so angry and stressed about the sheer fact of the break-in for ages. I hope your mum's jewellery turns up somehow, and hope you get through this tough time and feel good again soon.

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    1. Oh my gosh - I can't even imagine being right there with your baby!!! So sorry :(. And thanks; I'm accumulating all of the hopeful thoughts that jewelry will find its way home :)

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  17. So, so sorry. :( I still hope that perhaps at least your mother's jewelry can be recovered. Trying to think good thoughts for you.

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    1. Thanks - accumulating more of that hopeful energy :)

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  18. What assholes! I am right there with you...here, hold my glasses while I kick them also.

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    1. And I know you could pack a wollop! Thanks, I'll hold your glasses as long as you like };-)

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  19. I am so sorry to hear about this. There is something so helpless and abused about being burglarized. I assume you are checking the pawn shops for the jewelry? Like you I have a few choice pieces of my mom's that are precious to me because they were hers. God's blessings on you in this and always.

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    1. Thank you Ramona - I'm planning to check possible sale place when I can - flea markets this weekend!

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  20. Oh good grief---how awful! The punishment you want to give him/them is minor compared to what I would want done to them. (I'm too much of a lady to describe it.)

    They say that break-ins happen mostly during the day, when there is a better chance that no one is home. Wendy said that they ring the doorbell and if no one answers, no one is home so they break in. Yikes-- I don't answer the door if I'm not expecting someone or don't recognize the person. One idea is to have a radio on so they think someone is home. Good idea, but leave it on when on vacation?

    I hope that they--or you--are able to recover some of your mother's jewelry. Hugs to you.

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    1. Thanks Gloria - accumulating more hope :) I know you're small, and a lady, but I wouldn't want to be in the way of your wrath lol!

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  21. So sorry to hear this. It must feel like such an intrusion of the soul. Hugs!!!

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  22. What a blow to the gut! I am so grieved for your loss, but glad to read you are going through to the process to recover your usual upbeat and sunny persona. Big hug coming your way.

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  23. Thinking of you Jillian. This is such a horrible invasion of your life. It breaks my heart that they took your mother's jewelry from you. And poor kitty too - although that taste of outdoor freedom might have been sweet, at least for awhile!

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    1. Thanks Claire :) If only those kitties could talk, eh?

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  24. Jillian, I am so, so sorry. This happened to me almost twenty-three years ago, while I was expecting. I couldn't wear my wedding or engagement rings since my hands swelled ... and those of course were stolen. I can feel your sense of violation, since I still feel it lo, these many years later. Heather

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    1. When babies and pregnancies are part of the picture....I can't even imagine! {{{Heather}}}

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  25. Jillian, so sorry to hear abou this, and I hope you find some of the stolen items. sheesh, what a pain to re-do your computer stuff on top of being so mad about everything. hang in there !

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    1. Thanks Beth - I'm not giving up hope on the possible return.... :)

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  26. Glorm asked about what to do when you're on vacation. The answer is to hide the small stuff, because that's all they're after. Find an unlikely place that they won't find in a quick once-over--someplace that they'll have to move stuff to find. They know about the frig & freezer trick, which won't work for the computers anyway. But a folder in a packed file drawer, or a box in a pile of give-aways, or maybe in a great big stash of fabric!

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    1. Yes, I'm afraid I'll be re-thinking my tendency to leave it out in the open it's my home & what could go wrong attitude.

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    2. Then my sewing room would be a perfect place. Hubby won't go in there, fearing that he won't be able to find his way out!

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  27. Oh, Jilly, I'm so sorry. That really sucks.

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  28. Grrrrr. I am so sorry this happened to you. Some people are really sick :/

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  29. After all my family jewelry and silver were stolen, my friend told me to keep "stones" in jewelry cleaner, then put it somewhere like under the sink. In other words, trick the stupid bastards. She had many anecdotes about people who had been robbed but the jewelry in the jar was safe.
    When this happened to me, they also stole my Bernina -- but they didn't take the feet!
    I can still make myself sick remembering what I lost, so I try to remember what I have (like those crazy useless feet!). That, and I've never told my siblings about the family "stuff" stolen.

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    1. It's astonishing how many of us this has happened to! I want to live in a world where this is a Very Rare (or never even heard of) Event!

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  30. Jilly, I'm just sick about what happened to you. Not fair, not right, not at all. Sending a hug your way. Glenda

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  31. Wow Jilly. Lots of support from all over the world. Burglars have no boundaries in many senses of the word. Rotten bastards. Hugs and back pats from Sydney Australia. And with all the best Aussie feeling - She'll be right, mate :)

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    1. Thanks Rebecca - and every single comment here is appreciated! :)

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  32. Jillian, my heart goes out to you --- not fair one bit!
    Do remember that I have something beautiful of your Mother's kept in a safe place. I thought of writing you privately, but I wanted others to know the universe works in such mysterious ways. We'll talk soon and see if plans have changed.

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    1. Thanks {{{Camryn}}}. I do still have a few pieces of her costume jewelry - and I realized I have the one silver pin that I pinned on my black fedora (posted here recently). That is one special piece :). Maybe the universe is saying that those pieces should be returned to me. We'll talk about it :) There will be some packages traveling back & forth between us soon anyway :)

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  33. Oh, Jilly, this stinks. I just thought of something--what if we all start taking photos of the 'sales' people who come to our doors. Make it obvious. That might discourage them. "Here, let me take your picture" in case someone in my neighborhood gets robbed.

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    1. Lisa I think that's actually rather brilliant! There was a day last week when a young (teen?) woman showed up selling newspaper subscriptions for a college contest or something. She kept referring to notes inked on her hand for what to say, and was rather unintelligible as it was....so NOT college-bound! I thought of her when the cop asked me if anyone suspicious had some by, & wishing I had a better image of her. She was (forgive my judgment here) far too stupid to have actually been the thief, but could she have been 'casing the joint?' Who knows......

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  34. Oh Jilly, I didn't know. {{{{{BIG Possum hugs}}}}}

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  35. Jilly I'm so sorry to hear about YOUR things being stolen. It's horrible how violated you feel afterwards! I have only one thing to add to all the above comments. When I was robbed (in Sacramento, years back)the officer made a point to tell me DO NOT PUT BOXES OUT FOR PICK UP while you are replacing stolen items!!!!! The thief will watch the house and rob you again of all your NEW items. Apparently a second hit is very common. Sending a prayer and wishes you find at least some of your mothers things.

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    1. That's the second time today someone has mentioned the likelihood of getting hit twice. I'll take that as a message - and thanks for the tip!

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  36. That is sad...I'm sorry it happened to you! What about buying old video cameras and mounting them on the outside of your house...aimed at each door? Who would know they aren't wired and don't work?? Who would want to take that chance?

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    1. Judi I'm thinking of all sorts of things like that. Leaving a light on....putting inside lights on timers....putting fake video cameras &/or security company decals up, placing motion detector lights high up (they unscrewed the lights in the motion detector on the side of the house they obviously walked by)....& of course possibly putting in a real security system of some sort.

      It just sucks to live in a world where this sort of action is even necessary! But apparently that's how it is. Accepting the facts.......

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  37. Tell you what, if you ever get a photo of the selfish, inconsiderate criminal - post it up here and we'll all have a go! So sorry to hear about this happening to you, and yes you're right, it's only 'stuff' and no one was hurt but the emotional strain cannot be measured.

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  38. Awful, awful news to hear about someone so full of good spirit and caring. I'm ready to join the kick ass group on this one. So glad that you feel comfortable enough to share with all of us and hope that the comfort and group virtual hugs give yo a little relief today.

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    1. Thanks Jane - I'm really glad I posted the story too, and the understanding and support has meant more than I imagined :)

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  39. Oh, I'm so sorry- I had a similar event years ago and it just makes you feel so violated and unsafe in your own nest. Lets kick some butt and give out some hugs.

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    1. butt-kicking and hugs both accepted, thank you :D

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  40. I am so sorry this happened to you. Please consider yourself hugged.♥

    We have been burgled twice and the feeling of being violated still sticks with me. The idiots that got us the second time took my grandfathers cheap Timex watch, which I treasured, and left some expensive earrings from my husband. I treasure the earrings but they were very replaceable. I hope and pray you can find some of your mother's things, it will help take some of the sting away.

    And I hope and pray the thieves suffer from lingering and painful boils.

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    1. Thanks Elle - hugs still accepted & returned gratefully :) So sorry it happened to you too - twice!!??? And I'm right there with you on the heirlooms vs. something newer & pricier.

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  41. How horrible for you. Sending you hugs. I hope your new computer is marvelously easy to use and super fast to give a silver lining to this very black cloud.

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  42. Oh, awful. Hugs. Happened to me as well, when I was in my thirties. All my family jewelry, in my case my grandmom's things. Broke my heart. Glad you mentally kicked them in the painful place. Do it again and again until it feels better. Thirty-five years later I have other jewelry - and a safe :-)

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  43. Ohhh darling.. That's horrible... I'm sorry for your loss. I would be feeling the same way...

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  44. So sorry to read that your home was burglarized, and especially sad about your mother's jewelry. I really hope you can recover those items. I also hope that karma bites those thieves in a big way.

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  45. Oh my! I'm just catching up with the oldest unread posts in my blog reader, and I was floored when I read this post. I can't even believe that you had to go through something like this tragic event. Boo. I am so, so very sorry, and I hope you've been able to find some peace.

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  46. This is absolutely horrible news and I'm so sorry you experienced such an unsettling event. You seem to be working through the burglary, but it's a shame this happened to such a nice person like you. Though we've never met I can tell you are a strong person and will carry on. :)

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