Fear is not an illusion – Part One

I’ve heard it said that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself. I beg to disagree.

Some years ago we returned from holiday to find police officers waiting for us because our home had been burgled.


The first thing I noticed when entering my bedroom was my underwear strewn over the floor.

My first thought was one of horror, not because we’d been burgled, but because my good underwear had been on holiday with me. The underwear that the thieves had scattered on the floor was the old stuff that should have been binned already.

Foremost in my mind was shame and I questioned why I had  kept this old underwear.  I cringed at the thought that not only had the burglars rifled through it, but what if the police officers assumed that this is what I normally wore! Oh dear, more humiliation!

The irrational thoughts we have in those first few seconds of shock are bizarre, on the other hand it could be just me!

I  changed the bedding on the beds, I couldn’t bear the thought that strangers might have touched where we slept. I washed the black dust from the drawers and wardrobes, the dust that was left behind from fingerprinting and I vacuumed the carpets.

Then the fear set in. It began with the children who were too frightened to sleep alone in their beds,  I paired them up two to each bed.

My husband had to work that night and was reluctant to cancel. Later I lay in bed too scared to sleep. For most of the night I was up and down checking on my children and I worried that the burglars might come back, I listened out for every tiny sound as my heart pounded heavily in my chest.

Thieves and burglars appear to be under some illusion that it’s okay to break in to our homes and take what doesn’t belong to them, while no doubt saying “They’ll claim off the insurance, no skin off their noses!”

Yes we did claim from the insurance company and our premiums went up as a result. But the lasting damage was the legacy that the burglars left behind; the fear in my children’s faces when it was time for bed and the frightened and sleepless nights I suffered as a result.

It was to be a long time before we would once again feel safe in our beds.

To be continued …

Written in  response to the Daily Word-prompts Illusion and Cringe

9 thoughts on “Fear is not an illusion – Part One

  1. I worked for many years in the field of Restorative Justice, and we often mediated between burglars and their victims. It continued to astonish that burglars often thought what they’d done was OK, because the insurance would pay/they were rich anyway/it was only a……/and now they were having their punishment. But those victims who were able to have contact with the perpetrator, either indirectly or face to face, were able to tell their stories, to pose challenging questions, and to seek answers. In many cases it brought a real changed mindset to the offender, and greater peace of mind to the victim. Both parties had to be willing of course, and I suspect you would have been someone who would have wished to participate, and who might have felt safer again a little sooner.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Thank you Margaret for this comment. Yes you are correct I would have felt safer sooner. My late husband was away from home a lot and there were some scary times back then, including the Yorkshire Ripper in his hunting ground fifteen minutes away. I’ve another story to follow on from this, a more recent event at a friend’s house and a bit more frightening.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. gc

    I find it interesting that burglars have no qualms whatsoever about performing home invasions and feel relieved that the homeowners’s insurance company will make the family whole again via the financial restitution towards the damage done.

    The long term unease and psychological damage done to family members cannot be quashed by way of a cashier’s settlement check.

    I am glad that you and your family members were not injured and hope that a state of calmness returned to your home in a short period of time.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Pingback: Author Interview – Maese Delta – “Crimson Malice” (Horror/Fantasy) | toofulltowrite (I've started so I'll finish)

  5. emn

    Wow. I have never experienced this type of offense but I can assure you that I would have been as horrified as you, Sue. My husband has worked shift work for 30 years and yes, those nights alone with the kids could be worrisome in certain circumstances. Add the home invasion and, well, sleep would be difficult at best. Amazing how the terror could be brought back so vividly these years later. And the underwear…well…I’m sure that was a completely rational response on your part.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I must admit that the first thing that came into my head, on reading this, is a poem a friend wrote:

    I love big pants, I cannot lie,
    The way they hide my tummy’s sigh
    And cover up my splendid bottom;
    Especially when they’re made of cotton.

    To which I responded:

    I must admit that I’m with you
    and only M & S will do;
    They must be white and stretch a bit
    to always be a perfect fit.

    I later added:

    I still agree that white is best
    alongside warm and cuddly vest
    I’m not a man for onesy thing
    but understand the joy they bring

    Of course, bed socks are now a must
    they must be red, or pink, or rust
    for white ones seem to me much colder
    so, coloured ones as I get older!

    BUT, I do sympathise with the invasion of your home and would dearly love to cause extreme nastiness to anyone who does such things!

    Liked by 1 person

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