Shock, Grief, and an Act of Larceny.

Today… today was a rough one, dear blogosphere.

Someone very close to my family, someone who had been on the periphery of my life since before I was born and a dear family friend, died in the most sudden and tragic of ways.

It came out of the blue, and because of the nature of his industry, it happened in a very public way. I don’t think any of us really think about our deaths, but we certainly don’t expect them to be breaking news that breaks the heart of a whole city.

And since writing is how I process feelings, I am doing so now on this post.

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Shock. Shock is first, right? When it comes to the stages of grief, I think that one comes first. I mean, when someone is suddenly removed from existence it is shocking. It is numbing and takes a bit to really process and believe. I mean, these tragedies effect others, not you right?

Oh wait, I just jumped to a later step I think. Denial? Bartering? Something like that? Like maybe if I check the news later this will have been a mistake and the outcome will be different… it makes sense in your mind, even if it doesn’t add up through logic.

But I really want to talk about what is considered Stage Two of the Kübler-Ross model.

That of Anger.

Shock and grief are a funny thing. They illicit strange and random reactions. I was doing just fine, trying to process a random and sudden loss by going through the normal motions and yes, perhaps watching a bit too much news hoping for something that would make it all make sense.

I made it though my work day, productivity perchance a bit lower than usual.

And while  walking down my hallway of the apartment complex I call home, on my way to get my mail,

I suddenly performed an act of petty larceny.

Back-story is needed, I realize at this point.

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I actually meant to write a post about this earlier, but it seemed such a silly and pointless thing to talk about.

But about six months ago, I walked out my door on a Friday morning, like any other Friday morning. And discovered that my doormat had been stolen. (You see why I didn’t write a post about this? Who gets emotional about a doormat?)

Well, it turns out, I do. I had crossed that doormat everyday for almost two years up to this point. It was an absolutely adorable doormat emblazoned with the NYC skyline. It served as a reminder to my days in the “big city”, my inner travel aspirations, and had come to symbolize my home. After all, everyone could always pick out my door because OF COURSE I would be the one with the skyline of New York jauntily displayed in front of my otherwise nondescript door.

So it was gone. Suddenly. Just like that. I looked up and down the hall.. maybe they had vacuumed in the early hours and not replaced it? It strangely ate at me all day long, until I talked with other residents who complained of cute-doormat thieves running a muck in the past. (The doormats were cute, not the thieves, as far as I know.)

They advised me to look up and down the hallways and that I would find my missing doormat soon.

One month later, when walking the first floor on the way to the mail room…. I saw it.

I saw my doormat.

It was mine, clearly distinguishable by it’s wear and tear.

I would know that doormat anywhere, and had never seen it anywhere else in the building.

I had found my thief. 

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For you who don’t know me personally, I am a pretty darn passive (aggressive) individual. I don’t like fighting. I don’t like confrontation.

So I simply stared longingly at my dearly departed doormat, and walked by.

Second-guessing soon kicked in, with a vengeance. After all, was I POSITIVE that was my door mat? (For the record… Yes, Yes I was.)

Even after many encouragements to confront the terrible thief, leave a nasty note, or just “selectively relocate” the door mat back to my place, I did nothing. I let it be. I am too passive sometimes, and figured it wasn’t a fight worth starting.

But it still burned a little in my heart, every time I walked to get my mail. My doormat. Mine. Stolen away from me.

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Back to our previous tale….

As I walked down the hallway toward the mail room, I was struggling. Struggling with senseless loss.

Struggling with a world where things didn’t make sense.

Struggling with the unfairness of the accidental loss of a man who always strove to fill the world with warmth and beauty.

Struggling with the sense that I didn’t really have the right to be upset.

What gives me, someone at the edge of someone’s life, the right to have grief towards their untimely passing?

And the strangest thing happened, as I walked towards my stolen doormat…

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I was filled with fury. 

And anger, a very rare and strange sensation for me.

A righteous anger at a world where things had no logic and bad things happened to good people, for no understandable reason.

And I was filled with helplessness. 

A sense that I couldn’t fix things, and a helplessness for living states away from my family when they needed hugs and love and support. A sense of uselessness and meaningless and frustration that I couldn’t change things.

And then I realized that I could.

I could right one wrong. A stupid, petty, meaningless wrong, yes, but still a wrong.

And without any premeditation, I did it.

I picked up my doormat.

Reversed directions.

And selectively relocated it back to my apartment.

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So I might not be able to make sense of senseless tragedies.

I might not be able to fix any broken hearts or mend any real wounds.

But today, I could right one little petty meaningless wrong. And take back what was mine.

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For the record, I do realize that there is a tiny TINY chance that I just stole a doormat from someone who had somehow owned this identical mat before and just happened to move in and put it out just after mine was stolen. I understand this.

But shock, and grief, makes us do crazy things.

And for the moment, I couldn’t care less.

I regained control and logic in a world that seems to be missing it for the moment.

Judge me if you dare.

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