what to say/do when someone’s house burns down / world falls apart♥

LOVE NOTE – Sunday March 30th, 2014

Dear Friends

11 WEEKS P.F. [Post Fire] today.
I went to Kinfolk Cafe in Mundaring today for the opening of Flourish which is a Wholefood shop that is being set up there….and because I have lived in the Hills for such a long time as well as my ‘high’ profile in the community, it meant that I would ‘bump into’ and see local people and friends that I know…….

Well it is fascinating me……..and seeing I am committing to being authentic….it is more like I’m gobsmacked. astounded. astonished. surprised. dumbfounded. flabbergasted. bewildered. befuddled. every damn word that my trusty Thesaurus can come up with that means

downright stunned and A-M-A-Z-E-D!!

“And what for?” you are probably thinking!!
Well there seems to be TWO responses that happen when I see people these days…. and these are people who I haven’t seen in weeks or I haven’t seen P.F. [Post Fire]
Note: I do know these people KNOW our home has burned down!!

  1.                 They don’t say anything about our house burning down and they talk about anything (and I mean anything!!) other than what is happening in my life.
  2.                 They say “how you going?” with an energetic silent code that translated means don’t. tell. me. how. things. really. are………just stay on the surface like the weather, or the dress you are wearing or, anything other than__________ (the fire and its impact)

If they do say anything about the bush fire it is usually something like:
– ‘Sorry to hear that you lost your house!’…..

This is quickly followed by many different versions of the dastardly ‘AT LEAST’:

– ‘At least you’re OK’ (when we aren’t)
– ‘At least you had insurance’
– when often people are under-insured AND
– getting The Insurers to pay what people have insured themselves for is generally like:
– getting ‘blood out of stone’,
– somewhat like you’re on trial and you’re seen to be guilty until you prove yourself innocent – definitely another ‘trial by fire’!!
AND anyway it feels like no amount of money can replace your home and treasures – especially at this stage!
At least nobody died’ (which somehow translates as a judgement that you could be feeling so devastated by just your house burning down and your loss)
‘It’s just stuff’
(when to you it definitely wasn’t)
For this one take a really deeeeeeeeeep breath……….
At least there’ll be a lesson / meaning in it…and/or you’ll grow from it’

Excuse me, it is time for a. little. rant.

I’m guessing this must be my ‘Queen Rant’ part.

I do NOT like it AT ALL when people use the word LOST in relation to our house burning down –
‘sorry to hear that you lost your house!’
and as well when it is applied when someone dies:
‘sorry to hear that you lost your partner / mother / father / baby / child / friend / brother / sister / grand-parent!………….. 

I can remember clearly when ♡Russ died people saying this and I always wanted to scream out –
“I didn’t lose him!”
“I know where he is, he’s dead!”
“Let me show you a picture of what he looked like when he died!  I have his ashes here, so he is NOT. LOST!”

My house / home is NOT. LOST.

It is burned down and completely destroyed! And it is the hugest LOSS!!
And I do know where it is – there’s the rubble!!

It is not like going to the shopping Mall and coming out and you have ‘lost’ your car and you wander up and down the parking area till you find it!…….
– or you’ve lost your purse or wallet,
– or when you do get to the car and you find that you’ve left your keys behind.  somewhere!!….so you retrace your steps and end up going to The Lost and Found department……
– Or you’ve lost your glasses – which you absolutely thought you left in a-very-strategic-place for you to find them again…. and now you’re wandering around back-tracking your steps looking here. there. and everywhere. and still no glasses!! (I bet no one else does that!)……

Our use of language can so often be insensitive and incorrect.
End. Of. Rant!

Let me record and underline it here – I DON’T always know what to say in some ‘delicate’, sensitive situations!! For instance, I have a friend who I knew was very vulnerable and raw about having just gone through a second miscarriage and I wasn’t sure what would be the most sensitive things to say.

So what did I do?

I Google-d it!

and spent some time learning what to say…….and what people in those circumstances most needed to hear. I was amazed at the information I found!

And YES there is a whole pile of stuff if you Google:



So even interacting with others can be a challenge for us fire-affected people ….
What I do is be very selective.
And I sort through the files in my head choosing the response to give and depending on who they are, and what energy I have at that moment, depends on the answer I give.

I do find it particularly hurtful when people who have been friends B.F. [Before Fire] do any of the above.

Sometimes I notice myself having a little fantasy where I run a story in my head that goes something like…..

Susie I heard your beautiful home burnt down and I was SO sorry to hear of it. …… I imagine it has been a really. really devastating time for you and your whole family………… I’m wondering how you are dealing with it all………Have you got time for a cuppa, my treat?……..If it would help and you have the time right now to share about it you’ve got my full attention. I’m here for you…” 

and I offer it to people to say to me… 

There’s lots more on this and I am finding some excellent lists of what to say to someone who’s house has burnt down………that’s another post, I think….

I think these are important life skills to have as variations of what I am saying also applies to most forms of loss and breakdown – death, suicide, divorce, mental illness, miscarriage, still-birth, being fired or made redundant, bankruptcy, diagnosed with a terminal illness or being chronically sick and other natural disasters and so on….things that are going to be happening in and around everyone’s lives…..

Thanks ♡Nicola for the beautiful quote you shared by ♡Rumi…that if applied as a principle you can’t go wrong…

“If words come out of the heart, 
they will enter the heart”


Thanks for listening. I hope my words feel like they come out of my heart to yours….. Your being there does matter to me and the last thing I want to do is feel harsh to you… Let me know how this impacts you and the experiences you have had and I’m interested to hear any suggestions / ideas you have…
LOVE, Blessings and Gratitude, Susie

RELATED TOPIC: November 29th, 2014 
12 Tips for helping when someone’s house has burnt down / world fallen apart♥ & 46 Weeks Post Fire Update – see HERE

For a range of BUSHFIRE related posts see HERE:
Category Archives:  BUSHFIRE Destruction & Aftermath
They start at the bottom of the list – January 26, 2014 post –
bushfire destroys our family home at Warm Fuzzy Hill

♡♥♡DAY 89365 Day Being-♥LOVE-Zero-Negativity Campaign 


About susiesheartpathblog

My wish with Susies♥HeartpathBlog is to connect and relate to you from my heart and soul and mind to your heart and soul and mind …..whilst sharing information and Resources about ♡LOVE-ing and Relationships and FULL exuberant ALIVENESS★…. My intention is to provide a space where you can engage with me and with the community of those who are ‘walking’ the ♥HEART PATH of conscious relationships….. people who daily make choices and actions about becoming and being more ♡LOVE-ing…….people who care that their partners and families and friends and the wider community feel ♡LOVE-d and ♡LOVE-able… people who are curious about and respect and validate the reality of ‘the other’ and who choose to create and live in a Zero Negativity Zone [ZNZ zone].... I am committed to teaching and sharing practical user-friendly communication ♡TOOLS and Skills and processes that lead to growth and deep healing, connection, ♡LOVE and intimacy. I am a passionate net-worker and committed to connecting people to the abundance of Resources that are available – I believe much of what we need is out there, yet people don’t often know the Resources are there or if they do, where to find them. I love putting people in touch with opportunities and possibilities….
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4 Responses to what to say/do when someone’s house burns down / world falls apart♥

  1. kali says:

    You poor darling what a shit!!! -but you actually have humour in it all still which is amazing – at least you haven’t LOST your humour— I can sort of comprehend it was like that with Joel too—I wish I did not have to read this rant and the pain between the lines- I don’t have the car much but any time you want to come down get on the table chillax- rant or unload in a session or a walk along the beach and a cuppa please do -lots love Kali

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Kali sweetie♡
      Yes humour has certainly been a wonderful life saver many times over this last 3 months – even going back to the very beginning when we found out about our house being burned down we joked about it being radical de-cluttering!!…and yes ranting helps too…
      It makes sense how there would be parallels for you with Joel♡
      Thanks again for reminding me of your offer “to get on the table chillax- rant or unload in a session or a walk along the beach and a cuppa”
      I will call you soon. Thanks muchly with LOVE♡


  2. Thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing how you feel about what people say. I love the suggested words and response that you offer in this post. I’m taking notes! As always, I learn so much from you.

    My reaction to your “lost” rant seems to me to be somewhat a matter of semantics. (I am in no way interested in poking at a sore spot.) You have experienced a huge “LOSS” and I think this is the intention when someone says, “I’m sorry you lost your home.” I think they mean to say, “I’m sorry for the loss of your home.”

    It is true, most people are uncomfortable and afraid of talking about difficult subjects and going to the hard places with people. It is safe to stay on the surface. This has been true within my own family. I know I’ve been guilty of not knowing the right things to say. I’m learning from you and how I felt when I lost both of my parents in the last few years. {soul hugs} k

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear friend Kathryn♡
      Sending a very belated thank you for visiting here & sharing your response to this post.
      I am glad that you find my words of benefit to you when “talking about difficult subjects and going to the hard places with people…”
      I do value you noting the perspective when someone says, “I’m sorry you lost your home.”I think they mean to say, “I’m sorry for the loss of your home.”……
      Yes I get that and I am sensitive to that, and I don’t feel a need ‘to correct’ many people…
      I guess the biggest point that underlies this is that usually it is the person that is going through the different forms of loss and breakdown who need to make the people around them comfortable with it, when really if we are to truly support people through loss, we need to do our homework about how to be caring, compassionate and supportive to them.
      I have had many people share comments with me about different situations they have been in and how insensitive people generally have been to them around their loss – especially with the dreaded “AT LEASTS” …….
      – to someone whose brother suicided “isn’t it lucky you didn’t get along with your brother very well?”…. which of course didn’t make it any easier….
      – someone dealing with chronic illness being astounded by an incredible lack of understanding and empathy in the caring professions and medical personnel,
      – someone whose husband left her unexpectedly who got the same response of people not mentioning it at all and some just stopped talking to her altogether.
      – a friend whose home also burnt down in the bushfires who took 3 months leave from her professional job, who found when she returned to her office “the silence was deafening” with no one saying ANYTHING to her about why she had had time off (and they all knew) ….

      I can see I need to talk about this topic a whole lot more!
      Thanks for being there ♡Kathryn, {soul hugs} back to you ❤


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