12 Tips for helping when someone’s house has burnt down / world fallen apart & 46 Weeks Post Fire Update

LOVE NOTE – Saturday November 29th, 2014

Dear Friends♡….

It will be 46 WEEKS P.F. [Post Fire] tomorrow.  On the one hand it feels like the bushfire that destroyed our Home and our world was decades ago, and on the other, it feels like only yesterday.

The ache for Home is still so raw…

And filling the emptied space in my soul is so tiring and wearisome…definitely a “quest”…and not for the faint-hearted.

I imagine you are as tired of hearing me share about how exhausted I am, as I am writing about it!!…..And experiencing it.

Yet being real and authentic seems to be one of the most important lessons for me on this Post Fire journey……staying present to what is feeling real and true and not trying to “pretty it up” and covering up and presenting as having it together…
I value a comment ♡Lisa made about this: People usually give

“the edited-cleaned-up version and not the-warts-and-all version…”

Today has not been such a good day…..

Too many precipitous and steep downhills on the ole bushfire roller coaster.……I don’t know whether people ‘get‘ just how exhausting it is to continually have to be vigilant about bringing oneself back to being positive and grateful….especially when one’s brain and physiology is still teetering on the edge of Post Traumatic Stress….
– and having to keep looking for the positive…
– and how phony and wearing it can feel to have to pretend…
– and how that sort of gratefulness doesn’t last for very long…
– and how it can feel a bit like being on a constant and arduous giant hamster wheel or tragedy treadmill – doing lots of exhausting fast footwork but really staying in the same-place-getting-nowhere fast….

TIP 1: Don’t assume just because people look like they are coping that they are!

Being so high on the stress scale and so low on resources, it is like we are walking around with what feels like a “short fuse”…..like today I got massively triggered into some ‘old history’ by some of ♡Shelton’s actions and ended up being soooooooooooo T O T A L L Y out of my core values and ended up ‘going for the jugular’ from a heavy-attacking-take-no-prisoners Self that could have won the Olympics for foul-mouthed fish-wives…aka coarse-mannered, vulgar-tongued women.

Will she survive, that is the question.
Or maybe, will he?
Or more to the point, will they?
Our relationship and connection is very strained and fragile at times. It adds significantly to the hurt and pain and stress.

TIP 2: don’t assume just because people look like they are coping – and you think that they should be able to – that they are!!

You may remember I  mentioned in the post on the auspicious day of the 11th of the 11th we got our “eviction notice”…..the request to vacate ♡Ivan’s place where we have been renting Post Fire.

So the last few weeks since then have been ‘seriously’ getting on with the renovations and remodeling of the Owl House cottage at Warm Fuzzy Hill so we can temporarily live there while we work out whether we want to build another house at Warm Fuzzy Hill, or buy somewhere else, or live in another area, state, country, planet………become gypsies, live on an island, in a caravan, in a RV, on a cruise ship…..who knows?
We don’t!

And I think I just might start believing in Murphy’s Law seeing it seems if something can go wrong, and get screwed up it does!!
And it has!!

I’ll spare you the details of the things that have ‘gone wrong’  as right now I am over-the-moon grateful and relieved to announce the space that is being converted to a kitchen and dining room has been re-concreted, and
– the floor tiles have been bought,
– the cabinet maker will have our new kitchen cupboards finished and fitted when we return in late January,
– the cracked and broken windows have been repaired,
– door locks have been found and installed and the Owl House is now secure (you can’t imagine how many hardware stores were sold out of the locks we needed!),
– the electrician and plumber are teed up to do their part to connect things up,
– a sea container has been bought and positioned on site as a storage shed for the furniture and gear that was originally in the rooms we will be using,
…..and that is just the major tasks!

Back at ♡Ivan’s it has felt like continuous full-on and tiring days of
clearing out rooms.
shifting things and discovering things I had forgotten we have been given……so many things that have been stored waiting and waiting for what it is we are going to do next…. for such a long time some of them.

One aspect of our circumstances is that we have been accumulating and collecting and gathering and stockpiling all sorts of this and that…
bits and pieces
assorted paraphernalia
all sorts of new and pre-loved belongings
And as we have been renting/sharing ♡Ivan’s house we haven’t been able to use most of them and make them “ours”.

Some of it we don’t even know if it is ‘ours’!!!

When you are living in someone else’s space / home and most of our stuff is “new” to us it is a challenge to sort what is “ours’ and what is not…stuff in the kitchen, bathroom, laundry, office, lounge…

But then again do you know I even go through my clothes and many of them don’t “feel” like me or mine…..it is such a weird feeling…..like going through someone else’s wardrobe……someone else’s belongings…

TIP 3: Never underestimate the value of your popping in (even for a few hours)

and offering to help with whatever task is being done. There are always options of things to do whatever your level of fitness, skill, strength and availability.

TIP 4: Packing up (or in fact ALL seemingly overwhelming jobs that need doing) is best done with ‘accomplices’

who aren’t going to let you off the hook (read – give up!) as it all feels like it is toooooo much!!

As well as remodeling and renovating and packing up, November has been the month to clear out the acres and acres of the highest Springtime “giant weeds” that have grown Post Fire – see ♡Shelton’s 6ft 5 inch body almost disappearing in the pic below. It is generally a big problem after intense bushfires with many, many reasons contributing….

WFH-Anita-weedsIt has needed weeks of whipper snipping and piling up to burn off along with more of the dead trees……to make our property – you guessed it – fire proof – LOL!!

I am very. very. V E R Y grateful for ♡Shelton for working day after day, often from 8am to 7pm, for such long hours doing such hard work……….true grit and doggedness to the MAX!! I admire and appreciate his huge strength and tenacity and staying power…..          What a STAR!! 3 Cheers Hurrah!! 🙂


So I guess it makes sense how I am sooooo looking forward to getting on the plane tomorrow (Sunday) and flying to Victoria for the holiday that we have had planned for months….

I am grateful that I can actually still walk after getting through all the tasks…

Well maybe it is I am grateful that I can ‘hobble’…

It’s like everything hurts and is groaning for a break: my back in a few too many places, my legs, my shoulders, my feet, my calves, my arms, my fingers and especially ‘that’ knuckle that now feels permanently crippled and aching from raking up and pulling up weeds and more weeds…

I am grateful to you for reading this and following my story…… that matters over and over to me. Big Appreciations to you 🙂

TIP 5: One consequence of PTSD is people tend to isolate socially…

Unfortunately I have done this for self-preservation.

This often follows the repeated experience of people not really getting or understanding how it is for you……
and in just having to inform them of how it is
can often feel like having to justify over and over of how it is….
and it just all gets T O O hard and too much….

This leads to having less and less people to call on for help……and anyway,
reaching out and asking I do less and less,
as it is too hard to hear people say over and over,
NO they are not available
(and I do understand people have lives of their own that are very full AND it is OK to say No).
Yet when everyone says NO (like when no-one turns up for busy bees that we organize) it all feels even more hard and hopeless and being alone.
It is a very vicious and dangerous cycle…

TIP 6: Don’t assume just because people look like they are coping – and have stopped asking for help – that they are!!

R U OK - I'm not

TIP 7: Don’t say: “If you need help just ask”.

People usually won’t ask. Our experience has been that many people say – if you need help just ask – and don’t ‘mean’ it….. so it doesn’t take long to generalize it to not asking to eliminate not being disappointed!

TIP 8: Do say: “I can help you with ___________” and offer specifically what, and when you are available.

TIP 9: Expect and respect it will take longer than you think for life to feel ‘normal’ again for those recovering from traumatic and stressful life experiences.

This includes people who have been through any type of prolonged stressful life experiences (and especially traumatic and life-changing ones – illness, accident, tragedy, death, loss, heartbreak, relationship breakdown, domestic violence, divorce, etc, etc).

We have been informed to expect it will take at least 2 years Post Fire for us!!

TIP 10: ‘Words of Encouragement’ and ‘Acts of Service’ go a long way to lift people’s energy and add to their resources when they are under stress.

I am amazed at how often my energy levels were significantly raised by someone saying:
“Good job”
“Well done!”
“I can help you with ___________________” or
“I’m here for the next couple of hours, give me a job”……..
Or sent a care-box of ‘goodies’ and treats……

WFH-Fionas-boxOr went through their cupboards and drawers when we visited and sent us away with all sorts of household and personal appliances and treasures that they had excess of.

TIP 11: there are many sites that share great information on how to reach out to check whether people are going OK and to connect with them.

One of my favourites is the grassroots R U OK? movement in Australia. I wrote about it in this post 

TIP 12: the fresh perspective from someone (you) who is not day in / day out looking through the same lens and going through the same experience as you can offer great insights / options / help.

The OWL HOUSE - Week 46 Post Fire

The OWL HOUSE – Week 46 Post Fire

Even though things are looking quite green around the Owl House it is somewhat depressing to read back over some of my recent posts and see that things haven’t changed all that much since 9 months (36 weeks) Post Fire.
In fact it is mostly the same theme!!

So I guess the solution is just more of – back to my mantra:

One day at a time!!!!

or even one hour at a time!!!

and sometimes just one minute!!

or one deeeeeep breath!

Gratefully and with LOVE Susie♡

♡♡DAY 333 – Being-♡LOVE-and Being-Grateful for it All 

About susiesheartpathblog

My aim with Susies♥HeartpathBlog is to connect and relate to you from my heart, mind and soul while sharing information and resources about conscious relationships, communication and ♡LOVE 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 lovable… 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 keen 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. Putting people in touch with opportunities and possibilities is a high priority for me….
This entry was posted in ♥LOVE NOTE, BUSHFIRE Destruction & Aftermath, GRIEF & SORROW♥, Warm Fuzzy Hill and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to 12 Tips for helping when someone’s house has burnt down / world fallen apart & 46 Weeks Post Fire Update

  1. Nicole Ma says:

    Hi Susie,
    I have been reading your posts and my heart goes out to you and Shelton and others whose lives were turned upside down by the fires. If you are in Melbourne please come over for a meal. Much love to you both. Nicki xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Lisa Ziazan says:

    Great blog Susie. When I was in hospital at the beginning of the year part of the group therapy was of course staying connected socially and/or reconnecting. So I set my goals, one being asking a friend who lived not far from the hospital to bring me some books to read when they had some time. This was the first time in 6 admissions to a private clinic (over 12 year span) that a friend has ever visited me. Yay! or so I thought, but since then I have hardly heard from that friend and I can’t help but wonder if I made a mistake in asking for their help. Two years on after my husband left and then ongoing debilitating illness I have barely anyone left in my life, except for new connections on Facebook. I am taking the positive that as I reemerge into life i can find some new friends to share the journey with. This experience will make me a better therapist as I feel many therapists are handing out text book advice without the understanding of how exhausting things like anxiety are, and how everything can not always be easily solved in short term interventions. It takes time to recover. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Freea says:

    Good tips! I think another is to be kind to yourself too-sometimes the pain gets so deep it feels like your heart is breaking and it would be better outside of you. And in those moments all I want is a hug and to be held to the tears stop or feel at bay.
    I think there is a little miracle that is worth sharing though. As much as it makes me happy it reminds me further what is now ashes. Xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Patti says:

    Three weeks ago I was told that my department and my job did not exist anymore, Since then there have been moments when I just wanted to start screaming over little things. A part of me will realize that my reaction is out of proportion. I think it is because it takes everything I have to deal with things as they are they I cannot handle one more thing going wrong even if it is a small thing.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Selk says:

    Dear Susie,
    Never having had a house burn down I can relate to similar feelings of loss and heartbreak. Sometimes it feels so hard to give myself ‘permission’ to just fall into the grief, then a dear friend hugs me and the tears come. I love how people gather strongly around you at the initial trauma, and then once they feel you are ‘ok’ they don’t give as much attention. This is natural. And it is also hard for me to keep reaching out, but reach out I do. And sometimes I don’t and it’s just me and the grief.
    I salute your honesty and your authenticity Susie. Thankyou for being real. It helps me give me permission to Just Be too.
    Selk xox

    Liked by 1 person

  6. bnourished says:

    Have a fabulous holiday Susie. How long are you away for? Would love to call by and lend a hand now that all the seasonal lurgies seem to be out of our system. Lots of love to you and Shelton. Julia xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m wrapping you in a big hug right now. More than the emotional exhaustion, I can see that this is a situation that is taxing you physically. I know how tiring it is to move into a new place, but you and Shelton are rebuilding from ground zero. I appreciate your candor and showing us how you are feeling and what we can do to help. I so wish I lived closer – (note this isn’t one of those vague polite, “let-me-know-what-I-can-do” gestures.) But what I can take away is how to respond to those around me who are faced with challenges. I tend to not share the struggles in my life and keep things focused on the fun artsy projects. You are so very brave and honest. Love you!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Dear Susie, after reading your post I understand so much better what you have been going through. Our daughter had what we thought was a breakdown over 15 months ago, it ends up after time in therapy that she is dealing with Complex-PTSD issues and since that time has also been diagnosed with a chronic illness that has severely affected her life. I can say now that I have a much greater understanding of what she is going through, which gives me greater understanding of what you have been facing and going through. PTSD is not for the faint at heart. It is cruel. It takes you places you never even thought existed. It rattles a person and their loved ones to their core and will test every aspect of their being and their lives forcing a person and family to go through some major upheavals… not counting in your case the loss of so much and need to rebuild. I’m there with you from the other side of the world, offering you a load of compassion… As I walk this tough journey with my own daughter. Big love to you Susie. Sending waves of love, peace and healing your way. xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

  9. wonderful insights, Suzie….thank you for sharing your hard-won wisdom.
    You are amazing.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. pelhamc11 says:

    Hi Susie- So sorry you are still going through this level of stress. I am housebound in Michigan, so can’t give physical assistance. I could do some writing or editing for you if that would help. Just email me.

    Liked by 1 person

Share your thoughts here - be great to hear what you think♡

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s