“365 Days of Mindfulness” [Day 74] After The Fire, and What’s Important Now…

I have thought of a thousand different ways to begin this post, myriad ways to try to re-enter this space that was unalterably changed the night of February 5, 2014 when Dragonfly Cottage burned down. I kept starting with the phrase, “After the fire…” but it wasn’t right. There was before the fire, and after the fire, and most importantly there is a bridge spanning the life that was, the life that I thought would be, all of my hopes and dreams and plans, and the life that will come, but I am still in a hotel, 2 weeks and 5 days after the fire, after the fire that took the lives of my four beloved little parrots that I had hand-raised from babies and had for nearly 20 years: Solomon, a blue crown conure; Emmy Lou, a tiny green cheek conure; Sierra, an incredibly precious Meyer’s parrot; and tiny Tommy, my little dusky conure. To the end of my days I will remember screaming uncontrollably for the firemen to get them out long after the little ones would have died. I got out the back of the house with my 4 beloved pugs and Miss Scarlet, my grey parrot. Rather than recount all the details of the fire I will share here the links to the two podcasts I did after the fire with the details…

After The Fire… Dragonfly Cottage is gone. * February 11, 2014

Saturday Night, February 15, 2014 * Still in the hotel, Processing & Life After The Fire…

I started this post three days ago. I couldn’t go on. Finally, I knew that I had to get something up even if it was bumbling about, tripping over my words, with tears running down my cheeks.

Here’s how it goes…

You are distraught, hysterical, inconsolable, numb, you can’t breathe, nothing will ever be the same, nothing will ever be okay, and then you collapse in a fog of too much emotion, where nothing is clear and everything is uncertain, and you can’t imagine it will ever be anything different.

And you do and say ridiculous things.

The day after the fire I said to my dear daughter Rachel who raced there that night and has taken tender care of me ever since, “But I didn’t even get to eat my bananas…” I was simply forlorn. I had gone to Sam’s Club the night before the fire — I go once a month to refill my meds and stock up on food — and I had come home with, among other things, a bunch of bananas. The day after my house burned to the ground and my sweet parrots had died I worried about the bananas. To say that you can’t think straight is an understatement.

There are so many people involved as the fire is happening and in the days afterword you are just in a fog. Rachel stayed with me at the hotel the first night and then spent most of the days with me and then went back and forth as she still is after having to go back to work. She has dealt with most of the official paperwork and so forth until this last week when I had people here every single day filling out mountains of forms, was interviewed, and right now cannot tell you almost anything I answered.

The day after the fire people started asking about contents in the house and I swear to you I had no clue what was in there. I was in shock.

In the days that followed I was constantly a wreck because first of all I am agoraphobic and my whole carefully constructed world, the safe nest I had built over 15 years, the place I never left, was gone. What proceeded, and would never have been able to be accomplished without my medication with one raised for the high anxiety that was debilitating, was an exhausting round of taking 4 pugs out 4-5  times a day when they did not know about walking on a leash. They came straight from my rescue to my home with a very large fenced yard and have never had to walk on a leash. We got harnesses and walked around gingerly, terrified they would get loose. I was in a an overwhelming state of exhaustion and tears after every walk after Rachel had to go back to work and I did it alone but I learned something important…

You do what you have to do. And I did, and I have, and I am, and I will continue to do so.

Now when it comes time to walk them I feel a sense of dread. I am nervous and feel overwhelmed, but I make it and each time I do I feel such an enormous sense of accomplishment and relief that it helps build my confidence. These babies have always been and still are my saving grace. If I had not had them here I think I might not have gotten out of bed. I think in life a very important thing is to have something to take care of, an animal companion of some sort even if it’s tropical fish, something larger than you. And they have ministered to me and taken care of me and loved me through it, we are loving each other through.

I want to write more, so much more, but I think just getting something down here will help me get back into writing everyday, to record my journey, to try to help others, perhaps, a little, to see that even through the worst of this you can get through. The hard things in life come, there is no way to stop them from coming, but the sheer knowledge that we can come through it all and get out on the other side is what has and is saving me. My mindfulness practice is my life preserver. I keep coming back to the fact that despite it all I am okay, and I will be okay, and somehow, some way, we will get through it all.

Please pray for us, hold us in your heart and send us good thoughts. That helps so much, and the one thing I do want to say here is that I am absolutely blown away by the kindness of people. You can feel very alone in life and then a tragedy happens and people come out of the woodwork to do something nice for you, and my beloved family of friends at Mid-Atlantic Pug Rescue have been sending gift certificates to amazon and more to help me rebuild.

And so on we go. I will keep you posted here. Right now I am so very tired, that existential kind of exhaustion that makes you feel as though you will never have an ounce of energy to do anything again, but I am writing this post, however disjointed it might be, and I hope you will forgive me if I have to kind of stumble about trying to get going again. I am here, and I will continue to be here.

My house burned down, but life goes on…

If you enjoy this blog a donation would be deeply appreciated to help me continue to bring “Maitri’s Heart” to you. Thank you, and many deep blessings to one and all…


  1. Maitri,

    I’m glad you wrote. I have been worried about you. I hope a new opportunity opens up from this to create the cottage you have been dreaming of.

  2. My heart breaks for you and yet your amazing inner power is there, a small flicker, but growing every day. Thnk you for your courage to share your moments.

  3. We have all been holding our breaths, each day of your ordeal, and sending you so much love you have been surrounded by it as you were interviewed, filled out forms, took the dogs for walks, wept. Your angels are with you everywhere, and the unquenchable spark that makes you such a light to us all still shines brightly.

  4. Daisy-Winifred says:

    As always you are often in my thoughts and I send love and light your way each early morning to lift and bolster your spirit through each day. Be gentle on your self, deep breaths and peace filled moments.

  5. Precious friend, it is so good to have you back but you must do what is good for YOU. We are here, still being inspired by you and know when the time comes, you will be back stronger and wiser. You teach more by example and each post, even the tiniest note, gives us something to grow with. I am so proud of you that you made it through this first post after the fire. You truly are amazing.. Many many blessings.

  6. Oh Cathryn oh honey you are so very dear to me…

    Today I am having a can’t get out of bed day. I was up at 6:30 to take out the dogs and throw clothes on to take them out when need be. I told the front desk not to have my room cleaned. I have honestly not had a day like this since I moved in here. What is happening, I realized while sitting here, is that even though I am very anxious to get out of the hotel into a house my agoraphobic flags are flapping loudly in the breeze. This has become a safe nest. Everyone is so kind to me here. Everyone has fallen in love with the pugs and even funny Miss Scarlet and they serve breakfast and dinner here down in the lobby Monday through Thursday but I just can’t go down there. They always call and ask if I am ready to eat and they bring it down. Leaving here in a few days is something I have longed for and now makes me very afraid. My issues added to everything surrounding the fire is just so hard, but this too shall pass and I just keep on keeping on. What else is there?

    I love you dearly and your love and support has meant, and means, more than you could ever possibly know…

    Bless you,


  7. Oh Daisy, sweet friend, how dear you are…

    It is always so good to hear from you and your loving thoughts lift my heart and ease it gently. Each day I move forward a little even though this is the “one step back” day that comes after 2 steps forward, but I will keep inching along.

    I hope all is well in your world honey. I send you my love…


  8. Paula honey, you are so very dear…

    Thank you so much for your kind words. It truly means more than you could possibly know. The gentle kind loving support that people are showing me is truly and deeply so very touching there simply are no words that are adequate to express my incredible gratitude, but I thank you so much, and I send you love…


  9. Oh sweet Suzanne…

    I will be fine honey, one must be. I have children and grandchildren and family and friends that I love so very dearly and here are my sweet animals, the 4 pugs and Miss Scarlet, that depend on me and rely on me and I am so deeply blessed to have all of you in my life.

    We hear, all of our lives, that saying “That which doesn’t kill me makes me stronger,” and in this case it is so true. The Fire Chief told my friend Jeff he was amazed I had made it out of the fire, it was that close. So I shall forge ahead, even if one baby step at a time, and a new life will be born. It will not be Dragonfly Cottage. Finally, that chapter of my life closed when the cottage burned down. But a new day is dawning and a new dream will form and I will live my way into it. This life is so precious, we must not waste a moment of it. When you come that close to dying, when you lose precious little ones as I did in this tragedy, you understand that more deeply than ever.

    I send you so much love Suzanne honey. Take care, be well, love yourself, you are a shining star in the firmament of my life…


  10. Barbara dear, thank you so very much for your kind note…

    I love and appreciate, so much, that you have written to me here. We are family, through marriage, our beautiful children and grandson, and I wish we lived closer because you and Don are such special people. Your kindness means the world to me and I send you a loving hug and hope you are enjoying your beautiful new life in Savannah. What a gorgeous place to live.

    Tell Don I said hello, many blessings and hugs to you both…



  11. Many blessings to you and your little family as you begin again and please, please do take good care of yourself in the days, weeks and months to come.

  12. maitri i can’t imagine a more poignant test of your mindfulness committment than losing everything (including your beautiful parrots) in a fire. that would push every button in your body (and mine), and yet here you are, using “the pen” to share your wisdom, through this tragedy, with us still. i’m sending you many hugs. currently at st. george and my haiku this morning was

    The waves do not care
    about human suffering
    yet their rhythms heal

    nature provides such comfort. i hope the weather warms up so you can hug a tree again dear dear woman

  13. Maître, you have coped beautifully after a devastating event. Well, series of events, really, followed by multiple losses all at once. I’m glad that we knew you a little via the web, so we could have a greater connection to you in your sorrow.

    Thank you for writing when you are able, and as you move forward to do the next necessary thing. Lovely that Rachel has been so supportive in person and that you have your pugs for comfort. You are in my prayers.

  14. Maitri my friend,
    I’ve listened to your podcasts, and been checking for news every day. And I continue to pray for you.
    I’ve learnt, the hard way, that you always can manage a little more – and I noticed that you know that too.
    Hugs and prayers,

  15. Dear Maitri….it is so good to hear from you….I have worried about you. You continue to amaze me with your resilience and courage, which will carry you through what lies ahead into a glorious new future. My prayers are with you as you navigate the seas of change, which will ultimately bring you to a safe and beautiful place. Sending you so much love <3

  16. Teresa Myszka says:

    Dearest Maitri, precious pugs and Miss Scarlett, I keep you all in my heart, thoughts and prayers.

  17. Maitri, you are one of the strongest people I’ve had the blessed good fortune to “meet”. You shall perservere, you shall come through this, and all shall be well. I’m so glad you and your pugs & Miss Scarlett are unharmed. This may sound odd, but it’s almost as though Life has handed you this challenge to prove to you how safe, how loved, how strong & how divinely protected you truly are.

    You’re in my thoughts & heart. Stay well.

  18. So very sorry to hear of your loss, Maitri — deepest condolences. And big e-hugs. You’ll be in my thoughts and prayers … heartfelt “take good care” gentle wishes … xx

  19. I had a vision for you while I was in the shower earlier today…
    I saw angels walking before you, beside you, behind you, with every step you took outdoors with the puggles. You are surrounded in a large sphere of bright pink light. Never doubt that you are being held and protected, because you ARE! 🙂

    Blessed Be,
    Victoria oxo

  20. My most devastating, life-long fear is of fire, and losing everything I have. I can’t begin to comprehend what you’re going through at this time, but I do know your strength is an inspiration, and your determination to persevere in the face of your fears and uncertainties has given me huge comfort regarding my own fears and uncertainties. I think of you and your babies every day, and anxiously look forward to reading more of your words of strength. I’m sending you so much love! xoxox

  21. Oh Dear Bright Beautiful Loving Souls…

    I want to thank each and every one of you so very much for your kind notes here, they just mean the world to me. I have read and reread them and know that I will come back and read them again. I treasure each one, more than I can possibly say. I send you all so very much love, and a warm hug, and wish you the best of everything possible. This, too, shall pass…



  22. Estelle Keribin says:

    Dear Maitri
    I am so glad you are writing. Share away please…in all this mess, you are still shining your true light even if it might not feel like it at times…be gentle to yourself big bear hugs….

  23. dear Maitri ,I have just read about the fire and I am so sorry .I am sending you lots of hugs, healing and love .You are one of the bravest people I have read about .

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