What not to say to flood victims

Harvey's landfall changed the lives of thousands across southeast Texas, and in times of loss it is often hard to find the right words to say.

Michelle Homer, the managing editor for KHOU.com, posted to KHOU's 11 Facebook page on Friday with some first-hand advice when speaking with victims who have lost everything. 

"What not to say when someone loses their home: It's only things. Be grateful you're alive." I know you mean well, but some of those "things" -- photos, heirlooms, mementos, a child's favorite toy, Grandma's quilt -- are priceless and irreplaceable and they have the right to grieve them.I know this because I watched my beloved grandparents in Oklahoma endure devastating  floods many times growing up. I remember how strong and brave they were but I'm sure the tears flowed when the children and grandchildren went home after cleaning up. Later, my grandma and cousins would lose everything when a massive F5 tornado blew away their homes and everything in them in 1999. Photos from that tornado were later found as far away as Canada and the victims were so grateful to have them back. When the floodwaters began gushing into KHOU 11, we only had a few minutes to grab what we could and move upstairs. I'm so glad I stuffed these photos into my laptop case. They are not "things." Equipment and furniture and appliances are things. If you don't know what to say to flood or fire or hurricane or tornado victims, just give them a hug and be there for them. They need you."

© 2017 KHOU-TV


JOIN THE CONVERSATION

To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment