By Mary Lynn Bruny

It is said that home is where the heart is, where family and pets and memories are. But really, home is where most everything is: things large and things small, such as nail clippers.

Who normally thinks about nail clippers? No one. They are part of the innocuous background stuff of one’s life that keeps it humming along its merry way.

But then one morning you wake up and you need your nail clippers but you don’t have them. Actually you don’t have anything that was in your home because it and all its contents have disappeared like an evil spell was cast upon them.

Such was the case of my husband’s childhood friend who along with his family lost their Louisville home of 25 years and its contents in the Marshall fire. They had about 30 seconds to wrangle their dogs into a vehicle during the 100 mile an hour winds in blackout conditions to escape their neighborhood that was burning down.

We Front Range folks often feel like we live in paradise, but on this day paradise was in chaos.

Our friend and his family are fortunate, of course. They have each other and their pets. But his mention of needing nail clippers got me thinking about the myriad of items we all have in our homes and take for granted: things for function, for comfort and for joy.

Over decades our family has collected what seems like a gazillion things. For instance, we have enough old musical instruments to form a band (granted a very bad one). We have enough athletic equipment to start a small gym. (So why am I out of shape?) We have an embarrassing amount of beauty-related items (with not much result to show for the effort). I kid here, but you get my point. We live in the land (okay, house) of plenty.

When you think about losing a home, you think of the most important things: people and pets. But all other things you have gathered over the years play their part too. They’re the things that make a house feel like a home, whether they are items imbued with special meaning or just handy stuff. And suddenly for 1,000-plus households all these things
are gone.

Now I am looking at our home with new eyes. I’m sure many Front Range folks are doing this as well. We know it very easily could be us now staying at a friend’s place with our only remaining worldly possessions being the clothes on our backs and the vehicles in which we escaped.

It’s so very easy to take the abundance in our lives for granted: the abundance of family and friends and pets, of our homes and things, of food and clean water, of electricity and gas, of the opportunities to do activities. And safety: most of us have felt abundantly safe in our homes. If there is one lesson we have all learned in the last two years is that we should not take anything for granted. Apparently now this
even includes having flipping
nail clippers.

Most people who have been on the planet a while have experienced some type of hard loss. The silver lining of loss is that it often results in a deeper appreciation of what remains, fractured as it is. Broken hearts and spirits often eventually love and appreciate more deeply. This is what we can hope for the folks who have lost their homes: may their gratitude prevail over their sadness. And may the support of the community lift their spirits as they work through the challenging months ahead.

By Mary Lynn Bruny. Mary Lynn writes about local real estate and home-related topics for At Home Colorado. Email her at [email protected]. To read previous The Lighter Side articles, go to