Rachael Ray is reflecting on a difficult personal period that coincided with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Speaking with Extra on Wednesday, the daytime star, 53, said that "you have to be" grateful when faced with challenges — which, for her and husband John Cusimano, included losing a pet, enduring a house fire and experiencing severe flood damage to their New York City apartment in August due to Hurricane Ida.
When asked what she's most grateful for, Ray simply said, "Being alive."
"When I lost my dog [Isaboo] I was so grateful that I could be with her the last several months of her life," the Rachael Ray Show host added. "She died in my arms… I felt guilty and grateful at the same time… People suffered actual human loss from COVID or because they couldn't get care… and how many people died alone."
As for the fire that completely burned down her upstate New York home last year, she explained that "the chimney burped under the roof, that's just life."
"So many people wrote to me and reached out and said we lost so much too, I mean that's just bad luck," Ray continued.
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Ray then discussed how her NYC apartment flooded in late August during Hurricane Ida. "We weren't there," she said. "Leaks became bigger and the roof became worse and we thought we had repaired everything… then Ida… the whole apartment, it was just raining inside."
In September, Ray revealed the flooding to PEOPLE, saying "We had finally just finished the work on making the [NYC] apartment over. And then, Ida took it out. And I mean, out. Down hard."
"Like, literally every speaker in the ceiling, the fireplace, every seam in the wall... It was like the apartment just literally melted, like in Wicked or something," she explained.
The flood happened just a year after her home in Lake Luzerne, New York, burned down in August 2020. "The entire property was gone. There was nothing," she told PEOPLE in September. "It was literally a hole in the ground. It was considered a 100% loss. And they cleared away the entire, everything. Took it all."
On a lighter note, Ray shared details from the 16th season of her hit daytime show, specifically how the new set looks like her actual home decorated with her own furniture.
Explaining that the season is a "hybrid" situation, she said, "They tried to make it look less drastically different than my actual home, because this season is hybrid and we shoot in both… People seem to really like that."
She added, "It's great to have the energy of an audience again. I've felt wildly unpopular for 20 months because no one goes [starts clapping] when I walk into the room!"