When Aramaic speakers (Assyrians) exclaim "ashes on my head!", it means something horrible has happened - Such as death of a loved one and as well as a bad incident or accident (involving friends/family) that has just occurred - And hearing such news, they will exclaim, usually with passion, "Oh! Ashes on my head!".
I believe this idiom stems from the bible where it is found in 2 Samuel 13-19:
"And Tamar put ashes on her head and tore the long robe that she wore. And she laid her hand on her head and went away, crying aloud as she went."
Is there an English idiom or exclamation that is equivalent to that one? Thanks.