I’m Tired of Being a Survivor

Friday, August 07, 2020

 I am tired of being a survivor.

This past week Hurricane Isaias ripped through my downstate NY neighborhood. The winds were in excess of 30 mph and they downed multiple trees behind my house, which is 80 acres of woods. Most of them fell on other trees or brush, but one evergreen fell into our driveway, crushing the trailer where we keep the tools for our construction business. I’ve already started the process for an insurance claim but we know it’s going to be sticky: it’s a trailer, covered under our auto policy, but the tools are partially covered under our liability policy. I’m not certain which will end up ultimately paying, but I am certain we won’t recover the value of the tools we had in the trailer. They represented years of good stewardship on my husband’s part, careful cleaning and oiling, and service immediately when a problem arose. Many were close to a decade old, if not older and all were carefully chosen for their longevity v price point. All were in perfect working condition and most needed regularly. Because of their age, we will most likely not recoup the cost for a newer model.

I happened to be standing on my porch when the tree fell, and heard the crack before it dropped. The accident had my complete attention. I had been filming the trees waving in the storm, so I caught it all. Every time I watch, I get the same sick feeling, almost like I was watching someone die. 

This may seem like sacrilege coming from me, being I mainly used this space to speak about the unbearable loss of my child, but it’s true. When the tree crushed that ugly little trailer, the life I’d fought so hard to build was crushed along with it, and to be honest: I’ve had enough. 

I wrote here just a cursory narrative of my younger life. In this story I was a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, emotional cruelty, as well as neglect. 


In the years since then, I’ve suffered a sexual assault, intimate partner abuse, a stalker who was threatening my life, and for whom we had to get a restraining order — and ordeal which took up years of my life, and left me feeling like I always had eyes on me, even when I was alone in my own home. 

Within the last nine years, I’ve lost a child, my mother, a friend in the Sandy Hook shooting, a 2nd trimester pregnancy, had a uterine rupture — almost died and lost my daughter, who came out not breathing, my son was diagnosed with a lifelong, life altering medical condition — which it took almost 3 years to diagnose, and I’ve almost lost my business twice. We’re in NY, and Covid restrictions shut us down.

With the exception of choosing to keep our business open- these are all things I had no control over. Things which happened to me (and my family).


I’m done, guys. 

We can’t work without tools. 

And I am fully aware there are people out there are having a much worse time of it. There are people  whose family members have died of Covid. Thousands of tons of old munitions exploded in Lebanon. I know people are suffering from serious medical afflictions. 

But our tools are gone, and I don’t know how we’re going to continue working. Grief and suffering are not Olympic sports, so it’s ok if I feel this way despite the deeper suffering of others. I’m also not going to participate in a contest of first world v third world problems. I’m grateful to live in a first world  country, but I’m still allowed to be sad. We were so close to solvency, I can still taste it. 


We had just paid all of our insurance premiums, the NYSEG bill which was he hung over our head, we’ve consistently paid rent through the shutdown, so thankfully those things are taken care of, but to what purpose? Everything we need to continue those activities is in a crushed trailer on our driveway. 

The worst part is we’d just come out of a terrible decline. This January/February we had lined up almost a years worth of work- numerous small jobs, one large project, and we were estimating a second large project.We were on a new path. While Covid didn’t kill the large project, most of the smaller ones have been cancelled… we were hanging on, living paycheck to paycheck… and we were managing, until this. 

We can’t work without tools. I’ve filed an insurance claim, but they’re not even going to be calling for 48 hours, and our other, non-auto agent believes we may get $1,000 back from our liability. That might cover hand tools. We need tools tomorrow, next week. 

My faith is shaken- not in God, who I understand is always there, but in everything else. And it’s great to pay lip service to this, and say those moments when you are forced to rely fully on Him are the most profound, but not during the process. Today, right now, I am praying…. But prayer will not put food on my table or new tools in our shed by next week.

About a year and a half ago, when we were in the thicket of our worst downturn, a friend asked me why we didn’t just give up and get normal jobs. Even then it would have been difficult, now with Covid, it will be next to impossible. 

I genuinely don’t know what we’re going to do. Even with insurance, we’re not going to get nearly enough to recoup our losses, which we estimate to be thousands of dollars (the cost of purchasing everything anew will be close to $25,000.00). I’m not even counting the cost to purchase a new sofa because ours became waterlogged due to a leak in our ceiling. Our whole house smells like standing water, and we are not even ready to begin voicing the obvious: we may potentially have to leave this place, the house we’ve rented for the last 8 years. We don’t have enough to pay a deposit on a new rental.

Please pray for us, guys. We are treading deep water and there is no land in sight. 

And I’m getting tired of swimming. 

If you would like to help us during this time, we would be so grateful: 


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