Sunday, December 11, 2016

The DePeyster Hardships

(Warning.. Long)
I was thinking about the home I had in upstate NY tonight and what a miracle it was that any of us survived. I am going to share a little bit of it with you all, but keep in mind this is only a fraction of what it took to live there, for so long. I don't think my children will ever forgive me and I am glad that it is over.
I talked a little bit about the move from Ca. to Ny in one of the previous thankfulness writings and I am going to continue some of that. The first night there, Dec 8th, I begged to go back to Ca. We did not have any of our furniture and were sleeping on the floors with blankets when something bit me on my finger. The lights were not on so I could not see what it was. I uprooted myself and the kids to the kitchen where I kept the lights turned on all night long.
2nd night.. Our truck had arrived nearing the end of the day and we pulled off our mattresses to put on the floor, hoping to deter the rats and mice that inhabited the house. We were the interlopers and they were not going down without a fight. We had settled in and in the wee hours of the morning, the furnace belched black smoke into the house and the only thing we could do was plan the funeral. Everything was covered in smoke, even our faces and noses.
No one had a job yet, so it was not like we had the thousands of dollars to put a new one in and the duct system it needed. So we bundled up in the packing blankets and made it through another night. I was so worried at times that the blankets were so heavy that they would suffocate my 4 year old daughter and I prayed like nobody's business.
The only thing we could do was buy a small wood stove for 100 dollars and start cutting wood on the land with a handsaw. We chopped them down with an ax, then carried them out over our shoulders to finish processing them, for the wood stove. We did not know where to buy wood or that a sawmill was less than a mile down the road. Of course, we had no money for wood anyway.
We managed to unpack the truck and get enough wood to use during the night but we froze during the day. It was in the 30's but at least it was above zero. I found a job at a little computer company in early January and we had a small income but the temperatures dropped below zero in Jan. This made the pump freeze and we did not have money to fix it or even know what was wrong with it.
For three weeks we drank water by melting ice on the little wood stove. Little did we know that the beaver inhabited the small pond and all of us contracted Beaver Fever in varying degrees of illness. I got it the worst and lost 20 lbs in 9 days. I was already so thin and my daughter told me later, I looked like death warmed over, with my bones sticking out every where. None of us went to the doctor.
Since I am writing this, you know that I survived the onslaught of fluids leaving my body and the hallucinations that followed from being without food and water. The only reason that any of us made it, was an Angel on our shoulders. It was the first of many times that we were protected there.
That same year, I became pregnant at age 38 and then when I was 4 months pregnant I was laid off and then a month later, my husband was. We survived so many trials in that home and with each one, we made it through.
When I look back on it and read those journal entries, I don't know how any of us survived.
My baby at 2 yrs old contracted Whooping cough and for a month, I rocked him and prayed. He would not have gotten it but the Amish were fascinated with us and stopped by often to talk to my husband who they called Samson from him toting 300 lb trees out of the woods over his shoulder. They do not immunize and my son was allergic to the pertussis part of the DPT and he got it from one of them. I thought for sure he would not make it but for a month, I rocked him all night and prayed. When he made it, I knew that I had to do something as far as work, because my husband was an alcoholic and he would not.
Thankfully during this time, I had a daughter that started Nursing school at 17 and she helped us by working, going to school and giving me some money each month so that we made it. As soon as she graduated, I started LPN school. It took two long years and when I finished that, I went right into RN school , worked 20 hours a week and took care of my 3 year old child when I could.
There were a few times I just knew that I wouldn't and I gave it up to God. One of them was on an icy bridge in Feb. right after my birthday. I was driving my Mustang in front of my husband who was in his Van. We had gone to get his Van because it had broken down again and we had to pick it up from the shop. I was going the speed limit and my car hit black ice on the bridge. I fishtailed in the ice back and forth across the bridge. Everything was in slow motion. I reacted automatically to turn the wheel against the skid and I kept it on the bridge. There was a stopped vehicle across the bridge and they watched this horror unfold toward them and my husband behind me, did also. He told me when we got home, that he did not think I was going to make it.
I never even stopped the car. I just kept driving to get home. Past the shocked faces of the two men on the side and past another car that did not make it on the bridge, although I did not know that at the time. One car was already in the water and yet I made it across and home. Tell me that miracles do not exist and I will tell you that they do. I am the living embodiment of that. I was sick all day from the adrenaline that flooded my body but I was alive.
I have shared parts of my story with some people before, at church and with my sister. I am asked how do I think that we survived so many things that would have killed others? I always answer, " I had a praying sister" and I truly believe that with all my heart.
Some of us are meant to live and some of us to die. We never know which one we are slated to do, until it happens.
I lived and when you are given that opportunity to live, you feel like it is for a purpose. I have been educated for my purpose, as each of us are and one day we find it..
Mine is to tell my story, share my hardships, share my triumphs. It may impact others and it may only impact myself. But the words tumble out of me and I can't stop them, so I write them down and sometimes I feel led to share them with others.
Today is one of those times. All of us suffer hardships. Some of us are ill. Some of us don't have jobs. Some of us don't have loved ones in our lives, but there is always something to be thankful for. If you are reading this, you are alive. That is the greatest reason to be thankful because with life all things are possible. Life is fluid and if we give it but a moment, it will change. Be bold, be brave and embrace life. We only get one shot at it and sometimes that is cut short.
It may seem like we are alone at times, but someone is always praying and someone is always watching. Love always, Kimmee

(Picture is from the Methodist Church in DePeyster, NY.. I took this in 2007.. 

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