Everyday survival: Maggi’s story

Guest post by Maggi S.

image by Takver

My name is Maggi and I’m now 63 years old. When i was 50, I had a good job, my father lived with me, and my daughter lived at home while working and going to college. We had a nice little house, cars in the driveway, and enough money to eat out when we wanted.

In 1997 my dad died suddenly at age 78. It was quite unexpected. A few months later my daughter came home from college one day and could hardly walk and complained of aching all over. She was quite the athlete and this came as a shock. She was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis and had to quit her job and drop out of school. She had bills – a car and a small balance on a credit card – and had no way of paying for them.

Her dad and I helped and she got better after a few years. Eventually she was able to move out and married a nice young man who met her after her illness and appreciates her for who she is now. But helping her pay medical expenses wiped out my savings account in about 5 months til she could get county insurance. It was hard but worth it to get her better.

My own health deteriorates

I have had fibromyalgia for as long as i can remember and never let it stop me from doing whatever i wanted or needed to do. After a car crash in 1993, it got worse but was manageable till 2002. In 2002 I was getting sicker by the week with chronic fatigue syndrome and eventually lost my job because of absenteeism.

image by Vinoth Chandar

Well, with that loss came losing the house and the car. I sold the house prior to the housing bubble but got enough to live on for awhile. I had to sell most of my furniture and “stuff” that I’d collected over the years and move into a small apartment. I applied for disability but was denied and went to live with a friend of mine when i ran out of money.

For over a year, I had only food stamps to help with expenses in my friend’s house. I had to give up my kitties because she was allergic. She was a true friend and helped me as much as she could.

There’s always hope

I refiled for disability several times and was finally approved. I moved into a small apartment again on my own and got a new kitty, too.  It was very hard because apartments are expensive and utilities are very high here in Florida because of the year-round heat.

I got by as best i could til this past March when I qualified for a low cost apartment in a retirement building just across the street from where I had been living and in my life-long neighborhood. I finally have enough money to get by on now and am able to put a few dollars away for the future and for prepping.

This is my story.  It was rough while going through it, but it made me stronger to handle whatever is yet to come. I’m sitting in my cute little apartment with my kitty sleeping on the floor by my feet…..and I am happy….content, to be more precise….but still I can say I’m happy.

I’ve been able to prep!

I have been a hurricane prepper all my life, learning from my Mama and Daddy as a child here in Florida. I don’t have much income but I am now in a position to start a better and more permanent prep for myself and the kitty. I just went shopping Friday and bought a lot of good stuff for the pantry and got several soda bottles from a friend and cleaned and filled them with water last night to add to my “water wall” behind the couch. I’ll continue with that as I can.

It was extremely hard losing the house and my “stuff” that i had worked all my life to get, but that’s in the past now. The hardships and experiences I’ve been through have made me the person I am today. I can truly say I’m ready for the future…be it good or bad.

Thanks for listening to my story.  Hope I didn’t bore y’all too much. Disaster comes in all shapes and forms and you just need to slow down, pray, and ask for the strength to get through it all. Prayer works well….believe me, I know.

Thank you, Maggi, for sharing your story.  If you would like to send Maggi a note of thanks or encouragement, you can do so by sending it to admin@thesurvivalmom.com, and it will be forwarded to her.

Share your own survival story!  Send it to mystory@thesurvivalmom.com or complete the “Contact Lisa” form at the very bottom of this page.

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  1. says

    Maggie, I’m in Florida too and like you, it was just a way of life for me to prepare for it. As a mother of two small kids, who faced homelessness with them, I grew to be more and more aware of how necessary real survival skills are, in case we ever get to the point where we find ourselves having to live in the woods.

  2. says

    Where would you be w/o the “system”? Is this a story of survival or government largess? And what is with the CAT? A beloved companion I’m sure but of what value to your survival? Do you have a rodent problem? You would be better off with a Jack Russell terrier. This is not a survival story but another example of our march toward socialism.

    • Lynda says

      I appreciate her story. She used the system for which it was designed and to which she paid taxes. Why begrudge her this? She certainly has paid her “fair share” over the years into this same system.
      One can’t accuse her of gaming the system as so many do without benefit of contribution.
      I’d rather see my tax dollars going to benefit people like her.

      I would hope that those who wish not to benefit from government programs like Social Security decline to receive payments when you reach a certain age. I suppose then you’ll turn around and say that you’re entitled to that money because you contributed all those working years.

      So did she!

    • kat40915 says

      I understand frozen fred’s frustration, and we all know there are alot of people out there choosing to live off government handouts instead of working when they truly could, however there ARE members of our society who legitimately need assistance and as human beings in a civilized society we need to recognize and assist these people. Some people’s medical conditions truly make it impossible for them to hold down employment. However, that doesnt mean that anyone in our country should do without contributing to the betterment of society in some way, whether that be volunteering in a suitable fashion or in some other way. What we, as a country SHOULD be working toward is having our COMMUNITIES come to the aid of fellow human beings instead of assuming the government is going to take care of them. We need to take back that role from the government and do what we can to personally help people. For instance, my husband is a member of the local 9-12 group, and he just started a food collection at the monthly meetings. We have about 150 people in the group at this time, and if everyone brings a couple of food items for the local food pantry, we can work together to provide a necessity for our fellow man. Its not hard. And it should be OUR job instead of the government’s. Lets take that back from them, you think?

    • says

      Pets – including cats – have been shown to have definite positive effects on people’s physical and mental health. Cats require very little work – no need to walk them, and they need little space. And they do prevent rodent problems. So what do you care what her choice of pet is? Some people are cat people, some are dog people. And frankly, it seems to me (highly personal, subjective opinion) that cats are generally cheaper and less work. But that’s just it – a choice of pet is highly personal and subjective. She chose what makes her happy and what she can handle in her home. For all we know, dogs may not even be allowed.

      Good job, Maggie, on helping your daughter and getting started on your prepping.

  3. countrygirl says

    When someone overcomes problem after problem and rises to the top it’s a survival story.

    I used government assistance when I was a single mom going to college. When I got done with college I walked into a fair paying job, am paying off student loans, bought a house, etc. etc. and have enough to put aside for retirment, my kids college and prepping.

    I’m sick to my stomach about what the government has become, but don’t judge another unless you’ve been in there shoes.

    • frozen fred says

      Don’t get me wrong- I’m a Christian and Jesus commanded me to open my heart to the poor. My wife and I support two orphans and help w/ tuition for a local inner city child. I’m dreading (for the true poor) and longing (for the moocher lazy-bone bloodsuckers) the collapse of the USD and with it the welfare state. I have been richly blessed and will be able to help most of my siblings (80% living on a gummint check). If God gives me enough time I will have an ark to float the 30+ people in my sphere of responsibility for two or three years. Lets hope the tide turns for the better and people start taking responsibility for themselves and their relatives instead of suckling the national nipple.

  4. Danielle says


    While it is certainly preferable to rely on family, friends, and faith community instead of government welfare programs, you are missing the point of the story. It is not that the government saved the day, but that prepping is important not just for economic collapse or even the inevitable hurricane, but for much more seemingly mundane personal crises. Also, you have many details of what was going on in this woman’s tragedy, but perhaps not all and given that, you seem to have condemned her. If you wanted to make a point about not relying on government, perhaps you could have said something sympathetic to her plight in order to be more well-received. Also, perhaps you could have thought about what it would have been like in her position. It is all well and good that her friend took her in, but it seems like it was somewhat financially difficult for her friend and what would happen if something happened to her friend? To her it probably seemed best to get into her own low-income place and use the government programs in place instead of relying on her friend. If you disagree, you are entitled and of course to express that, but if you care to persuade people over to your side, you might try a different approach. I mean, begrudging a disabled woman a cat? They’re very therapeutic and help keep you active with caring for them.

  5. Maureen says

    Anyone’s situation in life can change in a heartbeat and can be a permanent and devastating change.

  6. marge says

    very inspiring story, i am glad that you kept going and not gave up. Keep fighting on, when the going gets tough the tough gets going…

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