November 3, 2014

A Beyond Survivor's Story: Poetic Healer and Spiritual Survival-Part 2

This week, we continue our series with poet, author, and survivor, Dolores Miller.


“Quiet Desperation” reveals several themes that appear throughout my written work— the quest for truth, the concept of boundaries, the limits of which need to be tested, the suffering people live with because it’s so difficult to face it, the idea of helping others, and a spiritual message that involves prayer.

Writing became the catalyst that let me explain all I had been through and was going through. Even now, I observe something, and an image emerges. Words come. It happened recently when I saw a woman who looked comfortable enough but who had a miserable expression on her face and was obviously looking down at the people around her. I thought, "She's a snow queen," and wrote a poem about the cold in her heart and my hope that it thaws so she can enjoy and appreciate her life and the people around her.

Truth is where I aim. My poems are a means for me to get to the truth about my experience and what it took to heal from it.

I've learned the truth of a situation may be negative, but not all has to be expressed negatively, that it's better when you reach a plateau of understanding and can use the truth in a positive way.

The objective is to get past the hate and the hurt and move on with life. I went through 20 years off and on when I believed I would go insane or it would have been easier to die because the pain and rage and other emotions hurt so much.

I keep pushing forward. With all this going on I still pushed to be a good mom. I wrote a letter to my children, my son and daughter, telling them how hard I know it must have been for them when I could barely get out of bed, when I took them places but had to retreat to my car to be alone and fight my battle, when I was fighting fatigue, and was so scared about the toll my struggles might take. I cried. I screamed. I went through an array of emotions. The healing process is not easy, but it must begin. I had total support from my husband and children. Like a true warrior, I never gave up. I had a good therapist who, now that she’s finished working with me professionally, has become a friend. But I needed to deal with what happened when I was a child. I needed to admit to myself all that I’d hidden from myself for 30 years. Writing was one means towards that.

Another was anger. Anger is a form of truth. It’s a reaction to truth. It was another thing that I had to get past to heal completely. It was also a motivator. It was anger and betrayal I had to express most, and one of the first lessons I learned was emotions are nothing you should be afraid of no matter how strong or painful they are and how they manifest themselves. Men are taught they shouldn’t cry. Women are taught they should control emotions and not show them. Both are wrong. You should deal with any emotion that comes to you. Eventually you have to find a way to take the emotion and make it positive, working on your behalf. Face the truth and move on, and you’ll be happier and stronger.

Confronting fear is one way I healed. I am afraid of nothing now. I went through anger, hurt, and sadness. By persevering, I was able to accept what happened and move on. Letting go and moving is for the survivor’s sake. It will never change what happened to me or make it ‘OK’, but one must go forward.

MY healing process not only started my writing, but it increased my spirituality. Faith helped me immensely in getting past memories that were sometimes paralyzing.

I believe angels, and particularly St. Michael the Archangel, helped me deal with my experience. I even saw St. Michael once. I remember his gold wings with the silver tips. I would feel him with me a number of times. I believe it was St. Michael who made it so I could suppress my horror at being abused until I could deal with it as an adult. Out of love, and with no knowledge of the abuse I suffered, my parents adopted me. I went on to have a happy childhood with my new Daddy and Mommy, and I never had to express any sad or negative thoughts because they came much later. When they came, they were like boulders on my heart, but I was older and had more understanding, and I had people around me who supported me in my delicate mental state.

Part of healing is getting to be happy within your own being. Dr. Carter, my psychologist, and I began and continue to sign correspondence with four A’s that have become a symbol and a bond between us. The A’s stand for Admiration, Affection, Appreciation and Always. I take them to heart. They are part of my being. Working with my therapist, I began being hopeful. I concentrated on hope and love and being aware of the strength that is in all of us. I began seeing what I needed to do to and set about doing it. Life took on a wonderful new meaning. Realizing it also increased my spirituality.

The symbol of my inner strength became the Beautiful Warrior. I saw her in my mind. She was riding on her golden horse. The image has meaning to me. It not only meant strength but courage and the fearlessness to move forward. I have always admired Native American culture, and I was warmed by the vision of the Native American woman that came to me.

Dolores M. Miller is a poet and author living in Philadelphia, PA. Dolores lives with her Knight in Shining armor, Larry, and together they have two grown children. Their four grandchildren are a source of joy and inspiration.

Dolores is a compassionate, giving and loving person. In her writing she strives to convey the message of the human spirit to overcome adversity, see the beauty of nature and know God’s healing love.

Dolores is also grateful for having had parents who adopted her out of a horrific situation. She is a survivor of childhood abuse. She says “there are so many children who are in abusive homes for most of their lives. Making a difference through my work is rewarding and a source of beauty, love and healing for the community… and the world”.

 The Support Center for Child Advocates has a special place in her heart. For all the children committed to the care of Child Advocates, they work to ensure safety, health, education, family permanency and access to justice.

Each book sold, benefits the Support Center for Child Advocates of Philadelphia. The Support Center for Child Advocates provides legal assistance and social service advocacy to abused children. The mission of Child Advocates is to advocate for victims of child abuse and neglect in Philadelphia with the goal of securing a permanent, nurturing environment for every child. They seek to protect children by securing social services, finding alternative homes and helping them testify in court against their abusers.

Dolores dreams of a better world and strives to make a difference, especially in the lives of children. Dolores was adopted out of a terrible situation and she can’t imagine living her entire life in that environment. Child advocates seeks to better the lives of those in danger.

By purchasing books from the Beautiful Warrior you are providing support to the children and those in need – allowing Dolores to continue in her great works. Books may be purchased through,, or Barnes and Noble.

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