November 11, 2014

A Beyond Survivor's Story: Poetic Healer and Spiritual Survival-Part 3

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

I hope you have been touched and inspired by this Beautiful Warrior! 


While studying spirituality, I have opened my mind to all religions and philosophies throughout time and regardless of how each refers to its God. If someone needs my help, I don’t have to know what religion he or she is. I’ll respect another person’s beliefs just as I expect him or her to respect mine. The important thing is to get to the truth by every means possible. People have to have courage to face what they fear. Courage and perseverance to stay on the path of healing are imperative. I believe I can help people find their courage and that I can support them in working towards a truthful solution.

I developed an attitude of never giving up no matter what. After I healed, I had more compassion for others. It’s part of what is called post-traumatic growth. A person who goes through a difficult situation and survives is re-formed. I feel a calling to share what I have accomplished with others, a calling to minister to their pain and get them past all that holds them back the way my therapist and others helped me.

To learn more about ministry, I am in the second year of study with the American Institute of Theology and Philosophy. I’m taking a five-year course. Just as Emily Dickinson and Edgar Allan Poe are my favorite poets, I am drawn to individual theologians and ministers I have encounter in my studies. One is Dr. Wayne Dyer, whose philosophy is to have faith in the universe and to be positive. Another is Rabbi Harold Kushner’s book, “When Bad Things Happen to Good People,” written at the time the rabbi’s three-year old-son was diagnosed with a degenerative disease.

There was a time I was angry at God. I would write Him long letters expressing my disgust at unfairness, injustice, and the pain of getting through some passages in life. I wrote a poem called Dance of Anger that railed against injustice and advocated fighting for the truth. Rabbi Kushner’s book helped me regulate my feelings. It counseled to be strong. It also said anger is okay and that it is natural to question God.

I can also be positive by showing how I thrive as a survivor, by talking about strength and determination, about fighting and acknowledging, and about developing the courage of a warrior.

Concentrating on how to be positive keeps things calm in personal relationships. I tend to speak my mind. By thinking before I speak, I can take a more positive approach to a situation. I don’t have to be scolding or angry. I can present a matter in a way that is considerate and leads to healing rather than bruised feelings or bitterness.

My involvement with The Support Center for Child Advocates began as suddenly as my writing did.

Twelve years ago, as I was thinking seriously about how to direct my anger in a positive way, I drove down 19th Street in Philadelphia and saw the Child Advocates building. I had passed it many times, but on this day it caught my attention. I felt that getting involved with an organization that helped children who find themselves in situations like mine, or in situations worse than mine, was the move I had to make.

I called the Child Advocates office and told my story and how I survived the memories of abuse and the feeling that I would go insane from it, or even end my life. I also asked how I could help.

I was told how my support could help get children out of houses where they were unsafe, how it could help get lawyers to fight custody and other battles a child cannot do, how I can help make lawmakers aware of the extent of sexual and other forms of abuse — all abuse — and advocate for stricter laws and longer jail sentences for people who severely harm children physically and psychologically.

Nonprofit organizations need people who will take a leadership role. I was ready

to step in and do anything I was asked. The work of Child Advocates is so important. It’s not only dear to my heart. It concentrates on the exact things I want to accomplish to keep children from danger and to deter child abuse and the trafficking of human beings.

I am involved with other groups, such as Adult Survivors of Sexual Abuse and the Million March Against Child Abuse (MMACA). I have worked to get Erin’s Law and Dominic’s Law passed in Pennsylvania. Both of these laws increase the consequences and penalties of child abuse.

Each year, Child Advocates has several events to spread awareness of its mission and raise funds to continue it. Their missions is "To advocate for victims of child abuse and neglect with the goal of securing safety, justice, well-being and a permanent, nurturing environment for every child."   In addition to helping the Support Center for Child Advocates in planning for their reception and auction, I ask friends to buy advertising in the event program, to donate a high-end good or service, and to buy a ticket and attend. More information can be learned by going online to or calling 267-546-9200.

Other Child Advocate initiatives that ask the public for wide support are a golf tournament and a toy drive, in which I play a big part by asking my friends to donate toys for children who may otherwise go without holiday presents.

While poetry remains my main form of expression, I always write essays, but I find myself writing more in prose than previously.

I am also writing a book about a childhood friend of mine, Anthony, who passed away from cancer at age 22. Anthony and his sister, Mary Anna, represent the good things that happened as I was growing up. Anthony was three years younger than Mary Ann and me, but he would stay with us as we played. I would go to Anthony’s and Mary Ann’s every day. I practically lived there. We played school and other games. My mother made nun’s outfits for Mary Ann and me, and we would put them on and make Anthony our pupil.

I was sad to learn that at age 19, Anthony was diagnosed with bone cancer. He lost a leg before he succumbed to the disease when he was 22. I couldn’t go to the funeral. I was too upset. I visited Mary Ann and her parents, but we were all so devastated.

I wanted to write about the good part of my childhood. I also felt Anthony’s spirit during my healing. He has become an angel to me, and I want to tell the story of a good person who had a sad end.

One touching part of Anthony’s last days was his marriage. He was dating girl, a young woman, before he became ill. She stayed with him through the years that led to his death. A few days before he died, she married him. I think that is love.

Love is one of my healing messages. I am sincere in wanting to help others to face dilemmas parallel to mine. I believe I was able to overcome my ordeal so I can be of use to others.

I got through it all and when the memories of sexual abuse came to me, all of the therapy, all of the negativity, all of the fear, including the biggest ones of insanity or suicide, I can lead others towards the same positive resolution.

I am a happy woman now. I can get angry over the past, but I know I have something even better, a present AND a future. Rather than being lost in the pain I suffered decades ago, I can enjoy my children, my son and daughter, Larry and Michele, who stood by me and wrote me letters of encouragement when I was in a state of mental torture. I can enjoy their children, my Ella and Lilly and Victoria and Alex, who entertain me so wonderfully and show me the joy of an untainted childhood. Most of all, I can continue the great relationship I have with my husband, Larry, who did all he could to bring me to where I am today and never wavered in his support or love.

Nothing can scare me now. I have faced every category of fear and conquered it. As I’ve said and will keep saying, truth is the key. People who fool themselves or say everything is all right when they know it isn’t suffer needlessly. They only have to confront the truth, and they will heal. It may take time and perseverance, but they will heal, as I did.

To help others, I will write, speak to groups, and be active with others who want to make life better in general. I was healed by truth, combined with faith and the love of my family and the warrior spirit. If I can help one person find my contentment and happiness, I am here to provide that help.

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.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Sign up for my free guide so you can stop spinning your wheels and instead navigate your way through each stage of recovery with ease and clarity. Get the support you need today