Doreen's Story:

Growing up in a small rural town of Newfoundland with a sick mother and an absent father, life had its challenges.  Most of my dad’s earnings would have to go to buy my mother’s medications and of course food for us 4 children.  My sister Gloria and I would share a bed while my two brothers shared a bedroom beside us.  My sister and I would get two new dresses a year – one for graduating from that grade and maybe something nice and frilly and flowery at Easter.  I remember my mother wearing shoes with holes. 

At the tender age of 9, my responsibility was to look after my baby brother Craig after school, changing diapers became one of my after school chores.  We had several baby sitters but none that could replace our mother who was in and out of hospitals for much of our pre-teen years.  At the age of 12, I was given the news that my mother had 6 months to live.  

Attending school up to grade 6 in that small rural town and then being bused to a town 7 miles away for junior and high school while trying hard to get good grades and make my parents happy wasn’t easy. Continuously hoping and praying my mother would get a physical healing and be able to stay at home with us even after I learned my mother would be having an ostomy.  After the surgery another chore was added to my responsibility that being helping my mother with cleaning and gluing the ostomy bag to her side.  I became a little nurse.  

After completing high school in 1971 I decided to leave home and go to Toronto to get a job.  My boyfriend (who later because my husband) sent me $100 from which I bought a plane ticket and a suitcase.  I had $5.00 left in my pocket. I was not quite 18 and every interview I went on  asked me straight up if I was 18.  Finally a fire sprinkler insurance company hired me and I started in a typist pool typing fire sprinkler reports. (Thankfully my mother had given me a brother typewriter for my 14th birthday).  

One week after my 18th birthday I married my high school sweetheart.  (Only he was not so sweet after all).  He started to drink and beat me and my life was one of ALFRED HITCHCOCK Movies. Yet I wanted children and so did he so we had a daughter in 1973 and a son in 1975.  In 1981, I learned my husband was and had been having the affair for one and half years.  I approached him on the subject and he laughed as he said, “I have finally been caught”.  

The years of beatings were signs that he was a different person behind closed doors and I was made to feel it was my fault.  I was one who believed in a brighter, better future.  I kept telling myself next week I will be a better mother, tomorrow I would be a better wife.  I had NO IDEA that it really wasn’t about me.  I asked, “Why did you bring a Christian Virgin Girl to Ontario and abuse her?”  Life would have been different if I had made a different choice. No one wants to see their marriage end in divorce.

In 1981 two months after we had purchased our Bramelea home and I had learned about the affair, I woke up to MY LAST BEATING – one where I was being strangled while my 5 and 7 year old children were trying to help me – my son on his daddy’s back hitting his head with a magazine rack and shouting, “Leave my mommy alone, leave my mommy alone! “ My little 7 year old daughter leafing through a phone book to call the police.  It was then that my husband released my throat and said he would get a knife instead – and he went to the kitchen.  That was the last thing I heard as I ran from my house that Saturday morning and into the rain outside.  My two little ducklings ran out behind me. 

My sister who lived in Toronto came to get me after I made a call.  We lived with her until he came there and broke the chain on her apt door. The police said it was domestic and they would not come when I called for help.  We escaped through her basement apartment window and got away in my car. 

We hid in Scarborough at my cousins for a week, then a friend took us in for a month and in October we lived in a tent.  Finally I decided to stop paying a mortgage on a house I could not live in and asked a realtor from church to sell the house. To do so she would have to get my husband and I together even though there was a “peace bond” against him.

By November 1st I had a three bedroom townhouse apartment for myself and the kids. It had old indoor-outdoor carpet which did not appeal to me but I visualized what I could do with it.  I ripped up all the old carpet, then sanded the floor underneath and varnished it. A little wallpaper and new furniture helped it feel like home.  I had nothing but my paycheque that Friday when I ran for my life in August and now in November we had a new home  Cont'd At Right...


Doreen Hillier is a Proud Member of Our WOW Directory 

where there was no violence.  

Christmas came and we celebrated by putting up a tree. I bought a fake fur jacket and put it under the tree from the kids and several gifts that I purchased or friends purchased for them.  We had a nice cooked dinner.  My son said later in life – some of his happiest moments was when there was just the three of us.  

Later while working and looking after two children, I studied with Canadian General Accountants Association and am constantly studying and taking courses as I believe in life-long learning. Many experts say children from broken homes do not retain as well, they don’t excel. I am patting myself on the back that both my children passed grade 12 on the principal’s honor list.  My daughter is happily married working and living in a beautiful home.  My son is happily married expecting their first child and a Professor with three degrees in Korea.  He comes home to Waterloo to visit me twice a year and I visited him in Korea May 2014.  

I have purchased a home in Waterloo, a vacation home in Florida and I run my own tax accounting business plus I have started a workshop and speaking business.  I am in the process of writing three booksWho’s to Bless and Who’s to Blame”, “Sitting in My Mother’s Chair”, “10 Laws of Leadership”, "Budgeting For Retirement". 

I have been nominated “Inspiring Woman of the Year”, “Roger’s Oktoberfest Woman of the Year”, “Junior Achievement Business Spirit Award for Mentorship” two years in a row.  I won the Douglas Barclay Award for District 86 Toastmasters, and “Member Making a Difference Award”.  My speeches are inspiring and lives are changed.    In 2009-2010 I was District 86 Governor and led a team of 4500 members to Distinguished Status, thereby receiving an honour of a plaque from the International President in California at conference.

I am proof that if you believe in yourself, care about others – rewards come that you did not see coming!!!!

I developed a course called WOMEN on their own, whether single, divorced or widowed.  It was mainly focused on budgeting as often the man of the household takes care of the finances.  (I applaud couples who do it together).  While teaching this course over 8 weeks for the City of Cambridge – I first had the ladies take a look at themselves and their spending habits and personalities.  We then got into the meat of budgeting.  

There was one 72 year old lady who attended the course who was NOT on her own – her husband was still alive.  She saw how her sister in law struggled after losing her spouse so this lady wanted to be prepared in the event something like that happened to her. 

Around the 6th week, she brought me two poems – which had nothing to do with budgeting.  I told her that the poems were really good.  She said she loved to write and in college people laughed at her and her family laughed at her.  I immediately gave her a challenge and told her to bring me 100 of her best poems and I would edit them for free and put her in contact with a publisher. Now I am proud to say that she is a woman in business, a published poet and her dream came true.

It takes little effort yet brings great joy to make a difference in someone’s life.  I continue to think positive, move forward and always be the best that I can be and love helping other’s do the same.

Find out more about Doreen by visiting her website, Learning from her videos on Youtube, following her on TwitterFacebook, LinkedIn, Google+ &/or Pinterest


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