Award-winning author and radio host Lillian Brummet survived a tumultuous childhood and damaged young adult years through picking up a pen and pouring out the hurts, the anger, the shame and guilt, the humiliation and the horrors caused from being abused and neglected as a child. She began writing short stories in elementary school and poetry as a teenager allowing her to express the explosive emotions. “Through poetry,” she says “I learned how to see beyond these hurts and discover a world outside of myself, where I learned that my life really did have value and that I had a purpose to fulfill.”
The first summer Lillian was on her own she spent evenings at friends’ houses and on park benches while working her summer jobs; by winter she was able to find an apartment – renting illegally (it is illegal to be on your own that young in Canada). That first apartment was a learning experience for her in that she was letting anyone stay there and left the door unlocked so other kids on the street, runaways and people skipping school had a safe place to go. Unfortunately they partied there one day while Lillian was at work and she had to find another place to stay. Learning boundaries, she was able to keep her next place for a long time. Sadly though she felt the ever-widening gap between herself and public school life, and financial pressures had her making the choice to work instead of continuing in public school before she finished grade 9. Life consisted of getting enough money to pay the rent and then find something to do that would numb her emotions to a tolerable level. At 16, Lillian got involved in a 3-year engagement to a young boy who had his own issues to deal with. It was not the healthiest situation but it got her through some tough times, and she clung to the relationship because it was all the love she had. Later, after being caught as a minor on her own she was put in a foster home for a year. Being plagued by nightmares she had insomnia, which is how her foster mother, Jan, learned of the abuse – Lillian was brought to a police station to begin filing charges against her 2nd step-father. After unsuccessfully taking him to court she became very angry, frustrated and mistrustful of the justice system and started hurting herself and playing violent games like football to avoid feeling the inner pain. However because this involved bringing her family members in to testify, they were forced together and slowly began speaking about the past. After experiencing some therapy, Lillian was on her own again at 17, but this time she was equipped with more skills.
“Life was always a confusion for me,” Lillian explains. “I just never really saw the value of my life until I discovered a passion and purpose. I grew up wondering what was wrong with me, why my family was run by lies and hate and manipulation and abuse. As a child it never occurred to me that it wasn’t my fault, and later as this dawned on me I was filled with anger for all the childhood innocence and happiness that was robbed from me. It took a lot of work to heal the inner wounds and not only deal with the past but to move in with myself, to forgive myself and love myself.”
She met her biological father soon after her 18th birthday, and then moved to the same city as her mother in order to develop a relationship with her mom. Unfortunately her biological father died of cancer a few years after they met before any real connection could be made. After completing Grade 12 and some hospitality management courses she worked in that industry for a few years, before a vehicle collision had her rethinking that career path, leading her to start a business. Six years later she was involved in another car accident that put her in full time therapy for over a year. It was at that point that she decided to live for purpose and passion, rather than possessions, trying to fit in and feel ‘normal’. Starting out with some writing courses, she submitted her first article in 1999 and hasn’t looked back since. Writing, for her, was just the tool to spark positive change in the world by sharing stories, offering resources, highlighting non-profits, and teaching green and conscious living topics helping others realize that they have the power to leave a positive legacy behind.
“After the accident my world came to a screeching halt. I felt broken spiritually, and dealing with the constant pain from the injuries and a debilitating anxiety disorder drove me to chronic depression. I just didn’t want to go on, I wanted to die. My husband encouraged me to face the pain with courage that I didn’t know I had, and helped me discover my true passion – which is to have a sense of value, of meaning to my life. I wanted to leave a positive legacy with every day that passed and this passion led to gardening and green living, then to writing, and later hosting the radio show and managing a daily blog.”
Sadly her chronically ill mother and stepfather committed suicide in late Dec ’10. The grief and management of their estate absorbed Lillian’s life for a year, and as time went on she was able to work through more of the past issues. Realizing yet again how brief and fragile life is, the Brummet’s relocated to their dream location and have launched their business there under a new name, offering new services and products. With the support of her husband, Lillian has now authored 5 books, hosts a popular radio show, and manages a daily blog. She has several more manuscripts on the back burner and returns to them when time allows. She continues to enjoy a solid and supportive marriage with her best friend and husband Dave, who was born and raised in Kelowna (BC) where he met up with Lillian in 1990 and they have been together ever since. Their favorite activities involve gardening, photography, and modifying their home. Whenever the mood strikes them the pair can be found enjoying low-impact outdoor activities (hiking, biking, canoeing, camping, snowshoeing) or playing with their two dogs.
More information on Lillian and her books can be found on her website: http://www.brummet.ca
Would you notice if a child was living on the streets? Would you intervene?
Come back on Wednesday, February 6, for John Moore’s story of child abuse and a system that let him down.
You can see the full month’s schedule here: Criminal Justice Blog Series
Thanks for reading.
Tags: Child Abuse Survivors, Childhood Neglect, Conscious Living, Consciousness Discussions, Criminal Justice Stories, Inspirational Stories, Lillian Brummet, Runaways, Stories of Abuse, Stories of Runaways