Last Christmas, all of Mildred’s dreams came true. She was a few months shy of graduation from George Brown College, had a great apartment in Toronto, was dating the man of her dreams and, to top it off, he was traveling with her to the Dominican Republic to meet her entire family.
Mildred celebrated last Christmas much as she had growing up: everyone took part preparing the turkey feast, her family exchanged small gifts, and they danced the night away. Her soon-to-be-fiancé was “like Prince Charming,” and the family loved him.
When they returned, he convinced Mildred to give up her apartment in Toronto and move to the United States where he lived to start their life together. Very much in-love, she did just that. But her fairy-tale quickly took a turn for the worse.
Mildred nearly died at the hands of her fiancé. She couldn’t understand how someone she thought she knew so well, could change so quickly. After narrowly escaping suffocation with a pillow, Mildred managed to take four flights back to her family in the Dominican Republic. “Nobody could believe what happened. My body was alive, but my spirit was gone.”
While tempted to stay in the Dominican Republic with her family, Mildred made the brave decision to move back to Canada, which she had made her home. She didn’t want to stop her life because of what happened. But it wasn’t an easy transition.
Unable to work because of the trauma, Mildred quickly ran out of money and ended up at a shelter close to her old home. “Many times I went by that street and I never knew people were living there in a shelter or why they were living there. It was a shock for me, but at the same time it was a relief. I didn’t have to sleep on the street.”
Despite the hardship Mildred has endured this year, she’s still embracing Christmastime. “I live with five women who don’t really want to celebrate Christmas because they miss their family, but I believe we should make some decorations to remind us that we are alive.” Together with her community housing worker, Mildred is holding a Christmas meal at her new home and plans on inviting her neighbours. “We are all in tough situations right now, but we don’t have to forget about Christmas because of whatever tragedy happened to us.”
Thanks to you, Mildred has a safe place to call home this Christmas…
Help support Mildred and other residents like her by making a holiday gift today.
You can read other christmas stories from residents by visiting our Christmas Stories page.
PS Don’t forget to tell us what home means to you by completing the sentence “With a home I can….” Your response, plus those of our residents, will help us build an awareness campaign in 2015. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.