Lori Hilton Brizius
Copyright 2020 by
I think of all the chapters of my life, all the exciting places I've
lived or visited I realize that I was never really alone, yet
was but a whisper to those closest to me.
the time I left my home in Canada to move to the United States at the
tender age of 21, I was forever moving from place to place,
up things I loved and people I grew fond of.
we all have to make sacrifices for our significant other, our
marriages, our families but, what happens when the sacrifices become
of life that you forget your own needs, your own passion in the
process? Little by little, you start to neglect your own happiness,
on the happiness of those around you. When this happens, we can truly
lose ourselves, our identity, and sometimes, our self- worth.
does this process begin? What triggers us to give up ourselves for
the sake of others? I don't think there's really one true answer to
because for some of us the transformation is so slow that we almost
don't notice the changes until it's too late. As we get older,
kind of "go with the flow," and hope that one day when we
say " hey, I think we should move back to Texas," we have
the love and support
the person sitting next to us.
that is not my story. Perhaps some of you can relate.
far back as I can remember I have dedicated my life to sheltering and
caring for homeless and abused animals. My dream was to one
my own rescue facility, and focus on bully breeds and elderly
animals. No matter who I allowed in my life and in my heart, I was
about my dream, and the fact that I needed to be with someone who
truly cared for animals, as well.
agreed with me... many lied.
the first, wonderful days when you fall in love, and spend hours on
the phone talking about everything? Oh, what a blissful time
is! Your likes, your dislikes? Your hobbies and interests? You can't
believe your luck when you hear the other person agree with so many
things you love... wow!
my husband and I first met we had those talks. I specifically asked
him about his need for affection, what kind of communicator he
love for animals, and being supportive. He, of course, said those
things were of utmost importance to him, and he was wonderful
me how true this was... for a while.
years into the relationship we decided to get married, but it was
soon after that that I noticed how different he was. No
most of the support came from me in the form of leaving a job I LOVED
in Virginia so he could go back to his job in Michigan. For the
I became a "stay at home" mom because anytime I wanted to
go back to the workforce it conflicted with his hours. The worst
out that when I wasn't home, he was not very kind to my dogs!
I pulled him aside one day, and asked point blank, " I don't
understand. You used to care, you used to talk to me and listen, and
you used to
me feel like my feelings were important. What happened?" He
shrugged his shoulders, and very calmly replied, " well, back
then I was
to get you. Now that I've got you, I don't have to do those things
he JUST say that?
you would think that after leaving my country, a great job, my family
and friends for one man that perhaps my sacrifices would be
another. Nope. Once again, I left a job I loved, friends, and a
wonderful home to support this man, and here I stood wondering
who could be as intelligent as me be so dumb.
years went on, and I realized that my marriage was going nowhere, and
I needed to move on from this man. I had to do whatever it took
care of my 4 boys as a single mom so, I worked 3 different jobs to
make sure that their way of life did not change. My thoughts were
from my dreams, and my passion to work with animals so, I reminded
myself that this was only temporary.
luck would have it, I met a wonderful man who, once again, made me
believe in love and trust and honesty. He loved animals, my kids,
a 2-year long distance relationship we decided to move in together.
Of course, I was the one who moved, left my friends, my job so that
support my loves' desire to stay "close to his work contacts,"
not give up his house, and pursue his many dreams.
of his dreams lead us to a border town in South Texas which I was
hesitant to embrace. I was reluctant to move my 2 younger boys
only a short time, but the guilt I felt over not allowing my partner
to fulfill his dream overwhelmed me. We packed up the family, the
cat, and the kids, and headed to Texas.
there, he decided where we would live, and even chose the house we
months after living in this lovely town I landed my dream job of
becoming the Director of the animal shelter. It was a huge
I dove into full speed ahead and with a full heart! My kids were
flourishing in this environment, and my partner was truly loving his
I thought this would be our home for a very long time.
partner and I did not spend a great deal of time together after we
both took on very important, very time-consuming positions. When
have the opportunity to see each other or have a day off I could see
a distance forming. He became very unkind, and seemingly jealous
youngest son. It was apparent that he had issues with rage, but the
boys and I continued to appease him, and meet his demands. It was
the flow" or feel his wrath.
could no longer allow my boys to grow in this environment so, once
again, we found ourselves in a predicament that would change our
my job, we gave up a beautiful home, left our friends, and moved back
to Michigan to start over.
over was beginning to become a lifestyle for me, and I couldn't
believe I had allowed another man to change my life, again!
happily found another job working with animals, but the money wasn't
great and I knew I had to do better for my sons. I was living with a
who had helped us move, and gave us a place to stay. We were only
there a year before I was offered a position on the west side of
that would bring better pay, and a chance to really make a difference
for the animals in that community. I took it!
with animals again, and sharing my knowledge with coworkers, as well
as the community, was a dream come true. I flourished in my
position while making new friends and valuable contacts. This time, I
was determined to concentrate on my career, my passion, and my
he came along.
of nowhere, I was blessed with a wonderful partner who swept me off
my feet, embraced the family unit, and loved animals! As time
we even talked about starting a rescue together! Life was good, love
was good, and I had planted my feet firmly in a place I could finally
It's amazing how everything can just come together in one moment, and
put you on the path you had paved for yourself long ago.
we didn't work together, our jobs did "tie" together, and
one day at the shelter there was an incident with a volunteer that
put me in
awkward position. Because this person was directly related to my
partners' place of business, the incident made it become a conflict
for us to continue seeing each other. I thought long and hard, and
made the painful decision to leave my job because of the love I
this man, and so he didn't have any issues with his job.
didn't regret the decision at the time, after all... sacrifice is
part of loving someone without conditions... right? We loved, we
mad plans for the future, and 3 years later... we moved in
together... at his place. So, once again, I packed up everything to
start anew in a
town because it was more convenient for him to stay close to his job,
his kids, and his friends. I ended up taking a job that paid
than what I was used to, and was very reluctant to do so until my
partner assured me that "everything would be okay!" We
our incomes, have one rent payment, less utilities, and would be able
to save money towards a house and our future!
must be crazy.
short months later my world turned upside down. Our relationship came
to an end very quickly, and with no warning. I had to leave
and start my life over, again. I had no place to go, very little
money, and immediately went into a deep depression. I stayed with
son for a bit, and we decided to find a place together where we could
split the bills.
was 4 months before we found a suitable place within our budget, and
during that time I had to max out credit cards to pay for things,
a moving van. I spent that 4 months applying to different apartments
and houses which dropped my credit score each time. I barely
first/last month and security deposit when we moved in, and my next
check was another 2 weeks away.
became a dark time for me.
was a light at the end of the tunnel, and I hope that everyone learns
a lesson from this in some small way.
the next year and a half, I took stock of my life, and the decisions
that I'd made along the way. Do I blame the men in my life for
to me and my family? Perhaps, to a certain extent, but I, and
everyone else, must take responsibility too.
many moves did I make in all those years for someone else's
happiness? How many jobs did I give up for the convenience of others?
times did I "give in" to make sure that someone else, or
someone else's kids or someone else's friends didn't get upset?
many to count.
we begin to love others so much that we forget to love ourselves.
Sometimes, we forget that we matter too, and our voice should
heard. I could have said, "no!" I could have walked away
before I lost myself. I could have taken a stand, and not given in to
every demand or
I let this happen. The question is, "will I let this happen,
yourself this... "if I asked you to name all the things you
love, how long would it take for you to name yourself?"
comes a time in everyone's life/relationships where you have to
become selfish. Not in a bad way, of course, but you have to embrace
that YOU are important too... YOU deserve to be loved correctly...
YOUR happiness matters... YOU are worthy!
took me many years to discover that my worth, my happiness was
essential to my well-being, and the well-being of those around me. We
look back at our life and smile or we can say to ourselves "what
was I thinking?" and move forward.
again will I give up the things I love for someone else. Never again
will I put my passion aside to appease someone else. Never again will
friends, family, and home for someone who wouldn't do the same for
and for the rest of my days... it's all about me!!
to love yourself so much that when others are around you, they will
know exactly how it should be done!
all that's happened, all the places I've been, all the people I've
met along the way... there is only one regret. That I never chose my
that I never had a chance to plan my own "next step" or
time is now.
don't know if I'll ever fall in love again, I don't know if I'll stay
in one place very long. I don't know if I'll have another "dream"
job or make a
in someone's life. I don't know how many friends I'll make or if I'll
make any at all. What I am sure of is that now I am in control.
I move, I change, I want, I need... and it feels good.
destination is unknown... but I'll make it just fine.
was born and raised in London, Ontario Canada, but spent 30 years
living in the United States, and raising 4 beautiful boys.
am an animal advocate, tree hugger, nature lover and Grandma.
now spend my time traveling and learning about different cultures.
of the message
won't know where to send it.)
Another story by Lori
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