Ignorance is not bliss. It is dangerous. What I did not know would change my life forever and cost me everything I had worked for all my life, everything given to me in love by my husband, as well as my health and my family.
While I was undergoing treatment for breast cancer and living with my parents at 4995 Prince of Wales in NDG, Montreal, in the mid-1990's, my then teenage niece, Dawn McSweeney, was weaving a web of hatred designed to rob me, crush me, and take my place. And I didn't know.
I have reported all the details of Dawn McSweeney's crimes since the day of the attack, October 7, 1996 - that day frozen in my memory when I was suddenly attacked by my hysterical mother and forced out into the street by a Montreal Police officer without benefit of any legal procedure and without any justification or reason.
To continue my story: I had been left in the street in front of my home by the Montreal Police. They just evicted me without any explanation and left me in the street without as much as a coat. They just drove away. And they didn't file a police report.
I was left homeless and destitute and alone. Everything I had worked for all my life was left in the hands of Dawn McSweeney and the policeman had warned me - in front of my assailant - that I could not take anything from my home with me and I must never return.
A few years later, I received a telephone call from my brother. He told me that my mother had suddenly been taken to hospital by ambulance and my father, ill with cancer, was alone at home. He asked me to go to the house to look after my father until Dawn McSweeney's mother - my youngest sister, Debbie - could be found.
I told my brother that I had been forbidden to go to the house by the police and that my father had been led to believe that I was the villain in the story. "Pop won't let me in," I said. Stephen said, "Go anyway."
So, with my heart in my throat I went to my old home. My father came to the door, looking sickly - and surprised. I hadn't seen him in years. I was not allowed to see him. I told him Stephen had called. He said, "Well, since you're here, come in."
That step into the foyer was painful for me. Seeing my father so frail was very painful. Entering my home again after all that had happened there was painful. I was numb.
I stepped into the living room and sat down on a chair facing the hide-a-bed that my parents had used for decades since they could not climb the cottage steps any longer.
I was an outsider in the home of my youth, in my parents' home. I was the enemy who was there out of love that was not trusted.
I sat for a few minutes. The conversation was stiff. Yes, painful. Limited. Except, I remember saying to my father - "No more secrets, Pop. I won't keep anymore secrets." The family had kept secrets and told lies all through the years. I never knew what was true and what was "a joke" or what was not for my ears, not for me to know.
Only a few moments had passed when suddenly there was a commotion, a dull but powerful rattling sound. Pop's dog Kelly suddenly shot out from under or behind an arm chair at the far end of the room and came skidding across the floor toward me. His tail was wagging so hard his back was folding in half.
I cannot find words to describe that moment. I had not seen Kelly since the day the Montreal Police forced me out of my home into the street. My heart felt like it was being wrenched out of my chest. I can't remember if I cried. I gasped. My heart stopped. I still cry when I remember. Kelly remembered me after all those years apart. Kelly loved me so much, he almost collapsed with joy at seeing me. I don't know how I didn't die right there and then.
In a moment, there was a sound at the front door and Debbie and Dawn's father, Ed, came in. Immediately, I rose from my chair and left without a word.
I have resisted writing this report because it hurts to remember and because every time I report the crimes that Dawn McSweeney committed against me and my family, I am aware that she reads my blog and rejoices at how much she has hurt me. But the truth must be told in the hope that someone in the world reads this and finally brings justice to my family.
All I want is what is my own. All I want is everything Dawn stole from me and everything her partners in crime helped her steal from my parents, my siblings and their children. She can never give me back the years of love she stole from me and my family by separating me from my parents and from Kelly with her lies and manipulation and her crimes.
I want back what is my own and I want Dawn McSweeney in prison. As long as the Montreal Police keep covering up these crimes, I will struggle for justice and keep on telling the world.
In 1999, my father was taken to hospital and then he moved into the Griffith McConnell Residence. Once he was out of the control of Dawn McSweeney and her "partners in crime", I visited my Pop almost every day until his death in the summer of 2000.
I never saw Kelly again.
I will never forget.
HOW DAWN MCSWEENEY DESTROYED OUR FAMILY