What goes on in the mind of a thief? For more than thirteen years- since I was attacked and robbed in my home - with the help of a Montreal Police officer - I have been focused on recovering everything Dawn McSweeney and her self-proclaimed "partners in crime" stole from me and from my family.
In my report entitled " THE TRAGEDY OF DAWN MCSWEENEY - HOW TO RAISE A CRIMINAL - I describe in detail how Dawn was raised and how she behaved - her greed, her hatred, her jealousy and her malice. But I have not, until now, given any real thought to how she thinks.
How does a child become a thief who, without batting an eyelash, lies to her grandparents, steals their money and then robs her aunt - me - and then goes on to become a yoga guru, training strangers the ways of peace and contentment ? Does she have two separate brains that allow her to compartmentalize the thief in one part of her head while another part writes poetry praising her beloved grandmother ? I cannot fathom it.
My sister, Sheila, who tried time and again to help Dawn and Dawn's mother, our youngest sister, Debbie, can attest to Dawn's sneaky efforts to get money from her, but she wants to remain anonymous and will not allow me to even mention her name. The truth telling falls to me alone - until we finally get this case into criminal court. Then everyone will have to speak.
My mother based the last decade of her own life on the trust that Dawn McSweeney was a good Jewish child. (I being the betrayer of the faith.) She believed that Dawn was telling the truth and that she was devoted to her.
She did not believe that it was Dawn who had stolen her money. Years after that nightmare event, I learned that my mother had attacked me because she believed that I was the one who stole money she had hidden somewhere in the house.
Why believe that your first born child that you have always loved has become a thief and stolen your money?
Some time before my mother attacked me on October 7, 1996, in a casual conversation, my mother had commented that I was so enchanted by the Anglican Church that if I ever won the lottery, I would give the church all my money. She was deeply hurt by my conversion and she was constantly baiting me, asking me questions like, If Jesus was God, why did he say, "Why hast thou forsaken me?" to God when he was being crucified?
So we were having these heavy discussions all the time during those last months before my mother attacked me. Just heavy discussions. There were no arguments. I did not think these religious debates were about anything other than religion.
My mother would even listen in on my hour-long telephone conversations with a Christian friend. We could hear her heavy breathing on the line, but we said nothing. I just thought she was lonely and interested in our discussion. But there was something far worse going on. I just didn't know it.
Years later, in retrospect. I think my mother was listening to hear me say that I had taken her money. But, at the time, I didn't know there was money missing. I only learned about it by accident about four years after the fact.
Still, it was during the summer of 1996, that my mother's attitude toward me became strange. She would sit in her big armchair glaring at me, not saying anything, but glaring at me. I didn't know why, but it hurt. I could not have foreseen that this was a harbinger of a nightmare that would befall our family in a few short months.
I was aware that summer, that Dawn McSweeney was stirring up some kind of trouble. Since friends of mine from out of town had paid a very brief visit that summer, there was reason to believe Dawn was up to something. But what? I had no idea. But it was then that Dawn told my mother, in my presence that my friends who professed to love me, really hated me.
Dawn had invited the two teenagers outside - ostensibly for teen talk - while the adults sat in the living room chatting. When the family left, Dawn told my mother that the kids couldn't stand me. In fact, she said, they "despised" me. They only pretended to love me, "for fun".
Incidentally, we are still friends all these years later. The son, Robbie just got married this week.
It was after that visit that my mother's attitude toward me changed. My mother had pleaded me to "come home" two years earlier when she learned I was sick. After Dawn's intervention that summer, I no longer felt wanted. I started looking for a place of my own.
Unlike Dawn McSweeney, I have not been given the gift of a brain that can separate one part of me from another. I am completely aware of everything all the time. I am haunted by my imperfection, the way disease and age have ravaged my body, by the mistakes of my youth, my failure to be kind enough to others. My nights are filled with longing for those I have loved and lost. And, day and night, I think about the horrible damage Dawn McSweeney did to my parents and the rest of our family by her lies and her greed.
I have to fight the tears when I think of the years my mother and father lost with all their children and grandchildren because Dawn tore our family apart. She stole everything of value that we had and she turned us against each other. My parents went to their graves without knowing the truth. Those injuries can never be healed. How tragic and ironic that the only person my mother trusted was the thief who would destroy us.
When Dawn was young, she was afraid to go into the basement of her home in Pierrefonds because she said she heard ghosts there. Is she still haunted?
I have never had the gift of seeing or hearing the departed, but I wonder if my mother knows now what Dawn did to us and whether she visits Dawn at night. If the departed know the truth and they do visit, I pray my mother will finally persuade Dawn to return everything she stole and confess. Then, and only then will I stop telling the world about the crimes of Dawn McSweeney.