Memoir chronicles residential school and domestic violence survivor’s healing journey

“One Second at a Time” is Diane Morrisseau’s story of resilience

It’s a story that took over four decades to write.

On Wednesday evening, dozens gathered at McNally Robinson Booksellers in Winnipeg to celebrate the launch of Diane Morrisseau’s book, One Second at a Time, co-authored by Elisabeth Brannigan.

In the groundbreaking memoir, Morrisseau shares her story of struggle, healing and resilience as a residential school and domestic violence survivor.

In the early 1980s, Morrisseau, who comes from Sagkeeng First Nation, began documenting her life story on paper. It was then, after enrolling in an Al-Anon program, that her healing journey began.

However, retelling her story wasn’t an easy process. Each time she picked up the pen, she relived what she’d gone through.

“I did a lot of work on myself,” Morrisseau told APTN News. “I had to do a lot of healing to be strong enough to do this. It was very, very difficult opening wounds, old wounds.”

Several years ago, Morrisseau met Brannigan at the Sagkeeng Mino Pimatiziwin Treatment Centre, where they both worked.

They soon became friends and, later, co-authors.

“She shared a little bit of her struggles with finding someone who could help her write the story,” Brannigan said at the launch. “While I wasn’t a writer, I had a dream to write, and I offered to try.”

Morrisseau spent much of her life working as a counsellor, helping others get on the path to healing. While the 81-year-old has since retired, she still lends support to those in need.

By sharing her story with the world, Morrisseau hopes her words will help victims of violence know they are not alone, and that a better future exists.

“I know this was meant to happen,” she said of the book’s publication. “I always hope, even after I’m gone, it will help someone. That’s my dream.”

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