[imagesource: Reuters / Cecile Mantovani]
Heads up, Netflix, there might be a story for you here.
Frenchwoman Jeanne Pouchain was declared dead by a court back in 2017, despite being very much alive.
For the past four years, she has been trying to overturn that ruling. You would think would be simple, but you would be wrong.
The drama started when Pouchain received a letter from a court in 2017, stating that her husband and son were due to pay debts that she allegedly owed because she had passed away.
Reuters with more:
The letter was part of a complicated legal procedure launched by a former employee of Pouchain’s cleaning business and, unlike what they had assumed at first, it was not easy, or quick, to clear up the error.
Pouchain, unable to work and afraid to leave her house because she had no valid ID or social security number anymore, started living as a recluse. Some of the family’s belongings were seized by court bailiffs, while all their savings, and more, went into trying to get things back to normal.
Pouchain now lives with her husband in a house near Lyon, south-east France, having fallen on hard times during the lengthy legal battle.
There is some potential light at the end of the tunnel (Pouchain may be understandably apprehensive to walk towards it), with French courts now looking at her case again.
It may be months before that happens, and a judge officially recognises that she is not dead.
Nevertheless, Pouchain is dreaming of getting her life back:
…because she could not get proper treatment for lack of a valid social security card, she has only six teeth left, among a series of health issues.
“I would so love to be able to bite into an apple … I would love to have teeth. I would be so happy, even if they were to give me two dentures, I would be happy to have teeth.”
You know what they say about an apple a day…
Joking aside, Pouchain’s bureaucratic struggles really are the stuff of nightmares.
I don’t know what a French home affairs department looks like, but I get shivers just thinking about it.
Here’s Pouchain telling her story in her own words:
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