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Dediate to my Heroine and Angel - Anne Marie

I appreciate if you read through the story below. It is a testimony of a great mother that I have known. It is a story of will overcome denial. It is a story of true sacrificial love that save another life. Through her sufferings comfort is received in a little life.


I dedicate this to Anne Marie and to all the wonderful mothers!


I have never met Anne. I only know that she was from Switzerland and a responsible sponsor of a Cambodian kids.


She is an inspirational artist who expresses much of her thoughts through paintings.


Ever since Anne revealed her life experiences to me in March 2011, I have this urge to write something about her that could encourage others too. I believe this is the right timing so I appreciate your time.


Anne Marie’s testimony – edited by Thomas Tham (aka MioCade)


I was nine when my mother tried to drink poison. I was just in time to hold her from doing it but she pulled her coat on and went out. Her last words that I remember clearly were: “look after your brothers and sister, I do not come again.”


My two brothers and sister were one, two and four years younger. They just came back school and were hungry. It was midday.


“Mother is not there at the moment, I’ll cook for you”, I said as I thought it was the most normal thing to calm everything.


Then came my father and immediately he sensed something was not right. I told him what I knew and he went to the sitting room, sat down on the divan and started to cry.


For that moment, I closed the kitchen door slightly, trying to take care of my siblings and cook for them.


I looked again in the sitting room where my father was sitting. He was still crying. I walked towards him and sat down beside him, laid my arm around his shoulder and waited. He started to talk and talked on and on, I do not know any more how long and also not what he said, but when he looked up, I knew that he had mistaken me for his wife.


He looked at me affected and buckled to my neck. He did not want to free himself at all from me and caressed me in a way which seemed to me absolutely foreign and unnatural, and that trembled me.


Although at that instance I have freed myself from him, this was just the beginning of one decade of long years of abuse from my father towards me. What made it even worst was when my mother returned years later and noted what happened, she simply said: “…rather you, than a foreign woman“.


I did not have friend, seldom went out, until I got married.


When I was 22 I got to know through the phone (then I worked as a operator by the federal management PTT) that a man fell in love with me. He was an Italian from Rome, and I accepted him as my husband.


I wanted to get as far as possible away from home. I wanted a new life with a charming person. This was heaven, I thought. Unfortunately, life continues to betray me. I was confined for 11 years in a flat, and had no more contact with the outside world. I was locked.


I gave birth to two children, and they were my only true companions. Every of my movement was monitored by my husband and his mother who was older then my grandma.


Then I became ill, very ill and had to consult doctors in the clinic where I was advised to have a change in my life else I would be delivered to the psychiatric clinic from where my husband would definitely not get me out any more. They would have spoken with him and this would have been his motive.


What should I do?


I ran away, and had to leave my children provisionally there. This was my worst and toughest decision that I had to make. But, I had no choice if I wanted to survive.


I tried to fight for my children custody while living alone in a small rented room with no window to see the sky. But custody went to my husband.


The family clan continues to pursue me wherever I went and tried whatever means to stop me from any job opportunity. It was an awful time in which I had lost everything. My ex-husband stole even my children from me through bribery of the judge. I did not give up and said to myself that I would still see the children regardless of the law.


The poverty and the hunger could not deter me from doing so. I got a 14 hourly works with the lowest paid wage. Sometimes, I was not even paid. But I survived.


Now the children also live in Switzerland. We have wonderful time together for many years. Their father has died 8 years ago of cancer.


I was 47 when I have returned to Switzerland without my children, as they could not free themselves from the custody.


I could not have survived in Italy anymore. My health did not allow to me to work longer and I needed a change.


Here in Switzerland, I have social support. That is a little pension, and at 66 years old my illnesses are not remediable any more. I am suffering from Lyme-Borreliosis at the third stage.


The prescribed Fibromyalgy medication is giving me constant pains and the CFS (chronical fatigue syndrom) or chronic tiredness syndrome, is also very difficult to get under control.


Doctors’ efforts are in vain! Nothing they could to do anymore.”


Well, I am a positive and happy person, and I am also glad in little things that God has given me and today I enjoy painting.


Though I have only little strength and little hours per day to do things, I remained humorous, open-mindedness and shows compassion towards people who need help. This is the greatest joy and I feel that I am blessed. I ask not anything in return.


I enjoy what I may still have time to enjoy and I am glad about what I can still act. And now, I am so happy that I live very close to my children. I am grandmother to two little children.


Maybe it is because of this life I can understand your effort and love to the little ones. I love to do something for them, together with my daughter as long as we can do it.


But I will never be able to come to Cambodia and either my daughter, because of my illness and financial situation. My daughter and my financial status are just above the poverty line of Switzerland. But we are willing and very happy to continue financing Chantah and send letters or even sometimes a little gift for my little angel in Cambodia.


Anne Marie


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Taken on March 18, 2012