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Woman declared dead in 2017 is in the fight of her life to prove she still walks among us
via Beto el Curioso / YouTube

It must be terribly unnerving to wake up one day and realize the government thinks you're dead, even though you're alive and kicking. You'd figure that if you were declared dead and weren't, you'd have some say in the matter.

However, for a woman in France, things haven't been that easy.

Jeanne Pouchain, 58, who lives in the village of St. Joseph, near Lyon, had a rude awakening three years ago when she received a letter from the Lyon court of appeals declaring that her family members need to pay the money she allegedly owed.

Because, according to state records, she was deceased.


"My problem is that I've been declared dead," she said according to KFGO.

Getting your identity stolen is a truly terrible ordeal, but Pouchain's story shows that getting your life back after you've been declared dead is even more of a headache.

"I feel like I'm living a nightmare," she said.

Pouchain is now living proof of how difficult it is to live if the government says you're dead. She cannot drive, because if she gets pulled over her license is expired. She can't go to the grocery store, in case someone asks her to provide ID for purchase.

She also can't go to the hospital because she no longer has health insurance.

Her death has also frozen the joint checking account she has with her husband because she was never issued a death certificate.

"I no longer exist," Pouchain said. "I don't do anything...I sit on the veranda and write." She called the situation "macabre."

Pouchain's woes stem from a grievance filed by a former employee seeking compensation after being fired twenty years ago. This suit combined with some farcical moves by the local bureaucracy resulted in a situation where Pouchain is legally deceased.

In 2004, an industrial tribunal ordered Pouchain to pay an ex-employee of her cleaning company €14,000 ($17,000) in damages. But, the suit was filed against the company, not Pouchain, so the money didn't have to be paid out.

In 2009, the employee sued again, but the case was thrown out in court.

Seven years later, a court ruled in the employee's favor and, during the proceedings, they said they hadn't been able to reach Pouchain because she was deceased. So the court ordered her son to pay the damages.

The led the local governments to purge Pouchian from state documents, invalidating her health insurance, driver's license, and bank account.

via Wally Gobetz / Flickr

The fight for Poucian's life has gone all the way to France's highest court which threw out the case citing it wasn't in its jurisdiction.

"I'm alive for my husband, for my son, for my loved ones, for the people around me, but for the justice system, I'm dead," Pouchain laments.

So for three years, she has been fighting the government to reinstate her as a living, breathing entity so she can get back to living a government-sanctioned existence.

"The most important thing is to prove that I'm alive. To prove I exist," said Pouchain. "I want the state to return my identity."

Her lawyer has petitioned a court to grant a hearing where she can prove that, in fact, she is alive. "It's my last chance to recover my life," she said.

Pouchain's s story is a pretty remarkable case of bureaucratic malfeasance. But it's also a look at how much of our lives are intertwined with the state. In fact, if the government says you're dead, you may as well be.

Education

Teacher of the year explains why he's leaving district in unforgettable 3-minute speech

"I'm leaving in hopes that I can regain the ability to do the job that I love."

Lee Allen

For all of our disagreements in modern American life, there are at least a few things most of us can agree on. One of those is the need for reform in public education. We don't all agree on the solutions but many of the challenges are undeniable: retaining great teachers, reducing classroom size and updating the focus of student curriculums to reflect the ever-changing needs of a globalized workforce.

And while parents, politicians and activists debate those remedies, one voice is all-too-often ignored: that of teachers themselves.

This is why a short video testimony from a teacher in the Atlanta suburb of Gwinnett County went viral recently. After all, it's hard to deny the points made by someone who was just named teacher of the year and used the occasion to announce why he will be leaving the very school district that just honored him with that distinction.

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Tea time: how this boutique blends cultures from around the world

Ethically sourced, modern clothes for kids that embrace adventure, inspire connections and global thinking.

The Tea Collection combines philanthropic efforts with a deep rooted sense of multiculturalism into each of their designs so that kids can grow up with global sensibilities. They make clothes built to last with practicality and adventure in mind. But why "Tea"?

Let's spill it. Tea is a drink shared around the world with people from all different cultures. It is a common thread that weaves the world together. The Tea Collection was born from a love of travel and a love of sharing tea with different people in different places. Inspired by patterns from around the world, these clothes help children develop a familiarity with global communities.

Tea sources their materials ethically and ensures that each of their partners abide to strict codes of conduct. They have a zero-tolerance policy for anything "even slightly questionable" and make sure that they regularly visit their manufacturing partners to ensure that they're supporting positive working conditions.

Since 2003, The Tea Collection has partnered with the Global Fund for Children and has invested in different grassroots organizations that create community empowered programs to uplift kids in need. They donate 10% of their proceeds and have already contributed over $500,000 to different organizations such as: The Homeless Prenatal Program (San Francisco, CA, USA), Door of Faith Orphanage (Baja California, Mexico), Little Sisters Fund (Nepal) and others in Peru, Sri Lanka, India, Italy and Haiti.

But the best part about the Tea Collection? They're also an official member of the Kidizen Rewear Collective, which believes that clothes should stretch far beyond one child's use. They have their own external site for their preloved clothes that makes rewearing affordable. Families can trade in gently used Tea clothes and receive discounts for future products. Shopping the site helps keep clothes out of land fills and reduces the environmental impact of the fashion industry.

By creating heirloom style clothing made to last families can buy, sell, and trade clothes that can be reworn again and again. Because "new to you" doesn't always have to mean never been worn. And let's be honest, we all know how fast kids grow! Shopping preloved clothes is a great way to keep styles fresh without harming the environment or feeling guilty about not getting the most out of certain styles.

But don't just take our word for it! Head over to the Tea Collection and see for yourself!

Upworthy has earned revenue through a partnership and/or may earn a portion of sales revenue from purchases made through links on our site.

Hold on, Frankie! Mama's coming!

How do you explain motherhood in a nutshell? Thanks to Cait Oakley, who stopped a preying bald eagle from capturing her pet goose as she breastfed her daughter, we have it summed up in one gloriously hilarious TikTok.

The now viral video shows the family’s pet goose, Frankie, frantically squawking as it gets dragged off the porch by a bald eagle—likely another mom taking care of her own kiddos.

Wearing nothing but her husband’s boxers while holding on to her newborn, Willow, Oakley dashes out of the house and successfully comes to Frankie's rescue while yelling “hey, hey hey!”

The video’s caption revealed that the Oakleys had already lost three chickens due to hungry birds of prey, so nothing was going to stop “Mama bear” from protecting “sweet Frankie.” Not even a breastfeeding session.

Oakley told TODAY Parents, “It was just a split second reaction ...There was nowhere to put Willow down at that point.” Sometimes being a mom means feeding your child and saving your pet all at the same time.

As for how she feels about running around topless in her underwear on camera, Oakley declared, “I could have been naked and I’m like, ‘whatever, I’m feeding my baby.’”

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