Monday, January 31, 2011


Anne believed that humans have their own responsibility, collectively and individually, to make the world a better place. Her heart was with disadvantaged people or outcast animals. Thus in lieu of flowers, Anne would appreciate a donation in her name to any of the following organizations:

Red Cross Nordic United World College (Norway)

United World College of the Adriatic (Italy - special page for Anne)

Randolph County Animal Shelter (Alabama)

Thanks to everyone.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Anne Meredith Stevenson Ginestier 1947-2011

Anne died at home on January 30, surrounded by her immediate family and having received enormous support from friends and neighbours. This extraordinary woman had a gift of love. She gave abundantly, and has been repaid a thousand times over by so many who held her affection over the years.

Born in Tennessee, married to Jean-Paul from France, she lived in the U.S., France, Cameroon, England, Switzerland, Norway and Italy, as well as Canada. She leaves her husband, her two children Miriam and Eric, and her foundling Anne-Marie. Anne endeared herself to everyone in all the places she lived and worked: 4 years in Cameroon, 20 years at the Toronto French School, 9 years at the Nordic United World College, 5 years at the UWC of the Adriatic. Over those years, she effectively adopted hundreds of students, who embraced her as a surrogate mother.

She left us all too soon. An incredibly positive, cooperative and gentle patient, she was much admired by her doctors and nurses, and put up a strong fight against her peritoneal cancer, accepting suffering and many setbacks with grace and practically never a complaint. In the last months, she did know, and told us, that this malignant monster was taking over, not allowing her otherwise strong, healthy body to carry on living.

Death is indeed a major trauma for close family and friends to have to go through, but Anne died peacefully and fearlessly, imagining the place she was going to would be much like the place she was before she was conceived. . She said very recently: “Well you know, where I’m going, I don’t think it’s going to be very far... Not that I believe in all that ticky-tacky-wicky-wacky... stuff... But I just don’t think I’ll be very far.”

Saturday, January 29, 2011


No news - Anne is still hanging on, still peaceful.
We thought we would post a few pictures of these last weeks.
Love to all,
JP, Miriam, Eric

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Little to Tell

I know many of you would like to see an update ... but there is little to report. On Friday Anne said to each one of us she wanted to go, and asked us if that was all right with us. We all said yes.

The doctor came, heard the same request, and increased both her sedation rate and her hydromorphone rate. She went into a coma later that day, and since then has had a mild and short awakening (1 minute?) on Saturday morning, then an even milder and shorter one Sunday morning. We understood she would be gone in 2/3 days, but here she is, 6 days later, still breathing, still in a coma, still getting nurse visits twice daily for an injection and general assessment, still getting her mouth hydrated regularly, still looking peaceful.

We are all doing our best here, and again thank you all for your support.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Transition Looming?

First we want to thank all of you who have helped, who have reached out to us through blog comments, emails, facebook messages, letters and cards - it is important in times like this to feel there is a network of support.

We have been around her constantly in the last days. We have all had a chance to have close moments with her, and have had the opportunity to read to her some of your communications.

Anne's pain medication was increased this morning, and has effectively knocked her out for most of the day, although she did see two episodes of The West Wing. She is drinking less and less, but still vomits, and appears to be gently fading away...

Thankfully, she is peaceful and without pain.

Thank you again for being there.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Day by Day

(Still JP)
Anne has had a pretty good day today, but was sick a few times last night and this morning (some morning vomiting is expected daily). Has had less drink and no food, but remained alert most of the day and received 3 visitors. Also her brother Jan is arriving tonight.
We thank people who have sent flowers but ask you to restrain yourselves, as there are already more than a lot.
Thanks again for all your moral support.

PS: Nicole, the manufacturer of Anne's green "boubou" seen on the top photo, is one of our guests now here.

Friday, January 14, 2011


JP writing:
Anne has had a good week, all things considered. She is still very weak, but is experiencing less pain and nausea, and has been enjoying the company of some old close friends who have been staying with us. She has been drinking more, but is still mostly unable to eat.

We are glad she has maintained more alertness by choosing to use less sedation than planned, as the new dose of painkillers seems to be doing the trick.

She is looking forward to seeing her brother Rick who arrives tonight. We want you all to know that she is comfortable, happy and well surrounded.

We will try to post regular updates.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Bowing Out

JP again here:
A few weeks ago, we were all hoping against hope that Anne would be given a chance by fate to pull through. She was encouraged by us, and had maintained a positive attitude throughout the ordeal, as you all know from reading these chronicles.

Around then, one day when I bid her good night and added “get better, love”, she answered: “I’m not going to get better. This is something we just have to deal with, and it’s no use kidding ourselves”. She also expressed her wish that, when the time came, she did not wish to be kept alive by artificial and invasive means, and we all supported her in this.

Even so, our take was to hope for a period of relative comfort and stability that might last for some time. The latest change, last week, from multiple daily painkiller (and other) pills to a hydromorphone pump, was expected to provide some effective relief from increasing pain and nausea. However, on Friday, Anne became nauseous to the point of vomiting everything taken in, even water – and this has continued the whole weekend. She feels the time has come.

She is starting sedation this evening, and is expected to slip into less and less consciousness in the days to come. The doctor expects she will be gone within two weeks.

While she, and all of us appreciate help and sustenance from loved ones, we feel that this is an important time for the family to be alone together.

All the gestures, food, messages of love and support that have flowed in this past year have helped Anne and the rest of us immeasurably. Thanks to you all.

We will keep you posted.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Electronic confusion

JP here.
A scam was sent out in my name again (Facebook greeting cards - jpginestier has sent you happy holidays ...)
However, yesterday I did send out a real letter attached to an email with subject January 2011.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

New Year Blog

(This is JP):
Anne is not too keen to be writing. She is resting a lot, and is more circumspect in her choice of activities.

Yesterday there was a positive development: she had been in much pain for the 2 prior days, and had just had her third really poor night. However, the palliative doctor came to see her and decided it was a good time to switch from her painkiller pills to a morphine pump, and last night she had a deliciously long and pain-free sleep. (She has also given up most of her other pills too, with his blessing). Today has been very good, but she does have nausea - apparently a known side-effect of the morphine, for which she does have injections available, but wishes to hold off a bit to see if it will subside on its own.

She is now also enjoying a hi-tech air mattress, just delivered, thanks to the community care people.

We have had a lot of support from good friends, family and neighbours over the last while, and more visits are planned for January, some now beginning to stretch into February.

We continue to take each day one at a time, and to enjoy life as much as we can, savouring the good moments and good experiences, which are plentiful.

My New Boubou

My New Boubou
Boubou with handy pocket

Getting better

Getting better
Wilson and Me

Due to Popular Demand

Due to Popular Demand
I'm a Redhead

I still love my chemotherapy

I still love my chemotherapy
Who needs hair anyway?

I love my chemotherapy

I love my chemotherapy
walking to Princess Margaret