Margaret Hilgem, born and brought up in California, was one of the strongest and determined persons you would probably ever meet. After graduating the Saint Michel University she became a doctor but didn’t want to spend her whole life being locked in the office. That’s what led her to make the fearless decision. After few months of preparations she left to Africa to be part of the international health care program MDF. Never knowing what could be the right place for her and how she could be useful somehow, she realized this was her destiny. Years were passing by and Africa consumed her completely and so she stayed there for a bit longer that was originally planned. After all the efforts to help those ill people fighting with famine and injuries caused by civil wars ended up when she was forced to come back to the USA due to suffering to malaria and political instability in Congo.
Though she couldn’t go back to Africa, she decided to help financially and by sending some clothes at least. And that was the time when she met her future and loving husband, George Hilgem. Five years since they’ve met, they got married and had three children (George Junior, Fleure and Kelly). George Junior as the only one decided to go in the footsteps of his mother and in his 35 years he opened his own doctor’s office with the support of his parents. Fleure chose a career as a musical artist and decided to leave to France. She lives in Paris where she also got happily married and has been teaching till today at École Normale de Musique de Paris (National School of Music of Paris). The youngest daughter, Kelly, is still studying at the university and dreams of becoming a fashion designer in New York.
Despite her age, Margaret together with George, traveled all around the world and tried to enjoy their life in the company of their five grandchildren. Though she had never gone back to Africa, she at least decided to write those memories of her youth spent in that unforgettable land in Congo. Her book was published five years before she died.
It has been one year since you left us here.
We’ve been missing you, your stories, your reassurance and encouragement during those bad days, your excellent culinary art (you were really the best mom) and all those days spent together ever since.
I wish I told you how much you meant to us while you were still here.
Yours Kelly, Fleure & George
1925 — 2010
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