Last updateFri, 21 Sep 2018 10am

Long-term expat in Guadalajara jolted by elevator crash and aftermath

Michelle Merritt’s life has had its share of storybook chapters. Perhaps one of the best integrated Americans in Mexico, she was brought here at the age of six by her mother and father, a petroleum engineer with Pemex.

She was educated in Mexico, New Jersey, England and France (at Université Paris Sorbonne), married in Guadalajara, had two sons, one of whom became a doctor, and she boasted a long career as a beloved professor in two BA language programs, English and French, at the University of Guadalajara.

But on August 19 last year, all that seemed to drop away as fast as the elevator – with its signage indicating it was for use by the disabled – which plummeted down with her inside it. 

It wasn’t that the 75-year-old hadn’t already faced challenges. A botched ankle operation a few years ago had left her needing a cane. Plus, for years she had been in charge of her husband, Angel, who had begun to suffer from Parkinson’s disease and later cancer, which metastasized. 

Angel was brought to visit her in the hospital where Merritt was taken in an ambulance after the accident, which occurred at a restaurant in the upscale Providencia neighborhood, where she had gone to have a break from the considerable care needed by Angel and to celebrate with women friends the return of one of them home to France.

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