How Did Benjamin Mee’s Wife Katherine Die?

According to Cameron Crowe's 2011 movie “We Bought a Zoo,” Benjamin Mee purchases Rosemoor Wildlife Park while still dealing with the death of his wife Katherine.

He understands that he needs to find a new place to live with his kids, Dylan and Rosie, to get over the hurtful loss.

Katherine died after Benjamin and his family bought Dartmoor Zoo. A graphic artist, she even made posters for the business's reopening before she died. Though he was hurting from losing his wife, Mee let everyone into the zoo. The animals and his desire to run the zoo in the best way possible helped him get over his losses.

How did Katherine Die?

Katherine passed away on March 31, 2007, more than three months after her cancer came back. Her problems got worse during these months. Katherine quickly lost her ability to speak, and she had to repeat the same word over and over because she couldn't get past certain words.

 She quickly lost the ability to move her right hand, and all of a sudden, her right arm became too heavy to carry,” Mee wrote in “We Bought a Zoo,” his autobiography that was used as inspiration for the movie. 

How did Katherine Die?

Even though his wife's health was getting worse, Mee was looking for an alternative or more modern treatment that might help her.

Mee knew it was time to tell their kids, Milo and Ella, that their mom was dying when Katherine stopped eating solid food. If Ella could only understand how big the idea was, she broke down in tears and climbed over the table to me. In her biography, the author writes, “She said, ‘I don't want Mummy to be dead.'” 

“But Milo didn't move.” I told him it was okay to cry, but he just stood there and said, “I don't want to cry.” Daddy, I want to be strong for you. “Everyone does things their own way, so he just watched Ella and I cry,” Mee wrote in his book.

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Katherine was born and raised in Jersey, where her funeral took place. “Katherine was a unique person, and everyone who knew her quickly understood how unfair it was that she, of all people, was being taken away.” 

No one was ready for the stress, horror, disbelief, and pure pain that came with facing the unfathomable, unjust, and unacceptable death of such a loved one. She was the only person there whom no one had ever said anything bad about, as Mee wrote in his autobiography about his wife's funeral.

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