A week ago I wrote this:
Goodbye Sharon. You were the best Mom this exchange student could wish for. I am devastated to learn of your sudden passing, and I will miss you dearly.
You see, a little over 30 years ago I was an exchange student in the United States. My exchange family were the Mendlicks out of Olathe, Kansas.
They fully embraced me as their “son” for that year and Sharon Mendlick, my “US Mom”, was crucial in making me feel part of their family – as well as my personal guide into everything new that year. And the questions about things as I learned them that year. And, trust me, that was a lot of questions over the span of my exchange-student year. Words can’t begin to describe how much that year has formed me and how crucial Sharon’s role in this was.
Over the years we stayed in close contact and I was actually in the middle of a conversation with her when she passed away.
When I learned of her sudden passing, it was the proverbial floor swept away underneath me. It hit me like a freight train.
I am grateful she was part of my life, always happy, always willing to listen, always brightening up my day.
I am grateful for having expressed to her how important she was, she is in my life. Especially in that most formative year of being a 17yo teenager in a strange land.
I am also so very grateful my family got to meet her (and the rest of the my US family) on our family trip to the US a couple of years ago.
I am grateful for being part of her life.
And I will remember and hold her fondly in my memories for the rest of my life.