I was shocked this morning to learn about the wonderful french couple with whom I lived during my exchange to France. Everyone who knows me knows who much I was affected by my time living there, how much the place has come to mean to me. Even 14 years later I am still in contact with my french family, following their lives and adventures, including the birth of a baby.
The biggest adventure they embarked on was when the mother and father sold all they had (including their precious gem of a home up a small mountain route in Ollioules) to sail around the world on their catamaran. Christian was a navy veteran, and the whole family had grown up sailing. I was even fortunate to spend some time on the boat, sailing and sleeping on the open Mediterranean waters.
This morning I was shocked to learn about their capture by Somali pirates, the death of Christian, and the kidnapping and subsequent brazen rescue by police of Evelyne. The notice came in French, and I was so unstable I struggled through much of the content. Sometimes even missing one word can change or alter the meaning of the message, and it took me several times to come to a complete understanding of what had happened.
I avidly follow news all the time, and so I had long heard of the situation with the Somali pirates. I'd heard the reports, seen the images, and yet never really understood what the tragedy of news reports really holds until now. Until now, those things seem like things that happen to other people. Brief soundbytes conveying news. But how devastating and life-altering those short reports are to families forever changed by a sudden event.
The unexpected wave of grief hit me like a brick wall this morning, a reminder of just how much I was impacted by my journey over there. When you are 17 and leaving home for the first time, you quickly find a way to fill in the gap of missing parents. Christian and Evelyne did exactly that for me, taking me into their home of two daughters and making me feel like a third. I feel like it is hard for me to mourn here, because I'm mourning a memory from 14 years ago, and yet it is something that has always remained a big part of me.