“Can I stop by now?” was a question on the phone in late June.
“Sure, I am home.”
Sharon Romer, Vice President of the MBAW Board, walked in with her recently adopted little shih tzu and a beautiful hand made pottery dish. “This is your early birthday present,” she said. My birthday is in November, and this was June. I felt that something was off.
“What is going on, Sharon?” And the news was shocking… she had metastatic cancer in her brain, and not much time left.
How do you react on the news like that????????? This is something we are all afraid of, and when it happens to someone close to you, what do you do????????? What do you say???????? Words failed to express the magnitude of this disaster. We both started crying.
The way she handled her illness was truly remarkable. She was determined not to be a burden to anyone (the greatest fear of all), and she managed to be in control to the end. She only allowed me to stop by once and we talked about … nothing. Everyday things, just like nothing happened. She was very interested in what “we” are doing this season and when our next board meeting was scheduled. I think she did it for me, out of kindness, and strength.
A week before she died, she called and said the she could not hear anymore, and to please stop by and get some of her best dresses, designer shoes, and cashmere sweaters, to gift to friends. I heard she was finished with Christmas presents for her grandkids before she fell in a coma on Wednesday, and by Sunday she was gone.
Tuesday, I went to her memorial. There was a beautiful picture of her, with a glass of red wine next to it on her kitchen table, where she had many a feast for our board members and guests. Her sons were greeting people and tried hard to contain their sorrow, which we could see in their blue eyes, Sharon’s eyes.
She will continue to live in her sons and grandchildren, as well as in our memory and her passionate love of music. Musical Bridges’ Board of Directors has decided to name our annual Volunteer Award in Sharon’s Memory. This year’s Sharon Romer Outstanding Volunteer Award will be given to Caleb Gonzales, a public school music teacher and great enthusiast of music education. Her legacy will live on.
Let’s raise a glass of red together, and celebrate a life well lived.
Shalom Aleichem Sharon!