It is only my calendar that can remember the exact date. My mind knows it happened, but refuses to accept more than that. Even acceptance is often a struggle.
It’s been two months since I found out and the tears are still as frequent now as they were then. Though now I hide them more. I wipe them away before anyone in the car with me can see. A speck of dust caught my eye.
I realize that this is grief and loss in a way that I have never known before. Anger and sadness well up from nowhere and linger in that soft place inside me. We are all still reeling, I believe, evidenced in our consistent conversations of feeling lost and broken without her. Sometimes we try to spur each other on. Sometimes we just sit in the silence together knowing that there really isn’t much left to say.
I am broken more for humanity, and it’s loss of her. Oh what waves she was going to make. What pots she was going to stir. But every time I take a good picture I still want her to be one of the first ones to see it. And then I weep for her mother who has been so strong.
Now I know some part of me believed that if she was out there fighting, maybe I could take the back seat more. I could rest easy knowing that at least she was out there telling the stories of those who no one wanted to listen to.
Now I know I could never have been more wrong and that we all must fight our own fights as hard as we can.
After her funeral I placed a candle under the feet of Joan of Arc in Notre Dame. I prayed for them both to give the rest of us strength to carry on. I prayed for their souls and for mine. That I would not be scared anymore. That I would be able to let go of myself in order to love others well.
In the book “Get the Picture” by John G. Morris, he refers to the death of famed war photographer, Robert Capa, by saying, “Bob belonged to the world” and this surely is the truth of Camille Lepage as well.
From France to Egypt to the Kenyan border of Ethiopia, I have roamed since. I have lost control of my grief many times over in each of these places.
I push myself forward, now, knowing that she would have been pushing too. I am a far cry from a war photographer, but I know there will always be stories that need to be told. Issues that need the light shed on them.
This is why my bank account is empty and my hard drives are running out of space. Because I refuse to let Camille’s light burn out or her flower fade. Because I must follow my own path as fiercely as she followed hers.
“We are like slaves…”
This is the Daasanach fight. Coming soon… their story.