This is a brief post to say goodbye to a woman who I used to work with, and to send my deepest condolences to her family and friends.

Julia Campbell – R.I.P.

I never worked side-by-side with you, and it took me seeing your face on the news websites before your name rang with familiarity. But the recognition of your smile was instantaneous. I had no idea you had joined the Peace Corps and decided to do so much more with your life than pushing pen to paper. I admire that. You decided to give so much and, for that, your death weighs so heavily. When we heard you were missing, we were so hopeful that maybe, maybe, you were “just kidnapped” and would return to your friends soon. For our line of work, I guess we should have known better.

A passionate, funny woman who clearly had a huge heart and who was supposed to return home soon; instead, left in a shallow grave so many miles away. It completely breaks my heart. A woman should be able to travel anywhere in the world safely — especially when she’s devoting herself to helping its people.

A life lived with purpose, bettering the lives of people around the world, creates a vacuum when it’s gone, and the pain of it reaches beyond those closest to you. A lot of people talk about changing the world or doing something “more” with their lives — you did that and probably without realizing the impact you’d have. I don’t know the proper way to make a tribute to you but I think it’ll be found through people being inspired by your example and following your lead.

How often do we reach moments in our lives when we’re sorry we didn’t get to know someone better and find out too late just how special they were? Julia was someone like that and volunteered her life to people like that. And it wasn’t like she was some super-self-sacrificing, humanoid who didn’t feel the sacrifice — from her blog you can tell she had uprooted herself from a comfortable life surrounded by people she loved — and that makes her sacrifice mean that much more. She was doing something that truly challenged her.

News of her death.
Read her own words about her time in the Philippines here. Another article about her here and a friend and fellow volunteer writes about her here.

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