These two German women are Leonie Elsner & Nina Stechmann. They were trekking in Nepal when the earthquake hit a couple weeks ago. The photo above was circulated online when the parents made an appeal for information. I shared it on social media myself and since then have been periodically trying to check and see if there was any news of their fate.The only thing I really know about them is that they’d been friends since childhood.
Like most news stories, the cycle is gone after 72 hours and so news of the Nepal victims has been non-existent. However, I learned tonight off a trekking site that their bodies have been found. They are dead. I really am sorry for the loss and my condolences go out to anyone who might have known them and especially to their families.
I don’t know why I allowed myself to be caught up in their plight. Truth is, my sense from the beginning was that they hadn’t made it and yet, despite that, I still late at night – like tonight – browsed online, hoping there’d be a trickle of news to dispel that instinct.
Sitting here, contemplating this, I am truly heartbroken. I’m a realist about these things. Natural events happen every day, some major, some minor, and people pass as we all will in due time. Why was this event or these two people different? Why did I lock in on two total strangers?
I think it was the picture, because in that photo I see sheer joy. I see two people capable of lighting up a room, passing on a little happiness to anyone they may encounter, wherever they might be. I see two people with the ability of reminding others by their very presence, on a daily basis that the best reasons for being alive aren’t tangible. Now, I’m disheartened, because through no one’s fault other than the universe running its course, there is a little less joy in the world with their passing. A little less joy and silence where there should be laughter.