Lang conquered her fear to make a difference

Before she headed off to report in Afghanistan, Michelle Lang asked her colleague, Calgary Herald editorial page editor Licia Corbella, about her experiences in the country and about being afraid.

In a column written soon after Lang’s death in Afghanistan, Corbella wrote:

“A couple of months ago, Michelle Lang knocked on the open door of my office and asked to speak with me. She closed the door.

“We sat across from one another, knees to knees, and she asked me if I had been afraid before I went to Afghanistan in December of 2003, back when our troops were stationed in Kabul, which was much safer than the Kandahar area, where she would be embedded with Canadian Forces. I nodded in the affirmative. ‘I was very afraid,’ I admitted, ‘and I don’t think you or I or anyone should ever feel ashamed to say so.'”

She continued:

“I also acknowledged that I considered backing out of the trip because of the pain I knew my family would endure should something happen to me in Afghanistan. Her eyes welled with tears and she said that was her biggest worry too. I recalled how I confided in my friend, Cathy, wondering if my boys would resent me and think me selfish for running off to a war zone when I had loved ones who needed me. Cathy’s answer was a comfort. She said: ‘Stephen would never let that happen. He would fill in the narrative of your life with the stuff that matters.’ Michelle looked at me and smiled. I think that comment comforted her too. As the comments and letters pouring in about her attest, Michelle was a much-loved fiance, daughter, sister, friend, colleague and journalist. She was respected for her professionalism and big heart. She has a rich and beautiful narrative.”

Read Corbella’s column “Michelle conquered her fear to make a difference.”