Author Gaël Brajeul
In 2010, I finished a photographic work on death realized from the angle of religions. I started by treating Hinduism by spending more than a year, at intervals, working on the main cremation ghat in Varanasi. For those who do not know, it is a sacred place of this religion in which, if ever once dead, his body is burned, the belief is that it is possible to reach the Moksha, ie the release of the infernal cycle of reincarnations.
Not being a professional photographer, I wanted to be supported by a professional. That’s how I met, in this same city, the one who will become my companion.
In 2011, we started a 7-month journey that took us on motorbikes across India and Nepal. This is to finalize part of the project. Concomitantly with the return, Delphine announces to me that she is waiting for a child.
Pregnancy goes perfectly and we were preparing to welcome this gift of life. We found her name: Deva, which means light in the Sanskrit language.
A week before term, a Friday precisely, my companion does not feel any more move from our daughter. At the end of the day, we go to the maternity home and the verdict falls, her heart stopped.
I did not believe it: how could this happen to us, especially to me who had faced death so much?
The gynecologist who followed us advised us to wait, for questions of reduced team, the following Monday to give birth to our child. I naively thought that a caesarean section was going to be performed. Not at all, it is a natural birth, quite normal.
This announcement of the death was as if we had experienced an inner earthquake at the peak of the Richter scale. We had to wait until the weekend before being released. Without drama, we spent this time gently in the expectation of Monday, in a state of complete openness and humility in the face of life. It was also a privileged time between us, our daughter, who, a posteriori, saved somehow our mental integrity.
On Monday, at the arrival at the maternity ward, Delphine was in an attitude of total openness.
This moment was like a cosmic dance where every element was in its place, perfection. Without having chosen anything, our individuality had completely disappeared to welcome our child as best we could.
There was an atmosphere of peace and tranquility. The only thing left in these ultimate passages is humor. We were going through this moment in the same way as if our daughter had been alive.
The health care team, whom I called the dream team, offered me, while it was not the usual protocol, to wash my daughter. I cried hot tears, not sadness, but gratitude to life for allowing unsuspected moments of such grace. This is the most beautiful and incredible moment of my life.
I think that day I really became an adult. As I liked to say and to believe it: “my daughter is all the more demanding because she is not there”.
Of course, everything was not easy, because just arrived, it was necessary to organize her departure.
But today, every time I think of Deva, which happens to me very rarely because in a way she is always with me, it is a feeling of intense light that floods me with unconditional love for life itself.