Oprah: What is most important to you, Camille?
Camille: My family: my husband, my children, my mother—my father's deceased now—my brothers, my sister. I can't imagine functioning without them. I really can't. Because after our son was murdered, it was the most crucial time in my life in terms of feeling their support. All of us were traumatized, so we had to support one another. But after I came out of that fog, after everything had settled, I realized more than ever how important family is and how no matter what we do in terms of work, we cannot put work ahead of family.
Oprah: How long were you in the fog after Ennis's death, and was it really a fog?
Camille: It was a fog in the sense that it was surreal. I couldn't comprehend this. It was horror, and I couldn't understand why this had happened. I had always taken great pride in protecting my children. I spoke to Ennis the night before he was killed and asked him to be careful about driving on the freeway in Los Angeles. So it was almost intuitive for me that something was about to happen. So then I felt bad that I didn't stop him in some way, but I couldn't. I was here; he was out there.
Oprah: Did you sense that something was going to happen, or were you just a mother being cautious?
Camille: A mother being cautious. But I must have felt it, because I said it to him. Those were the last words I said to him.
Camille: Yes. "Be careful, Ennis." Because I had just been in Los Angeles, and there were problems on the freeway. And I said crimes were being committed on the freeway. So I said, "Ennis, just be careful." I even asked him not to drive my Mercedes, but he did. You see?
Oprah: That was your car?
Camille: That was my car. But I knew a young man would want to drive a fast, sporty car, so I rented another car for him... because, frankly, I was more concerned about the police dealing with a young black male driving a fancy car than I was about someone else bothering him. So when it happened, the only thing that I could think about was catching this guy. I wanted that murderer more than anything else in the world. The LAPD and I were joined at the hip.
When he was caught, I had to wake up and see how traumatized the family had been. Then I put my energy into helping them. I realized that Bill, as strong as he is, felt totally helpless because he couldn't do anything to fix this. I couldn't do anything to fix this, either. It was done. It has taken the whole three years for all of us—Ennis's sisters, his mother and father—to rebuild ourselves. And during that period of rebuilding ourselves, we learned to communicate differently with one another.
We Hear You!