A Rather Personal Post…

This photo’s nothing special, just a regular old passionfruit flower, but in terms of emotional significance, it doesn’t get much more than this.

This is going to be a pretty personal and deep post regarding loss of a close family member – feel free to not read it if you came here for photography.

Sorry in advance if this is a bit rambling, thinking straight is difficult on subjects like this at the moment.

It’s not surprising to me that I’m still having trouble coming to terms with the fact that my Nanna died several months ago. As I’ve mentioned before, I wasn’t able to see her during her last days, or attend her funeral, because I was trapped in Clermont due to flooding in most of Queensland at the time. And as yet, due to financial issues and a rapidly approaching and unexpected baby, I haven’t been able to make the 1700km+ drive to visit her grave. It’s like there hasn’t been closure. Add to the fact that I never really got to see her that much, due to living so far away for my whole life.. sometimes I still think to myself:

“I’ll have to call Nanna and tell her about…”

And then it hits me.

Like a shotgun blast to the chest.

“You can’t call her, Shannon. She’s gone.”

And it’s always the silliest, most ridiculous things that trigger it. A few weeks after she passed away I was attending a first aid course for work, in a room full of my work colleagues, including some senior management people. It came time to the practical section, where we had to demonstrate that we could bandage a snake bite correctly. The instructor passed bandages out to the people in the front, and then turned to throw one up to me. I caught it and went to open it – it was the same brand as the bandages I’d been sent to buy for Nanna the last time we’d been to visit her last Christmas. And out of nowhere, with no warning whatsoever I’m fighting back tears and rushing out of the room.

I’ve actually stopped myself mid-way through dialling her phone number on more than a couple of occasions (including a couple of times since I found out that I was going to be a father).

I don’t know how to deal with this. I mean, logically I know that the most important thing I can do is make the trip to visit her grave. It’ll be definitive then. Not like this doesn’t-seem-like-it’s-actually-happened false reality my brain has put me in at the moment.

I honestly don’t know what I’m looking to achieve with writing this post. Maybe getting it out there will help me a little. Even if it only helps the tiniest amount it’s worth it.

An Explanation For the Pic:
As can be expected, towards the end of her 94 years of life, Nanna’s body was slowly starting to fail. She was still mobile, still in full control of her mental abilities (no memory loss or signs of dementia at all, which I though was pretty amazing), but her eyes and hearing were bad and getting worse. One of the things that I loved about photography was being able to take photos on a D-SLR, and then display them on the large Full HD TV that one of my uncles had bought for Nanna. The combined magnification of the D-SLR and the huge TV actually enlarged the images enough that even with her failing eyesight she could see the details of things like flowers. One of the photos she loved was a simple photo I took of a passionfruit flower from her own backyard. The pic itself wasn’t anything special – it wasn’t composed “properly”, the depth of field and focus weren’t perfect, but she loved being able to see the details of the flower, the unique tri-symmetrical shapes, and the fine rays of the outer flower. These flowers were right outside her kitchen window, and she had told me that when looking at them normally, she couldn’t make out more than a faint purple blur.

Shannon Walters

An amateur photographer who also spends time making chainmaille and doing too many other things to mention.

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