Writing my first Steemit Post on the banks of Pamamaroo Lake
With enough lived years most of us come to an event that flips our trajectory at least 180 degrees, often providing a few 360 degree loops in between, before setting us toward an entirely alternate universe. The moment that marks the precise pivot point between Before and After. My hope is that for you this was a joyful event such as the birth of a child as it is so often the tragedies that produce our most radical shifts.
My name is Kylie and my Before ended on February 6th, 2016, with the sudden collapse of my sister at her kitchen sink. My After was delayed by seven days of Purgatory filled with complex medical jargon that turned to mush in a mind running low on sleep and high on heartache and shock. To absorb concepts that the best heart surgeons in the country found complex was an impossibility so instead I walked the halls in a daze. My most vivid memory is the machines that held my sister's fragile life in their circuits, I watched their rolling waves and flattening lines obsessively for signs of a life beyond them as I silently begged her to fight and made deals -- with God, with the devil, with whoever was listening. This desolate white halled landscape was filled with false hope and sudden crashing despair.
Life contains thankfully few JFK moments, those instances when you can recall exactly what you were doing, wearing, the scents in the air and the sudden stopping of time. My After began on February 13th, 2016. It is a moment I recall with a level of clarity that I would prefer was diluting with the passing of time when my brother-in-law, Rob, phoned to tell me that the little hope remaining had run its minuscule course. The machines, so robust, were insufficient to sustain what was left of my sister, they would be turned off. It is one of those conversations you remember distinctly yet the details blur in to an incomprehensible funnel as you stand on the edge of Before looking in to the looming precipice of After.
This marked the beginning of what I refer to as The Great Landslide of 2016 during which a force moved through my life and dismantled all I had defined myself to be. Caught in its chaotic tornadoes I watched on, helplessly unable to change the course of this storm as each loss compounded this first. By the end of 2016 all that remained of me was an abyss of grief. The void almost consuming me, I was saved only by the love of those who remained. Friends who literally and figuratively lifted me when I could go on no more and carried me back home to myself. They kept vigil, the held me until I was standing on ground that did not move. They rushed in when I began to sway in a slight breeze and righted me until it stilled.
This recovery from the bottom of the barrel of despair has finally reached a place from which I can begin to imagine what it might look like to go on. Radical life evens invite radical life change and this is how I came to be on the road to Uluru, travelling solo through Outback Australia. Free camping my way to the red heart of this country that I have always so longed to see. Contained in my converted Honda Jazz camper, Thelma-Louise (more on her in my next post). It is how I discovered that photography healed me, or at least gave moments of pause from the onslaughts of a heart tearing itself to pieces. The search for solid ground is how I discovered that nature was a balm for my battered soul and that my feet in the dirt stopped thoughts barrelling relentlessly through my unstable mind. And it is how I came, tentatively, to share my writing with a world outside my journals.
View from Thelma-Louise on the road to Gundabooka National Park
My sister was the adventurous one, the brave child. She scorned me not to be sacred, urged me to step forward when I wanted to shrink back. I hear her voice at lonely remote campsites when I am too frightened in the dark to get out of my car. I hear her in the stillness of these desert nights saying what she always said when I was scared - it will be fine.
This Steemit account is my story of just how fine it will be. This is no longer a story of heartache and pain. I choose now to make it one of adventure and beauty, lightness and humour. I invite you to keep me company on my solo journey through the Outback and beyond as I float my way to Uluru in trusty old Thelma-Louise.
Some other places I put pictures and words ...
Fancy pictures and different kinds of words
Where I gather all my bits and some behind the scenes images, followed passionately by my parents
A much neglected but soon to be reignited place that will be about places to take nice photos in Australia