Bill Gearon RIP
I made this image looking out over the Eqi Glacier towards a new beginning in Greenland. That's very much how I felt when I made this image and I can remember being reminded of that when my dear Uncle Bill died a few years ago in Bendigo, Australia. He was 97 years of age.
I received the news from my mum during a break in a photography class I was running that night. I was able to put it aside and go back to work. But later that night, during the hour of the wolf, the memories came back thick and fast.
He was a lovely man, a straight shooter and as solid as a rock. A family man and a pillar of the community, Uncle Bill gave a significant part of his life to serving the poor and disadvantaged. Sadly missed, but remembered with joy and admiration.
Of my mother's four siblings, all boys, he was the last of her remaining brothers.
I never knew Little Tommy, my mother's brother killed by a car when he as a toddler. But my memories of my uncle Bill go back to my childhood years when he and his wife, Lorna, would visit us in my hometown, Hamilton. I doubt that there were more than a handful of visits from any of mum's brothers over the years. But I remember them all and the joy those visits brought my family.
When I was 17 I spent some time convalescing from a severe and prolonged bout of Glandular Fever at Bill and Lorna's home in Bendigo. I still remember the address, though I've only been there once since.
At Bill's 90th birthday my mum told a story about when, as a very young child, she told her big brother Bill that she was cold. He reached out, took her hand and put it in his pocket. She remembers that story still, around 85 years after the event.
I'm only sorry that I hadn't made the effort to visit Bill and Lorna over recent years. Ironically I'd spoken with my youngest sister recently about organizing a day trip where a few of us kids would be able to travel up together and spend some time with the two of them. They say it's the thought that counts, but action counts for much more and I wish I'd got it together.
Much loved and dearly missed, Bill Gearon may you rest in peace.