I always knew that I wanted to be a writer and I had always hoped that one day, I might be lucky enough to publish a book. What I didn’t know was just how important my first book would actually be.
I met Emily’s mother Christina when we were just 3 years old and for 36 years she has remained my very dearest friend. Her daughter Emily was born not long after we left school and I was lucky enough to be at the hospital the day she was born. Fourteen years later, Emily was one of the first people to welcome my own son into the world.
After Emily's death I really struggled to know what to do. I was helpless to take away my best friend’s pain. I wanted to fix it, but knew that I couldn’t. However that didn’t mean that I couldn’t do something.
I couldn’t save Emily and I cannot bring her back but I can still continue to love her and honour her. I can continue to speak her name; I can tell her story.
This cannot be allowed to keep happening. No more mothers, fathers, grandparents, brothers, sisters, partners or friends should ever feel like this.
We need to relegate suicide to the history books. We need to create a new future for the people we love and the people we honour.
The first RUOK? Day after Emily had passed away I was lucky enough to have an article published in my local paper;
It felt so amazing to have a platform from which I could offer my thoughts. I am not an expert, but I am a mother, a friend, a wife and a daughter and I know that in my own life I have at times offered the people I love a convenient lie rather than tell them the truth.
Honesty may be the best policy, but that doesn’t make it the easiest. It is hard to tell your friend that you don’t like her boyfriend or your partner that their butt really does look big in that dress. It is hard to admit defeat, to admit you don’t know how to do something or that you are unable to solve a problem. So imagine then, how hard it would be to tell the person you love the most that you are not ok; that you are struggling with life.
We need to find a way to make these difficult conversations easier.
"What mental health needs is more sunlight, more candour, more unashamed conversation" Glenn Close
My hope is that Emily and the VERY big Feeling will help educate children from a very young age that they are special and worthy and so very loved regardless of anything else that is ever going on in their lives.
I also hope that Emily is looking down on this project and can witness all the love that so many people have put into it and I hope that she approves of the legacy that it will hopefully create.
After all, it is all for her xx