The following blog was created by PAPYRUS supporter, Jennifer Matthews, who lost her younger brother Frazer Wilkie to suicide in January this year. Frazer was 30 years old when he took his life. He was a father, a son, a brother, an uncle and a friend to many.

 

Frazer was my only brother, my little brother.

With only 22 months between us, we grew up together with a very close bond. He also had a strong bond with our older sister, nine years older than him, who loved to spoil Frazer.

Frazer was a very loving, kind, funny, gentle man with a sensitive soul. Growing up, he loved to be outside, particularly getting wet and/or muddy, and together we were always out exploring our local community. Frazer and I would spend our weekends and school holidays out on our bikes, down at the local park or out for the day – one of our favourite haunts was the ‘ford’. The ford was out in the countryside and we would cycle there first thing in the morning, armed with welly boots and a picnic and we would spend all day exploring and playing in the river before cycling back home for dinner. Our love of visiting the ford followed us into adulthood where we often spoke of what we got up to when we were there, and when we got together we would take a drive down and remember the fun we had.

Growing up, we would also spend nights together after renting out VHS and DVDs from the video shop in town and buying sweets to share while watching our chosen films, often having a sleepover in each other’s rooms. Frazer had a close relationship with our mum – she was his person that he confided in. His safe space.  He also had a close relationship with our dad and growing up we went on family holidays with our dad which has left me with lots of happy and funny memories with Frazer, who one holiday fell asleep with sunglasses on and ended up with white marks on his otherwise tanned face where they had been! These are memories that I now cherish.

The years following Frazer leaving school were very turbulent for Frazer as he struggled to determine his career path and to settle down. Eventually, Frazer decided he wanted a fresh start and moved to Wales where our older sister lives.

It was here where we understand Frazer’s mental health struggles began. Almost immediately family could see Frazer changing physically and emotionally. He became withdrawn from family, began partying a lot, losing a significant amount of weight and did not communicate as often as he usually would. The Frazer we all knew and loved dearly was disappearing before our eyes.

Frazer was determined to make his move down south work and wanted to settle down, so he held down a job and soon after met the mother of his daughter. He was a very devoted, loving and doting father and his daughter idolised him. However, over time, Frazer’s family situation became very difficult, and he often shared with the family the negative impact this was having on his mental health.

Despite all the help Frazer sought out, Frazer continued to struggle and found much of the advice from professionals to be ineffective. With his family situation worsening and his mental health getting harder to deal with, I think Frazer felt like he had run out of options.

Before all of this, Frazer had not expressed any suicidal thoughts to us. Although we as a family knew he was struggling, the depth of his struggle had been masked well, particularly in his last days where we thought he was sounding a little more positive.

Frazer’s passing has impacted on myself and my family’s life massively. We are all absolutely heartbroken.

Because of this, I feel it is important to raise awareness of PAPYRUS as before my brother’s death, I had not heard of this charity and the amazing work it does. Suicide was not something I had ever dealt with before. It had never affected me or anyone in my family, so I hadn’t felt the need to think about it. Since we have lost Frazer, I have started to research more into the topic. I investigated the statistics, and this is where it hit me hard – the numbers are so high and some of the people who take their own lives are so young. This needs to change, and it needs to change now.

I find the stigma attached to suicide most shocking. My mum has been told by different people that what Frazer did was ‘selfish’. She has been asked whether she was ‘angry’ at him for his choice, and whether she feels guilty for not stopping him. Comments like this make it clear to me that young suicide, particularly young men, need much more awareness. Frazer was one of the most selfless people I know.

Following Frazer’s death in January, I have signed up to various fundraising events to raise money for PAPYRUS. This includes a taking part in PAPYRUS’s 120k in May challenge throughout the month of May, completing a 20-mile kilt walk in August, doing a bungee jump in September and I am walking from our home to ‘the ford’ in July for Frazer’s birthday. Frazer’s work has also commissioned a memorial bench in his name where he used to sit with his work friends outside.

We have lost an irreplaceable member of our family. Frazer was the funny and silly one who always brought mischief, laughter and love to our family and it’s absolutely heart-breaking thinking we will never see him or hear his voice again.

If you’re experiencing thoughts of suicide and need a safe non-judgmental space to talk. PAPYRUS is here for you. Call HOPELINE247 for free, confidential advice and support on 0800 068 4141, text 88247 or email pat@papyrus-uk.org. We’re here to support you all day, every day, whenever you may need us.
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