This is a guest blog from PAPYRUS supporter Jessica, who lost her sister Hayley to suicide in 2019.

5th December 2019. It started out like any other normal day. I went to work, I ate my lunch, I picked my daughter up, went home. Nothing of significance whatsoever. The entirely ordinary day turned out to be absolutely anything but. By 7pm that night my life had been flipped upside down and would never be the same again.

I found out not long after 5pm that my sister, Hayley, had taken her own life. She was 23 years old. No age at all. A whole life ahead of her.

The word “suicide” is something I’d never really given much thought to. I knew it happened, but as naïve as it seems now, I thought it was someone else’s problem. It will never happen to us, we will never be so directly effected by suicide. Now, it’s become a word that’s taken over every thought I ever have, always lingering in the back of my mind.

The difference with losing someone to suicide is the lack of absolutely everything. The lack of understanding, the lack of support, the lack of discussion, the lack of compassion, the lack of answers. I’ve also lost 2 siblings (a baby brother and sister aged 5months and 2 respectively) in a house fire. A tragic, heartbreaking, ACCIDENTAL house fire. And there you have it. It was an accident. As heartbreaking as it is, there was nothing anyone could have done. When you lose someone to suicide, there’s always that burning question – could I have done more? The guilt, the anger, the sadness, the “what ifs?”.

That’s why I wanted to fundraise for PAPYRUS. So far, I’ve managed to raise £1350 for a charity that in my eyes, are doing the most invaluable work. Suicide is not something that’s going to go away overnight. We need to raise awareness, we need to have those discussions. Of course it’s uncomfortable, of course it’s difficult to listen to – but if we don’t listen, who will? PAPYRUS are quite simply saving lives. How could there be a cause more worthy or important than that?

Suicide was just a word to me before I lost my sister, the data just meaningless statistics that didn’t effect me personally. Now, I realise that those statistics represent people. People who had lives, families, homes, belongings and possessions. People who died a very avoidable death. My sister is one of them and I will keep going, I’ll keep sharing, I’ll keep discussing, I’ll keep raising awareness, I’ll keep fundraising – because if it saves just one person, helps just one person realise there’s a life beyond their suicidal thoughts, then absolutely nothing else matters.

In memory of Hayley Darby, 16.11.96 – 05.12.2019.

6 comments on “In Memory of Hayley

  1. David purdey on

    I lost my daughter march this year aged 21 .I feel I let her down and can’t seem to understand why i didn’t see the signs .

    • Lee Noble on

      Don’t blame yourself David I lost my brother in 2010 he was very good at covering all signs but he slipped up only once when talking all you can do is celebrate the life she did have on earth and cherish the memories you had with her and remember with whatever was troubling her she at peace now and will be always watching over you

  2. Sharon reeson on

    I first heard the word suicide when my husband attempted to take his own life in the 80s I had 4 small children and thought he was selfish thus our marriage broke down then on 2012 my beautiful niece aged 20 took her own life to this day we still don’t know why there was no signs she was seemingly happy then two years later my Nieces mother took her own life she could not cope with the pain , we as a family often talked about suicide and knew the affects it has then in 2014 my beautiful daughter aged 23 took her own life after the breakdown of her relationship , we often fundraise for papyrus as I feel when I suffered loss there was no help I never got offered counselling , family abd friends are there in the immediate aftermath but that soon dwindles and everyone seems to forget , papyrus is doing an amazing job xxx

  3. Ruth John on

    What a brave and inspirational person you are. Thank you for sharing your story. It will, make the difference. You’ve created a beautiful legacy for Hayley. You should be so very proud.

  4. Louise on

    Lovely tribute and well articulated, this stays with you like no other loss. I too feel a loss to suicide is avoidable. Let’s keep talking. Lots of love xxx

  5. Han on

    Thank you for sharing this. Good on you. So brave. I agree with the others, let’s keep talking about it.

    I never spoke up when I went through my dark patch. You would always be thought of as ‘crazy’ if suicide came up. I’ll never forget the one look a high school teacher gave me. No wonder people suffer in silence. It’s not right.

    We need to make more people aware about suicide and that it’s ok to talk about it.

    I lost my cousin to suicide this year and well, I feel so bad that it’s taken someone close to make me decide that it’s finally time I used my experience to help others.

    My cousin was 17 and when I had the news broke to me I very bravely sounded fine on the phone but was actually feeling very ill, looking pale and feeling my legs starting to go wobbly. I had instant flashbacks to myself around that age and felt so uncomfortable and sick. I had that realisation that what I was being told had so many similarities to my past. It was me, all those years ago, at a similar age to my cousin, except it was her that didn’t make it through the dark, lonely, never ending tunnel of despair. This pains me. Losing her has made me speak up and support others going through this horrendous sequence of events. I worked with her and knew she had family issues and now looking back at the last time I spoke to her, I wish everyday I could of took her aside and shared my story. It may have just saved her.

    To everyone, we’re here for you.



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