Oliver loved cricket. He and his twin brother, Samuel, played together from a young age and, like many twins, the two boys were always by each other’s side.
“Wherever one of them would go, the other one would follow,” their mother, Sarah, said. “Everybody around us used to say that they wish they had twins. It’s a very close unique bond.”
Oliver was a fun-loving, lively brother, son and friend to many. Wherever he went, a joke or playful quip was never far behind. He also had a big heart.
“Oliver was a very big, sort of, physical presence in the house.”, Sarah says, “He was always full of laughter. He was always very chatty. Always very noisy.”
“Ollie was a very lively character,” his sister, Megan, said. “But also loveable at the same time. He was just the most loveable funny brother.”
In October 2020, Oliver was just six weeks into his first term of A-levels when, without any warning, he sadly took his own life.
He was 16 years old. The loss of Oliver was sudden and unexpected. He had previously not spoken about any problems he was having or shown any signs of struggling.
“Thursday, 8th October 2020 was any normal day,” Sarah said. “Megan went off to university and the boys walked across to school. That day changed when we had a phone call. We all came home and found that Oliver had took his own life.
“It made a big gap in our lives –a huge gap in our lives. I think to get used to it being the four of us here now is very difficult.”
“Trying to understand why it happened –he seemed to have everything going for him.” Oliver’s father Steve said. “He had no history of mental illness. It was completely unexpected and that was the hardest part of it really."
Harmless, a charity based in Nottingham, contacted the family a few days after Oliver’s death and have received support from them during this immensely challenging time. Harmless supports people in the East Midlands who self-harm, as well as their friends and families.
They work with individuals who are struggling with their mental health and ultimately aim to reduce the number of people who take their own life. Harmless runs The Tomorrow Project which receives money from Comic Relief to help pay for specialist counselling, a helpline and a text service for those bereaved by suicide.
“We’re right there at the front line with people. We try and be there as quick as we can, for as long as we can be,” Caroline, the CEO of Harmless, said. “We stay with people until they need us no more.
“Most people will at some point or another ask that question: ‘Why?’ And the only person that can give them that answer is gone. So it’s about how we reconcile what we’re left with.
“We will only overcome suicide as an issue when we can accept that we are all vulnerable humans and we all need help. If we can do that, then at least we’ll create a net to catch people with. That’s what we need to do as a society – catch people when they fall."
To honour Oliver’s memory and keep him close day-to-day, the family has created a memory jar containing notes of special things Oliver did or said, or little moments they want to remember.
“It just keeps him close to us,” Sarah said.
“We went from spending every single day together – the three of us – to him no longer being with us,” Megan explained. “Personally, I feel like a third of me will always be missing."
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