Family’s tribute to ‘beautiful, funny, talented, and a little bit crazy’ daughter and sister
PUBLISHED: 17:09 24 March 2020 | UPDATED: 16:17 25 March 2020
A devastated family has paid a heartfelt tribute to a “beautiful” and “crazy” daughter and sister.
Emily Owen, 19, from Shouldham, died days after trying to take her own life on Wednesday, March 18.
Miss Owen was taken into critical care at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital but was taken off life-support days later to prepare for organ donation and died at the QEH on Sunday, March 22.
Her sister Annabel Owen posted an emotional tribute on Facebook on behalf of the family.
The post said: “We are all absolutely devastated but also immensely proud of everything she achieved in her life. So many people have messaged us saying how Emily helped them through hard times of their own, and we had no idea how much positive impact she had on those around her.
“To many people Emily was a really fun, energetic, happy girl, but only a few were aware of the many years of internal battles she had. Few people are aware but four years ago she was diagnosed with high-functioning autism and had a daily battle to fit in and conform to social norms.
“She didn’t want anyone to know, but now she has gone we want to make people know that autism comes in all shapes and sizes.”
The family said that Miss Owen had signed up for organ donation when she was 12, saying “that sums her up, always caring about other people”.
They added her donations had “given hope to four families, three of them children”.
The family wants to help prevent this happening to anyone else and is urging people to look out for the vulnerable and “everyone in these difficult times”.
They said Miss Owen was concerned about coronavirus and the “mental health impacts of isolation”, saying it was ultimately what killed her as “she couldn’t cope with her world closing in and plans being cancelled and being stuck inside”.
A Facebook post said: “She said only a few days ago that ‘more people will die from suicide during this than the virus itself’.
“Emily would have wanted you to check on your loved ones in these very difficult times, as she believed the fear of the unknown may drive them over the edge and was planning on volunteering to help these people.”
The King’s Arms Shouldham is raising money in Emily’s memory for Norfolk and Waveney Mind.
■ For help and support visit www.norfolkandwaveneymind.org.uk. Alternatively call the Samaritans 24/7 free helpline on 116123 or visit www.samaritans.org