Mum shares heartbreaking poems penned by daughter before death

Emily Oakes-Buckingham, who died at the age of 13 earlier this year

Emily Oakes-Buckingham, who died at the age of 13 earlier this year - Credit: Mel Oakes-Buckingham

The mum of a teenager whose fight with mental health was reignited by lockdown has shared her daughter's heartbreaking poems to highlight the hidden impact of the pandemic.

Emily Oakes-Buckingham was 13 when she died in Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge a week after an incident at her home on New Year's Day.

Her parents believed the Sprowston High School pupil had "turned a corner" in her fight with anxiety before the pandemic.

However she found lockdown increasingly took a huge toll on her mental health.

Following an inquest held into her death last week, mum Mel Oakes-Buckingham has shared two emotional poems her daughter penned in hopes of raising awareness of the impact the pandemic has had on young people.

In the poems, Emily describes the anxiety and isolation she felt - but also emphasised that it is "not forever".

Emily Oakes-Buckingham's poem 'It's Not Forever'

Emily Oakes-Buckingham's poem 'It's Not Forever' - Credit: Emily Oakes-Buckingham

Mrs Oakes-Buckingham read one of the poems, called 'It's Not Forever' during the hearing, which was held at Norfolk Coroners Court.

And following the inquest, she shared a further poem with this newspaper.

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Mrs Oakes-Buckingham said: "Lockdown had a huge impact on her, she had really turned a corner before then.

A lockdown poem written by Emily Oakes-Buckingham

A lockdown poem written by Emily Oakes-Buckingham - Credit: Emily Oakes-Buckingham

"She was a force of nature - if she walked into a room you could not miss her, she was so much fun."

But beneath the cheery demeanour she showed in public was a devastating fight with anxiety which was worsened by the lockdowns.

Sprowston High School pupil Emily Oakes-Buckingham, who died aged 13

Sprowston High School pupil Emily Oakes-Buckingham, who died aged 13 - Credit: Mel Oakes-Buckingham

Mrs Oakes-Buckingham said she was particularly stressed about having to catch up with school time missed and that this pressure took its toll.

She said: "Only we really saw the anxious, stressed Emily. We developed a really strong emotional relationship.

"I did absolutely everything I could for her but do believe she could have had more help."

Emily Oakes-Buckingham, who died at the age of 13 in January 2021

Emily Oakes-Buckingham, who died at the age of 13 in January 2021 - Credit: Mel Oakes-Buckingham

In her poem, Emily wrote: 

"It feels like forever,

trapped in your head feeling alone

cold hearted dark minded,

wanting to escape but not really wanting to die,

just want to be happy,

want everything to be fine again,

but you can only wish,

and remember,

that it's not forever"

In the inquest on September 24 coroner Christopher Long gave a narrative conclusion.

  • If you need help or support, contact the Samaritans on 116 123 or Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust’s First Response helpline on 0808 196 3494 - both are available 24/7.

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