Norfolk woman using grief of losing mother at 16 to help others
- Credit: Edwards Family
Losing your mother to suicide at the age of 16 is a loss it is hard to fathom.
But a brave woman from Dereham is taking ten years of sadness and pain and turning it into her motivation for helping people in the same situation.
Saffron Edwards, 25, and her two siblings Chanelle and Joshua, lost their mum, Lynne Grimes, on July 4, 2011, after she took her own life.
Since then the lash technician has used her pain and opened up to hundreds of her customers, friends, and strangers, and has been everything from a shoulder to cry on to somebody that signposted people to places that would help them deal with their grief.
Miss Edwards said her mum would "do anything for anyone".
"My mum was the best," she said: "She wasn't like anyone you had ever met before, she was so loud and caring.
"We had the best childhood, it was such a shock when I found out she died."
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After finding out her mum, who worked as a hairdresser in Sophistacuts in Dereham, had died, the then 16-year-old said she began sleeping a lot.
"I never really knew what I wanted to do," Miss Edwards said. "I had applied for college to do hairdressing but after mum died, I just didn't go.
"According to my dad I began sleeping a lot and I just really fell off the track. My brother and sister both just got stuck into work, we all had really different ways of grieving.
"In 2011, when this happened, mental health was not spoken about as much, I think we were one of only three or four families in Dereham that this had happened to."
Lynne had battled with alcoholism ahead of her death but was not diagnosed with any mental health issues.
According to her daughter, she was "very good" at hiding her real emotions, and the family did not realise the extent of her drinking until they began cleaning out her house.
Miss Edwards and her father, Darren, began receiving messages from people talking about their own loss after loved ones had also taken their own lives.
The 25-year-old said: "I know we are not the first family to go through this, but we have always been so open with anybody who needed some help and advice.
"My advice to anybody going through something similar is to talk about it. There are so many people that are there to listen from friends to therapists.
"Even now my customers will talk to me about how they have been affected by suicide and mental health issues.
"It's so important to talk about this kind of stuff, people need to understand it's not a taboo subject anymore and one in four people will experience ill mental health at some point in their lifetime."
Ten years on from her mother's death, Miss Edwards has decided to raise money for MIND by completing a 10k walk/run.
So far, she has raised more than £1,000 for the mental health charity, which listens and gives support to anybody who needs it.
She said: "I want to do this not just for myself, but for everyone that has been affected by the loss of a loved one.
"I'd love for as many people as possible to get involved with the 10k at their own pace, fingers crossed the current lockdown is over by July and we'll be able to run in groups. If not, I'll be doing it on my treadmill!"
To donate to Saffron's 10k, visit: tinyurl.com/y3vk7y7v
- If you need help or support, please contact the Samaritans on 116 123 or Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust’s First Response helpline on 0808 196 3494 both 24/7.
- Alternatively download the Stay Alive app, which is backed by Suffolk User Forum, if you are having thoughts of suicide or if you are concerned about someone else.