Dear Greylan,

When I first stumbled on your Mum’s Myspace (don’t ask – it was trendy back then!) through having some mutual friends, my first thought was ‘she has such a good taste in music’ because her profile song was amazing, and I hadn’t heard it before! And how grateful am I for not knowing the name of the song or who sung it? SO grateful because it was the reason for me to actually contact Lauren and ask the name of it so I could go download (yes, we did that back in those days!) it. By the way, it turned out to be She’s So Lovely by Scouting for Girls!

When I ended up transferring to your Mum’s school to study, I remember seeing her and telling a friend I’d talked to Lauren online and my friend said, “oh she’s so rich and popular; she won’t be your friend!” Funnily enough, your Mum was told terrible things about me too, but I have this very strong belief that what happens is meant to happen for a reason. So, I believe that your Mum and I were told those things to give us a bigger motivation to become friends and now look at our friendship! Look at all it has become. All we have become, together. So please know, that you should have faith in a friendship – that you should allow it the opportunity to flourish despite what others may think of it.

And that’s what our friendship did – it flourished. When, we finished our exams at school, most of our friends went off to University but your Mum and I didn’t, and I think that brought us closer. It kind of ignited a mutual feeling of empathy and understanding. As if we were sort of on the same path. And that path definitely led to a whole ton of alcohol (I still have photos if you want to see your Mum in a mess?!), a bunch of giggles, and a lot of adventures.

When my mental health started to deteriorate, your Mum was part of one of the most stable periods in my life. And when the decision to be hospitalised for two and a half years was taken from my hands and into the hands of the professionals, your Mum was one of the key reasons I began fighting for my recovery. I literally had a handful of people who had stuck by me from before my mental health became poorly to my admission to hospital and your Mum was in that handful.

I think you’re too young to be told all the ins and outs of mental health and my experiences and the experiences your Mum and I shared on that journey. You deserve to stay innocent for as long as possible. If your Mum and Dad deem you to be ready to learn more at a certain age, I’ll welcome that day, but in the meantime, just know that for a long time, your Mum was one of a few people who believed I had a future and that I deserved to be alive to experience all of the things she (and a few others) believed I was capable of achieving. Know this and use it as reason to always believe in the people you love. To always have faith in them. To always support them through the most difficult moments in their life. And do this, not only because you’d like this done for you, but because it’s the right and fair thing to do.

When I came home from hospital, it felt as though your Mum and I just picked up where we left off in terms of our friendship. We were as close as we had ever been – maybe even closer because now we’d gone through a huge challenge in our relationship and had made it through the other side. Of course, a massive part of me was so happy to have your Mum back in my life, but there was also a sadness there. Sadness that we had even gone through that separation. That our friendship had gone through that test. But I’m very much a ‘look-on-the-bright-side’ kind of person and so I chose to concentrate and focus on the positives, the strengths we’d developed, and the lessons we’d learnt.

I think one key lesson I learnt about our friendship during my time in hospital, was that one of the most important relationships in your life can have the smallest of beginnings and then the future of it – and the way things turn out – can be such a massively rewarding surprise! It makes the tests of the friendship completely worthwhile to have that person still by your side fourteen years later.

When your Mum first messaged me to say she was pregnant with you, I immediately cried. The thought of a new life coming into the world is a magical notion for me, but my emotional reaction was also from the thought that your Mummy was so happy. That her life was going so well, and she was already so in love with you. I think it made me feel really overwhelmed because since the day I met your Mum, I’ve thought that she deserves the absolute world. She deserves to be happy and healthy and she deserves to have a lovely little life join her own. And that was something I had witnessed when she met your Dad; the love and kindness your Dad showered your Mum with was so deserved and so rewarding to see.

When your Dad told me you’d been born, I was so happy and tearful because you felt like a ray of sunshine in the midst of all the difficulties the world is facing as I write/type this. And I really hope you get to experience a happier, safer, and kinder world as you grow up – though, if your Mum and Dad have anything to do with it; I’m sure you will!

Greylan, I wish the best for your future – I wish for you to experience the incredible opportunities life has to offer. I wish for you to recognise how special you are and how loved you are. I wish that you find a friendship as incredible as your Mum and I have. I wish for you to continue to learn new things even when you know how to walk and talk! I wish for you to be as proud of your Mum (and Dad) as I am and know just how much you mean to them.

And finally, I wish that you know that I will always be here, loving you.

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