When was the last time you told your sibling that you loved them? The last time I said those words to my brother was four years and eight days ago.
If you don’t know me, my name’s Hayley. I’m thirty-three years old. I’m a mumma bear to two little boys, Austin and Alfie, wife to a hunky dreamboat named Jimmy and I’ve got the best parents in the world. I’m lucky. In this photo, I’m looking up into the gorgeous Stirling sky, wearing a beautiful Aus Fashion Labels outfit and a necklace saying, “I love you”.
If you don’t know me, you may look at the candid photograph and think, “Meh, nice photo, nice colours. Move on.”
But this isn’t just a photo of me, looking lovingly at green balloons. This is a photo of me, feeling unfathomable heartbreak.
It’s a photo of me and my brother, Ryan. Four years ago today Ryan died. He was 34. He was completely obsessed with the colour green. So much so, he used to make me call him Ryanne of Green Gables when we were kids. Yes, he also wanted to be a red-headed girl with freckles.
With all his fabulousness and flamboyancy, he loved to be the centre of attention. When someone wanted to take a photo, he’d be ready, posing before they even took out their camera.
I’m the story behind this I LOVE YOU charm by Adelaide’s newest jewellery company, Candid. It’s a little reminder from me to you — to tell your siblings how much you love them.
As I posed for this photo, I was covered head to toe in goose bumps and found myself fighting back a flood of tears. Even as photographer looked at me it was like I’d transferred my pain onto him through my eyes. He was caught off guard and started to well up too. In this moment, the green balloons came to life and I really felt like Ryan was there with me, frothing at the bit to be in the photo. I could feel him by my left shoulder, dancing and swaying and just being the silly poser that he was. I know it sounds totally absurd but he was there, being the centre of attention.
Today on the 4th anniversary of his death, I’d like to encourage those of you who are lucky enough to have brothers and sisters, to tell them that you love them.
The last time I told my brother that I loved him was over the phone. It was two days before Austin was born and I was telling him to get sober so he could come to the hospital and meet his nephew.
I ended the conversation by saying, “I love you Ryan, and I just want you to be well.” I could hear him crying on the other end of the phone. Maybe he knew he wasn’t strong enough to get sober? Maybe he knew he’d never meet my son? I’ll never know.
We NEVER know when the last time you say those words, I love you, will be. So say them often.
This one is for you, Ryanne of Green Gables! You look dashing in this photo.
I LOVE YOU!
:: Photos by the amazing @bradgriffinphotography ::