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hayley pearson; adelady; i love you; say i love you to your sibling

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.”

hayley pearson; adelady; i love you; say i love you to your sibling

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.

hayley pearson; adelady; i love you; say i love you to your sibling

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.


Hayley xx

hayley pearson; adelady; i love you; say i love you to your sibling

:: Photos by the amazing @bradgriffinphotography ::

Hayley Pearson

Hayley Pearson

Co-Creator and Writer for Adelady, she still gets goosebumps that she’s combined her creative passion with sharing the best of her stunning home state.


  • Lauren says:

    Oh Hayley how heartbreaking 🙁
    I lost my mum a year ago, and this is going to sound strange but I’m grateful for her illness that we knew she was going to go because that gave us the chance to say ‘I love you’ which we wouldn’t have otherwise (we aren’t a lovely dovey huggy type of family).
    What a special photograph for you to always treasure – hope you made it through the day ok xx

    • Hayley Pearson says:

      Oh I’m so sorry to hear about your mum. I can;t imagine! Ryan was sick, he was an alcoholic but had only been drinking for 7 years. He had the liver of a 66 year old alcoholic at 34 years of age! He was told hundreds of times if he didn’t stop drinking that he would die but I never actually believed it would happen. It still feels very un-real. Thanks for your message lovely girl, xxx

  • Helen says:

    Hailey, my thoughts are with you and your family today , i have many fantastic memories of Ryan(i worked with your dad ) send my love to your mum and dad

  • Nicole Davis says:

    Beautiful piece Hayley. Love you lots Shan, Anna and Monique xxx

  • Kristen says:

    Your strength and courage is beautiful Hayely. I was there the day this photo was taken, the raw emotions were overwhelming and the moment was so special for you, we could all tell! Every day since I always finish a phone call with…I love you. Best wishes xx

  • Kate Stolz says:

    Dear Hayley,
    I am so incredibly sad to hear about Ryan.. i have so many childhood memories from cedar ave with you, Ryan, Jane, Paul, Emily, tom and sam.. the street parties, the dress ups, mrs lau drama concerts.. Ryan was an amazing person with superstar qualities from a young age! I am so sorry for the heartbreak you and your family and Ryan’s loved ones have gone through.. huge hugs and lots of love to you and your parents xxx Kate (Clennell)

    • Hayley Pearson says:

      Oh Kate, thanks so much for your lovely message. I know, I look back at those days and think I can’t believe someone like that, with so much life and personality died. Alcohol addiction took his life, it’s not fair. Hope you are well! Lots of love, Hayley xx

  • Liesl Ross says:

    on December 11 it will be 1 year since my only brother took his own life. I saw him only 2 days before he died and I so wish Id told him I loved him. Tomorrow is never promised and we should cherish our loved ones and tell them we love them every day.

    • Hayley Pearson says:

      I’m so sad to hear that liesl. Thinking of you, especially on Dec 11. Christmas will never be the same for families like ours. Hayley xx

  • Lisa says:

    My heart goes out to you Hayley, I lost my brother to a drug overdose when he was just 34 as well. I know just how you feel unfortunately 🙁 These are beautiful photos x

    • Hayley Pearson says:

      Oh I’m so sorry to hear about your brother. They were the same age – 34.I;m about to turn 34 tomorrow. 🙁 Addiction is the worst disease and so hard for families to watch. xxx

  • Buffy says:

    A beautiful post Hayley. It really hits home when someone close to you passes. My family have a rule that no matter what is going on in our lives, we ALWAYS say I love you (and mean it) when we say goodbye after a catch up or hang up the phone because you just don’t know when it will be the last time… Sending so much love & light to you & your family. xxx

  • AJ Bartley says:

    HI Hayley, Im so incredibly sorry to hear of your loss, I was thinking about Ryan today, so decided to Google his name…..To find out how he was, where he was and if he was happy.

    Ryan and I met doing the musical ‘Victor/Victoria’ back in 2001 and he became incredibly important to me, and for 4 months there was talk of forever….but due to circumstances you mention above, it wasn’t going to last.

    Sitting here with tears I now remember the chat where we both found out green was our favorite color! thats a memory id forgotten totally, a great memory and a great moment. Thank you

    Please pass on my condolences to your Parents.


    • Hayley Pearson says:

      Hi Aj, oh that’s sooooo nice to hear! I love hearing from people who knew him. We went to see him in Victor Victoria, drama was always his passion and I wish so much he kept it up. Thank you for taking the time to write this, Hayley xx

      • AJ Bartley says:

        Anytime, He’s been on my mind a lot these last few days, and you are so right he had a true stage presence and could have easily stolen any show he was in. I had hoped he had kept up performing, And I remember we were talking about shows we would do after Vic/Vic. He was a natural,a sparkly force of nature!

        Thanks so much for Replying.
        AJ x

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