This is a post I never wanted to have to write. Claire Greaves, mental health campaigner, mental health fighter and brilliant friend to so many, has lost her life.
I first met Claire in an eating disorder group a few years ago, and immediately noticed that she looked happy, friendly, and as a bonus had my favourite drink next to her (Pepsi Max)! I was petrified that first week, but Claire, a published author in ‘Dear Stranger’ and an inspiration to all, made me feel at ease, and chatted to me in the break as though she had known me forever. For someone who struggled so much with confidence in herself, she was bright and beautiful to all those around her, that she was determined to help.
People die from anorexia every day, but when you know that person, when you’ve held that person’s hand, when you’ve hugged them, when you’ve tried to be there for them, when you’ve told them it’ll be ok or even when you’ve done something as simple as writing them a letter, you don’t expect it to hit you as hard as it does. It hurts in the depths of your being, and it doesn’t go away quickly the way you may want or expect it to.
Claire loved writing, board games, horror films, campaigning and so much more that I don’t have the time to name everything. She was a true warrior, fighting against mental illness on behalf of all of us who didn’t have the strength that she did. She wrote letters to me that gave me so much hope and have ultimately led to my being where I am now in my recovery journey, on an upwards climb instead of a downwards spiral. I just wish she could have directed that compassion towards herself a little more instead of worrying about everyone else so much, the beautifully selfless person that she was.
There was so much more to Claire than anorexia or mental illness, for she was a person with a warm heart and lovely personality as well! She enjoyed normal, everyday activities like baking and telling jokes and just spending time with her family and friends. She was a person, not an illness and had so much to offer this world. To process her no longer being here is almost unfathomable and deeply painful.
I could go on forever but for now, Claire, I miss you already, as do so many others.
Love you always,