Gabrielle's story

Gabrielle Minkley ran the 2014 Virgin London Marathon for Samaritans.

She ran in memory of her husband Oliver, who she lost to suicide almost four years ago.

The greatest person I knew

My husband and I were together 11 years, and had been married for 18 months when he died.

Oliver was a funny, creative and sensitive soul. People described him as a ‘one-off’, ‘eccentric’ and ‘one of the last remaining gentlemen’. For me, he was my best friend and the greatest person I knew – a very loving, kind, and fun partner in crime.

For as long as I knew him Oliver had mild depression. He lost his mother to suicide in 1999 after herself suffering for years with depression, and the trauma of this had a lasting effect on Oliver.

During the last 18 months of his life, Oliver had periods of severe depression. On a couple of occasions Oliver turned to Samaritans for support - I think perhaps Samaritans helped give me a little bit longer with Oliver.

Sadly, in May 2010 he finally lost his battle with depression and took his own life. At the time I was three months pregnant with our son, Ivor.

Getting through each day

For the two years following Oliver’s death, getting through each day was all I could do, wondering when, or if, it would get better. I turned to Samaritans myself on one occasion, and found them very caring and supportive.

Six months after Oliver’s death, our son Ivor was born. Becoming a parent for the first time during such a difficult period, and without Oliver by my side, was one of the hardest things I’ve had to do, but it also gave me a reason to keep going. Ivor was the best gift that Oliver ever gave me, and he was something positive to focus on.

I lost one love, but gained a wonderful new one, who has continued to bring such joy to my life.

My family and friends were incredible. The love and strength they showed me carried me through, I will never forget it and will be eternally grateful to those special people in my life.

Living life to the full

I’m pleased to say that life feels good again. When you have suffered such loss and experienced such pain, when it lifts you see the world in a very different way. You don’t take the small things for granted - I want to live life to the full!

Oliver and I used to run together, and tried to get into the Marathon a few times but never got a place. It had always been a lifetime ambition to run it, and so I decided to do it in 2014 for both of us!

It was a tough challenge, but knowing that every penny raised will allow Samaritans to help other people like Oliver definitely kept me going.

Knowing I’ve fulfilled mine and Oliver’s dream of running the Marathon, was a great feeling.

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