Mary grew up alongside her two brothers, Jack and Henri, in a loving home. The youngest of the three, she took to horse riding and loved to play water polo. She suffered a major illness at age 12, followed by an enduring eating disorder for which she sought treatment, but never fully recovered from. Mary loved poetry, and connected strongly to the works of Shaun Tan – in particular, The Red Tree, an illustrated story about a girl struggling to find hope and her place in a dark, confusing world. That’s why you’ll find a red leaf in our logo.

Mary died by suicide at just 15 years old. And, while she may no longer be living, she will always be with us. In the wake of her loss, the Bakers struggled to find an answer to that terrible, gut-wrenching question – why? In their search, they came across an excerpt of Mary’s writing from school. The following is an analysis of a poem Mary wrote for English class.

People are constantly suffering pain in the form of grief, hardship and illness. Speaking of illnesses in particular, it is often mistaken that mental illnesses are just a stage that is soon the distant past. Too often it is not. Depression causes a poor quality of life and can haunt a person for extreme lengths of time, sometimes never-ending or becoming so severe that the sufferer no longer desires to live. It is not something anyone should have to encounter but it is a topic that cannot be avoided because sadly it is all too common, But this doesn’t have to be the case. Aimed to promote awareness I wrote this poem in the hope of a brighter future.

Mary Baker – Analysis of her poem First Impressions 2010. Copyright Baker family