Caroline van de Pol was just 27 years old when her sister Margaret ended her life in Melbourne.
Margaret's memory and her love of a good time now live on as part of a memoir Dr van de Pol penned for a Doctor of Philosophy (Creative Writing), which she received at the University of Wollongong graduation ceremony on Monday.
Ways to Fly has an important message - if you feel unwell, share it and seek help.
Dr van de Pol, an academic at RMIT, said Margaret battled schizophrenia for a couple of years before her death at 25 years.
"In the end, I think the struggle was just too difficult," she said.
"I know people out there every day find it hard to get up and face the day and she talked about that.
"I wanted to record that experience of being someone who loved them so dearly, [and what it was like] to lose them.
"It was a really dramatic end to her life and that's always with you; so people who feel unwell, for whatever the reasons, need to share it and seek help too."
Studying by distance, Dr van de Pol decided to look at her childhood in the memoir. Her writing tells of growing up working class in the suburb of Broadmeadows, as one of eight children.
"I really wanted to understand about myself and where I belonged," she said.
Dr van de Pol said there was a "fine line" between the memoir being "too dark of a story".
"I wanted to have the right messages about mental illness and suicide; that there's always hope," she said.
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