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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Nottingham chapter.

In October last year, one of my best friends from secondary school passed away. She was one of the brightest people I know: from the way she expressed herself through vivid and one-of-a-kind clothing that she’d somehow managed to catch sight of in a charity shop, to her roaring and infectious laugh, which would make whatever we were amused at ten times funnier. Alongside this dazzling side of her, she was both remarkably witty and intelligent, which translated to the fact she was studying to be a doctor at university. These admirable traits, alongside some deeply cherished moments throughout our friendship, have merged into the memory I have of her now.

Though I have started to come to terms with her passing, the slow path to acceptance has been one of reluctance and of which I don’t think I will ever be entirely on. In the beginning, I found myself in denial, questioning the notion of a world in which she was not simply going about her daily life – working at her placement, messaging in the group chat, or even posting on Instagram. I went from feeling so angry at the world that life could be so unfair; resentful of those who had not had the blessing of knowing her, and so were able to continue as if nothing had ever happened; emotionally distraught; to total numbness, whereby I felt a shameful absence of mourning. This cycle would only continue to repeat itself in a disorderly manner. However, upon expressing my conscience to my circle of friends, I found that they were all feeling this individual upheaval of intense emotions also. This, in fact, was a part of the grieving process.

Yet nothing can be done to relieve either the pain or injustice of her loss, there are things which my friends and I have found help bring us more connected to her, as well as each other. Firstly, allowing yourself time to mourn is crucial. Whilst you may feel isolated in your grief, concerned that you have been more or less affected than others, it is entirely individual. For this reason, listening and talking with others goes a long way, considering everyone who knew the person will have been deeply moved somehow. It is times like this when you need others around you to help navigate this immensely complicated emotional trauma.

As well, the value of sharing memories cannot be overlooked. It is through words and mental images that the memory of this person is kept alive. My friend still had so much of her life to live, and I will do everything in my power to prevent her life from being cut short altogether. In honour of this, I try to find comfort in the things that awaken memories of her, rather than attempting to avoid these reminders out of sheer pain. My circle of friends and I have discovered that we distinguish our friend, most prominently, in nature. Most particularly, in intensive sunsets, the colour of coral and blazing fire, which embody her brilliance amongst the darkness of tragedy.

Finally, tell your loved ones how important they are to you. Loss ultimately puts everything into perspective and should be taken as a message that life is far too short. Though this person is not here with us anymore, we have been blessed with the miracle of life; we should live this life for them, and without neglecting the abundance of opportunities that are presented to us day by day.

Since October, to say I have struggled with understanding my perplexing state of mind is an understatement. However, though it sometimes feels as though time has stopped whilst the world carries on, my circle of friends and I are beginning to comprehend the incomprehensible. My best friend was only young, which deems the importance of keeping her soul alive, as well as it being a truly extraordinary one. Her memory will live through the people who loved her, just as much as it will persist in the piercing, orange gold, which spans far and wide with the passing of each season and every dusk.

Lily Morrow

Nottingham '23

I am a third year History student at UON <3