Usually the funny, happy-go-lucky character on our TV screens, Miranda Hart has opened up in a recent, candid interview with Glamour magazine about the devastating loss of one of her closest friends just over a year ago.
She shared how during one normal day in April 2016, she received the call she had been dreading – that her best friend Bella had passed away, after a battle with terminal cancer.
Miranda revealed how, at the time, she was on a photoshoot for her new book – but stepped outside to take the fateful call.
The actress shared, “As I heard the words, tears flooded my eyes and the breath was whipped from my throat. But I had to return to the shoot for my new book – which had seemed so important just minutes before – and put my grief on hold.”
The heart-wrenching piece goes on to detail the close bond Miranda and Bella had. She recalls how the pair met at drama school 20 years ago, and had been friends ever since.
But, Miranda remembers, things became tricky when Bella was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2013. Despite being given the all-clear some years later, she remembers being on a girls weekend away with Bella in March 2016 – and noting how ill she was looking.
Despite feeling unwell, the pair went on to enjoy a cosy girls weekend away – something which would turn out to be one of Miranda’s last memories with her best friend.
“We were on a girls’ weekend in a country cottage in Sussex, wrapping ourselves in cosy blankets and drinking endless cups of tea. We joked about resembling two old, bonkers women from a sketch I’d written years earlier that Bella had appeared in. “Look at us, we’ve become Mave and Joan!” she giggled.
But Miranda shared, “Two days later, she was diagnosed with terminal liver cancer, and within just a couple of weeks, she was slipping in and out of consciousness as she spoke to me on the hospice phone. I told her, ‘I keep thinking about our Mave and Joan weekend.’ Then I said, ‘I love you,’ and she replied, ‘I love you, too.’ It was all I needed to say.”
But despite the gut-wrenching loss, Miranda shared with Glamour how she’d been able to find the positive in the situation – by allowing the pair’s enduring, happy friendship to inspire her new book, The Girl With The Lost Smile.
“Not only did it inspire the story of true friendship in my new bookThe Girl With The Lost Smile, it made me realise that life doesn’t stop for our bereavement – everything just carries on.
“Despite Bella saying she had the ‘sweet smell of success’ for me, she was the one who finally helped me understand a phrase I had once read, but couldn’t get my head around: ‘Our death is our greatest gift’.
“It’s painful to lose anyone we love, but how we hold on to their memory shows us what’s truly important: how kind they were, how they made us laugh, how they held our hand. And that’s what I remember so clearly about Bella.”
In the piece, Miranda then vowed to keep making people laugh and spread kindness, “because that’s what it means to live”.
We couldn’t agree more.
Miranda’s new book, The Girl With The Lost Smile, £12.99, is out now.