Friday 17th February 2017 at 11:09pm is a time that will stay with me forever; yet a time that I try every day to forget. It’s the precise time that I heard the news that my darling friend grace had taken her life. On hearing those words, I collapsed to the floor, my knees giving way to the weight of my body. I sat slumped on the carpet sobbing, in shock, listening to my Mum crying on the other end of the phone. My husband started shouting at me to breathe, because in that split second, my body had forgotten it’s most basic function; to breathe. In that split second, my heart broke.

Gracie and I met at primary school aged 4 and grew up together with our friend Claire. The Three Musketeers. We went on holidays together, went to concerts together, had endless coffee and dinner dates as well as cinema trips although we usually got asked to leave as Grace would often start re-enacting one of the scenes of the film; making us laugh so much that other people complained. She was the life and soul of the party. She was the kindest, most thoughtful person with the biggest smile around and she was one of my very best friends.

Gracie battled so, so hard with her illness and there were days that I felt like she was winning. We would often walk down by the river in Kingston, me with my new-born baby and Grace with her new baby…her puppy Dora. We would often talk about TV programmes we had watched or guys she had been chatting to. We would sometimes talk about how she was feeling. I only wished I had asked more questions, been more insistent that she told me how she was feeling.

If you are supporting a friend or loved one in a similar situation to Grace then please, please encourage them to seek help, encourage them to talk, encourage them to open up. If you’re battling too, then keep fighting, keep talking – really talking because you are loved more than you will ever, ever know.