Miranda Hart on what losing her best friend taught her about life

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Megan Murray
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Miranda Hart has written a touching article for Glamour magazine describing the grief she felt when losing a close friend, and how she has tried to turn that pain into something positive.

The actor and comedian, known for her eponymous sketch show Miranda and her role in BBC One’s Call The Midwife, describes in devastating detail how she felt upon learning that her fellow drama school student Joanna Dugdale (nicknamed Bella) had died from liver cancer.

Recalling the moment she heard the news, Hart writes: “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 actor explains that having to maintain a positive persona even when she feels low is “one of the hardest things about my job – carrying on through tough times; doing stand-up comedy when I least feel like laughing; signing autographs with a smile when no one knows what’s going on behind the mask”.

Losing someone you love is, of course, an agonising experience. But Hart says that her “heavy and unrelenting” grief had an “extraordinary and unexpected impact” on her life.

Miranda Hart

Miranda Hart shares her personal thoughts on loss

Grief can show us what’s truly important, she says – teaching us to enjoy our time and the people around us.

“[Bella] 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’,” she says.

“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.”

We’re all unique in how we deal with grief and its impact on our lives, but Hart’s essay chimes with a study by Bupa Health Clinics that looks into the events that make us appreciate our lives even more.

After surveying over 4,000 adults, the healthcare insurance company found that going through a bereavement was one of the most significant events that gave people a greater appreciation for life.

Concluding her piece, Hart vows to “continue to make people laugh, hold my loved ones’ hands and spread every bit of kindness I can – because that’s what it means to live.”

Although we can never comment on how anyone should react after experiencing the pain of grief, we applaud Hart’s attitude and hope that it can comfort others who are going through something similar.

We’re just off to give our noses a blow and call our best friends to tell them we love them...

Images: Rex


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Megan Murray

Megan Murray is a senior digital writer for, who enjoys writing about homeware (particularly candles), travel, food trends, restaurants and all the wonderful things London has to offer.