Tribute

Grace Irvine

If I were to stand here and tell you about all the good memories and experiences of Freya that I have, then we’d all probably be here until this time tomorrow. During the 18 or so years that we knew each other we’ve laughed together, cried together, argued with each other, teased, advised, helped and hugged each other more times than I could possibly count – in short, we were best friends.

Even back in those halcyon days when we were both small, blonde, and chubby, Freya was always the leader, the one who came up with new games such as ‘Time Warp Closet’, which involved us hiding inside the airing cupboard in her house for a minute or so, before emerging and finding ourselves ‘magically’ transported to the Roman empire, ancient Egypt, Viking Scandinavia or anything else that took our fancy at the time. It goes without saying of course that Freya always played the beautiful princess!

I’m sorry to say that Freya was also one of the great minds that formed, along with Helen, our friend Elsie and myself, the tribute band ‘Bubbles’, meaning we spent several evenings jumping around in our bright leggings and backwards caps to such classic ‘90s songs as ‘Barbie Girl’ and ‘Dr Jones’. I honestly can’t imagine how Ian and Veronica stayed sane through our childhood…

Fortunately we all grew out of this stage – eventually – and over the years since we started going to separate schools I found myself appreciating more and more just what an amazing friend and even better person Freya was. We supported each other through all the various trials and tribulations of the teenage years, successfully managing to get each other out of the goth phase in our early tweens, and crying on each others’ shoulders with each romance and heartbreak that came our way. And all this in-between levelling up on Final Fantasy, discussing symbolism in the Lord of the Rings, and explaining in rather colourful language exactly WHY Martha should be got rid of as Doctor Who’s assistant.

As everyone knows, the last few years have been incredibly tough for Freya and her family, mostly as a result of her health. Nonetheless, despite everything, Freya still managed to remain resolutely Freya, and there was not a single time that I saw her, ill or not, that she didn’t mange to give me a genuine smile, chat about everyday things as well as her condition, and somehow manage to make me feel better about everything. She also helped me to figure out what it was I wanted to do at uni after my first application failed, and I can still remember the huge bear hug she gave me when I told her that I had gotten a place on the course of my choice. In fact, one of the things that made me so proud to know her was when she told me that she herself had a place at Cambridge to study Classics, seeming to me both a degree and a university that suited Freya to a tee.

The last time I saw Freya was at the end of an amazing three days with her. Firstly we’d spent the evening down at Rock Edge nature reserve in Headington, with Ian and Helen, looking at moths, bugs and beetles, wandering and chatting as the sun set. The next day we had gone shopping with Helen – mundane as it sounds, this was the first time I had been out with Freya for almost a year and so, despite not being very productive on the shopping side of things, it made me inexplicably happy. And the last day I saw her was at a party with Joe, Helen and Nick. I am so glad that my final memory of Freya was of the sun shining, she was chatting and happy, and I was holding her hand tightly.

And so I stand here today, heartbroken to be here at the funeral of a person who I had taken for granted would always be there, because she always had been and that was all that I had wanted. And all that I can say to you, the people who loved her too, is that more than anything I’m so so proud to have known Freya, loved her and been her friend, and to have been befriended and loved back. She is still my best friend, and I can never forget that.