Cheryl Tweedy wants to remember Sarah Harding "before her illness"
The Girls Aloud singer was left devastated when her former bandmate died of breast cancer in September 2021 and though it is "hard to shake" her memories of her friend being so unwell, the 'Fight for this Love' hitmaker hopes she can eventually let the dark days "recede into the background".
Cheryl - who is joining her bandmates in hosting The Primrose Ball next month to raise money for charity in honour of Sarah - wrote in an article for Vogue.co.uk: "I would like to move forward by remembering Sarah before her illness. Although memories of that time do exist and are hard to shake, they hold no weight against the light she so brightly shone in the years beforehand.
"I have many, many more of those years to hold onto, and that is my intention. Her fun, bubbly side, her close-to-the-edge risky side, and her deeply soft and vulnerable side are some of the intricacies that made up Sarah in all of her glory.
"In the last few days spent with her, we got to laugh, cry, reminisce, cook, watch spiritual programmes (our shared love) and pray together. Those are the parts I will keep in my heart as I let the illness recede into the background.
"Now I want to commemorate her by helping to give thanks to those who kept her going in her darkest of days and nights.
"The darkest nights create the brightest stars."
Although Sarah was almost two years older than Cheryl, the former 'X Factor' judge always felt like the "big sister" in their relationship and was left feeling "helpless" when her friend revealed her diagnosis.
She wrote: "Sarah was the sparky one of our group. She was full of the spark of life and loved what we did. We all had different relationships and leaned on each at different times for different reasons over the years.
"I always felt like a big sister to Sarah, even though she was the older one. She would come to me for advice, or speak to me in confidence to share secrets.
"When we learned that she was sick I felt stumped. I had always thought I had been or could be helpful in some way. There was always a solution to a perceived issue that meant it would eventually work out when we came together.
"We had managed to get through so many sticky situations over the years. But now I had a deep and overwhelming feeling of complete helplessness.
"I was honest with Sarah about my feelings and she understood and said she felt the same. I jumped into what I knew I could do, which was all very surface-level stuff… things like care packages, with comfort and luxury items I knew she would like and enjoy. But still. I didn’t feel helpful, I just felt numb."