I was on a train late last night, coming back from a wonderful evening with some friends, and I happened to check my facebook wall on my phone.

A girl in my year had posted a status which was unmistakable in its meaning. Her boyfriend had died.

I felt shell-shocked as soon as I realised what I was reading. She is nineteen, and she has lost the boy she thought she would marry. I don’t know how, or why, or when it happened, but from her posts it seems to have been earlier this week. She went to see him on Sunday – he was in the Forces, stationed nearby.

Incredible though it seems, I’ve managed to reach the age of twenty-one without having to deal with death very much. I have lost my grandfather and my godmother, and an internet friend was killed in a car accident around ten years ago. My friends have also lost grandparents, but never people their own age.

For a while I wondered what on earth the right thing to do was. I prayed last night and this morning that God would watch over my friend and her family, and the family of her boyfriend, and give them strength to get through this. I sent her a short email saying how sorry I was and how I would do anything she needed.

There is never a good time to lose someone close to you, but this could not have been a worse time for her. We are taking our exams this fortnight; in fact it seems he died the day before we started. I doubt she will be sitting a single one of them, which might well mean her degree is on hold or finished before she’s taken the second-year exams. Once they were over, we have three months’ vacation – and I know they had plans to spend a lot of time together.

It’s hard to get my head around, and it must be impossible for her to understand. She was prepared for the possibility that he might be killed while deployed. I don’t think she would have ever thought he might die whilst still on base.

Please pray for my friend, and for her family and friends, and for the soul of the young man who has died.