sudden death

a walkway inside the cemetery
Photo by KoolShooters on

That moment when the breath is gone

And souls released to who knows where,

But think about the ones still left behind,

Struggling through the daily grind.

The shock, the utter breathless pain

That drives the living to something near insane.

A woman that I work with lost her father last week and it has sparked off some really deep conversations in our department and among my own family members.

We were called into the office on Monday morning and told that she wouldn’t be in because there had been an accident and her father had died very suddenly. We all stood very quietly as we digested the news, each probably thinking about our own parents and how we would feel if we were in such an awful situation.

It’s the suddenness that bothers me and it’s led me to think about whether I would prefer to see someone die of an illness and be able to prepare for the inevitable; or to lose someone quickly and not have to see any suffering, but to conversely have to navigate that shock.

One of the team have spoken to her and she says that she feels like she is dreaming, like it’s not real. And that’s what those very sudden losses do to us. We very suddenly need to grapple with those thoughts about mortality and that is really uncomfortable for humans.

I am one of those people that have both a sick fascination with death, and also feel terrified of it. I feel like a child that knows it’s scary to stick their hand in the flame, but feels desperate to do it anyway. I want to reach out and touch death so that I can finally understand what it’s all about.

Faith helps, but it doesn’t take away all of the fear because it is faith; we can’t blindly believe something is going to be one way when we have no tangible truth. And that means that we don’t have a bloody clue and that’s terrifying.

Does death hurt? Do the lights just go out and that’s the end of everything? Do we get to meet up with old friends and family like it’s a big nightclub in the sky? Who knows? But one thing I do know is that I have spent a lot of time thinking about these questions this week.

Much Love

Rachel xx

on not knowing when the end will come

yellow and black wooden cabinet
Photo by cottonbro on

We all need a finish line to aim for,

A chalky line across the grass, and tape

To break our way through with our arms held high.

Without that line we’ll keep on running,

Swimming to exhaustion in a pointless circle.

We need to know how long we have, and yet we don’t;

We drift through life without a clue,

It could be twenty years from now, it could be

Crossing over one wrong road at one wrong time,

Never to have time to say goodbye.

I’m reading a book about a woman who has cancer and she is trying to come to terms with the fact that she is going to die young. She is dealing with something that many of us won’t have to worry ourselves with; although there are many of us who will have time to think about death as we get older.

My grandmothers died in two very different ways and I have spent a lot of that last decade thinking which I would rather. One died of cancer and although it’s horrid, we all got the chance to make peace with the fact that she was going to go.

On the other hand, my other grandmother just went to sleep one night and didn’t wake up. It seemed like quite a lovely way to go, but it was a terrible shock for all of us. However, is that a terrible way to go when you are so much younger? To not know that the end is near? To not live your last day in a way that is fitting?

We all fight with the idea of death at some time and I guess that I’m worrying that I might be halfway now. Or perhaps I’m even further forward. I went to school with a girl who died in her sleep when she was seventeen so it doesn’t just happen to eighty year olds.

And then there are the goodbyes. Don’t we all need to say goodbye, no matter what the relationship? Even if it’s the man on the checkout at your local supermarket; it would feel wrong not to say goodbye and thank you for your company.

So, just in case it’s ever too late, thank you for your company.

Much Love,

Rachel xx

your pain is so heavy

brown chains
Photo by Miguel Á. Padriñán on

It weighs me down like a weekly shop,

Sainsbury’s bags swinging at my side

As I struggle with the front door keys,

Just wanting to get inside, forget

About the queues and the man coughing on me

Down in the bacon and sausage aisle.

But this weight is necessary,

I need to feel it in my heart and lungs,

If I am to survive…

I’ve heard lots of really sad stories over the last few days and they have been weighing heavily on my heart. They were stories told through audiobooks and Youtube so I could have quite easily turned them off; but I didn’t.

I continued listening all the way to the end and really took the weight of the pain in the process. And I’ve been spending the last few hours thinking about why I kept listening.

Sometimes, I think that we need to hear of other people’s pain to help us with our own. These stories were told by highly successful people who appear to have their shit together. These people pulling the curtain back and showing us that everybody hurts makes us feel connected, no longer alone.

However, that doesn’t take away the heaviness that comes with hearing these stories. I think these stories were sent my way to remind me that life is hard but we can all pick ourselves up after a fall.

Much Love

Rachel xx

sunset by jessie cave

body of water during golden hour
Photo by Sebastian Voortman on

Grief is sharp and hot, the body turns away

Instinctively, like bodies jumping from

The burning building. We as why?

Why the hell would you jump from way up there?

But we can’t know intensity like that until

We’re in the fire ourselves. And then

We wish we’d asked, looked inside ourselves

And asked the questions of those tortured souls,

Tell me why you leapt that day.

I just finished listening to the audiobook ‘Sunset’ by Jessie Cave and it was bloody beautiful.

I’ve followed Jessie Cave on Instagram for quite a while because she draws the funniest little doodles and she has the most amazing hair. So, I was pretty excited to read her book when I saw that she had written some fiction.

I found out just before I started listening that Jessie lost her brother in an accident quite recently and the book is a reflection on the grief that she felt.

It was also read by her sister which added a certain amount of poignancy to the audio version of the book. There is also a lovely discussion between the two sisters as a bonus section and it was really touching to get an insight into how they both felt about the novel.

It’s actually made me reflect on grief myself. They were saying how there is no real end to grief. You can’t sew it up like a happy ending in a romance novel. The pain may fade, but the loss will always be there.

I watched a documentary on the Twin Towers last night and I was reminded of the people jumping from the buildings. Nobody could believe what they were seeing and we were wondering why on earth they were choosing to jump.

Now we know that the heat was so extreme, they were almost pushed out of the windows. I think grief is a little bit like that, we can’t understand why people behave the way they do until we experience it ourselves. And unfortunately, as humans, we’re all going to have to feel the pain of a jump once or twice in our lifetime.

Much Love

Rachel xx

just loss

close up of gate of buckingham palace
Photo by Roméo on

The bricks are always crumbling down,

The fabric fraying at the edge,

Destroying life we know, we love.

Life is not a constant thing,

But ever changing, building and

A knocking down of all that is

Familiar, pleasant to the eye, the ear.

We need our lives to straighten out,

To weather storms and stay intact

But that is not the way it works.

Eventually those things we love and need

Will crumble into dust.

There has been some very sad news today. The Duke of Edinburgh passed away this morning and I feel like his death will leave a hole in lots of people’s hearts, whether they have met him or not.

He has been by our Queen’s side for over seventy years and so most people will not remember a time when he has been a part of our fabric that has woven us all together. He kind of feels a bit like the grandfather that we never had, making inappropriate jokes but always being there when really needed.

He has always been one of my favourite royals and I really hope that The Crown is accurate in its portrayal of him, because I totally fell in love with the character that we were presented with. He knew exactly who he was and what was important to him and that is something that is important in really uncertain times.

My heart goes out to the Queen and the rest of the family. I can’t even begin to imagine what you must feel to have somebody by your side for 73 years and then have them gone. It must feel like a body part has been cut away, you must feel totally off balance.

I remember when Colin left me and I took off my wedding ring after two years of marriage. I felt like I was falling over and gravity was having a weird effect on me. What must it feel like after 73 years?

I hope that the family get through this time of sadness and that they all put differences aside and really lean on each other. It’s easy to forget that a stuffy institution like the royal family is, at the end of the day, a family and they deserve the same kindness and respect as any other family in such a horrible time.

Much Love

Rachel xx

talking about death is really hard

angelic statue and sunset scenery
Photo by Ellie Burgin on

She touched the fabric of his shirt

As he slipped away to who knows where

In a shallow breath and a foggy stare.

She touched the fabric so that she knew he had been there,

He wasn’t just some trick of the mind

Their story really mattered, it really existed

Those memories of the kisses, births and parties too.

It was a happy book, written in their name

But still, it was hard to not know where he was,

It was frightening to stand with toes curled over

The edge of the gaping abyss

And not know where the bottom may be,

If there is a bottom anywhere at all?

I went to the solicitor’s office with my dad to get his will signed this week, and the effect that it had on me was quite profound. I really felt bent out of shape as we left, having thought properly about the fact that my dad could leave me at any time.

I think most humans try to avoid thinking about death because it’s enough to drive you crazy, but when you do finally sit down and consider it, it’s terrifying.

For those that are left behind, we don’t know if we’ll see that person again. And for the person facing death, there is that fear of nothingness.

I believe that we must go somewhere. I’m a Christian but even if I strip away any biblical teachings, I don’t believe that a soul and all the memories that we store up in a life time can just vanish in a moment.

It is the uncertainty that is the real kicker. And, of course, there is always the chance that I could go first. Life is so fragile and my trip to the solicitor reminded me of that, which can only be a good thing.

Enjoy it while you have it.

Much Love

Rachel xx