Grieving through song writing

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In this blog, Rachel reflects on how song writing has helped her through her experience of grief. The driving force behind Rachel’s music is her desire to evoke compassion toward ourselves and one another by sharing vulnerable experiences with the hope of encouraging connection & authenticity. She hopes that her songs provide hope and a source of connection for those who listen.

Pain and beauty

My grief journey has felt like the most profound combination of painful and beautiful. Kristoff and I crossed paths when we sought healing from our own personal battles, mine being depression-related, and his relating to the tragic loss of his son to suicide in 2017. We were lucky enough to seek healing in the same place and found tranquillity in each other’s support and kindness. Kristoff had a beautiful willingness to vulnerably share his struggle and created a safe and empathic space for mine.

His unexpected passing on the morning of February 3rd, 2019 flooded me with shock, disbelief and deep sadness. It felt beyond unfair. He remained so kind-hearted, loving, and hopeful, despite the immense emotional pain he had to encounter in his life.

“I stand in awe of life”

Wanting to connect with his memory, I picked up my phone to revisit our last text exchanges. It felt like he somehow knew those words would be his final goodbye. He possessed such admirable optimism, writing, “I stand in awe of life. However brief, it is magical.”

He ended the text with these beautiful words, reflecting on our time together: “I felt your pain, & revelled in your happy moments. I am here if you need me.” It feels as though he was telling me he would look out for me even when his physical presence was gone.

Feeling helpless, I sent a text message to his phone, unsure if anyone would ever see it. A portion of it read, “If anyone can receive this, I just want you to know how incredibly impactful Kristoff was on my life. He had to endure such pain & somehow still provided the rarest of light to those he crossed paths with. I’m so grateful to have known him.”

To my surprise, his 15-year-old daughter replied, thanking me. She said that my text was the only one she answered, and she didn’t know why, but she felt drawn to me and my message. That in itself felt like the first of many synchronicities Kristoff would leave for me.

Sitting at the piano

My overwhelming grief was the driving force behind what drew me to the piano on the day he passed. I allowed my sadness to flood over me as I sat at the piano and played. Somehow, as if on autopilot, Kristoff’s last words were woven into a song.

In all other circumstances, the song I wrote for him wouldn’t have left my notebook pages, but I felt the undeniable need to bring it to life in the recording studio as a gift to his daughter.

“Warrior” was the first song I ever recorded, and my life has changed in so many ways since then. I realised that there can be a beautiful purpose in sharing my songs publicly (something I never thought I would do).

Sharing the love

I started a project called #lovethroughlyrics where I share my music along with the knowledge that has helped me through my darkest times. Each song touches on different areas of mental health and I have begun showing younger generations how to express themselves creatively and therapeutically through song writing.

I wholeheartedly believe that Kristoff has had a hand in all of this and that he is ever-present throughout my days. I will be forever grateful to him and strive to approach life in a way that he would be proud of.

The lyrics to Kristoff’s song, “Warrior,” are included below.

You can listen to “Warrior” (original & acoustic) on any music platform by going here:

Rachel Leycroft 

You can connect with Rachel & follow the #lovethroughlyrics journey via Instagram:

Warrior lyrics

The brightest light touched on everything you crossed 
despite the fight you battled into the dark.
You gave your soul with little left for you behind 
and held your hope with such little left to find.
And in a moment, nothing’s the same.
And we are left to endure the pain
of all that’s missing, starting today.
And it’s the greatest feat.
Your passion, love and peace…made the world change.
You said life holds magic, even if brief.
You said we establish our own journey.
You told me I’m a warrior, as long as I believe. 
You said you’re here if I need. I wish it were that easy. 
‘Cause not a soul was ready for you to leave… 
And I know you weren’t ready to leave.
We’re luckiest if we feel an empty space; 
the silence, the void that only you’d erase. 
Because with this, we had the gift of having you. 
We’ll try to live the way you tried your best to do.
And in a moment, nothing makes sense,
and we are left to make sense of it.
And all that’s missing is forever missed.
And it’s the greatest feat,
but when we dream, we’ll meet…and you’ll be your happiest.
I know your girls are desperately missing you; 
and all the world, too, but maybe Julian needed you. 
And just like him, you left us all too soon…
but it’s impossible to forget you.
(But you’re a warrior on your new journey.)