I Won’t Be Afraid.

Via Rachel Brathen
on Mar 20, 2014
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Rachel B on porch do not use

*Editor’s note: Rachel is a dear friend and yogi warrior. She is hurting deeply right now. We wish her all the strength in the world and thank her for chronicling her journey so openly with us all. Be well, Rachel. Love and light from all the elephants. 


March 11, 2014

Collapsed at 2pm yesterday with overwhelming abdominal pain.

Woke up this afternoon in another country with three surgical scars across my belly, to a world that will never be the same.

People are telling me my best friend has passed away.

I don’t understand. I don’t think it’s true. It doesn’t feel like it’s Rachel B tummy do not usetrue and for every person sending me condolences I wonder, why are these people writing me? What do they want?

None of this is really happening. None of this is true.

@ahlaluna is lying here in this hospital bed with me, complaining about the color of her bridesmaids dress. She wants seafoam, or dusty blue. It’s ok. I tell her she can pick any color she wants, as long as she is there to calm my nerves and braid my hair on the big day.

She strokes my arm and tells me I’m being silly; every day is a big day macha.

And I’m always right here.


March 12, 2014

I keep waking up from the same bad dream over and over again.

I’ve slept since Monday and know now that the second I collapsed on that airport floor was the moment you hit that truck on the wrong side of the road. And the seven hours they tried to revive you was my same hours of unbearable pain.

Two hospitals, one heart.

When they finally gave me a big dose of morphine and I started feeling the pain lessening my phone rang. It wasn’t you who called and your phone is still turned off.

I don’t know what day it is but they finally released me from the hospital. Wondering how long until you call to tell me it’s all a big mistake. We’ll take the puppies to the river and watch the sunrise from the beach and dance and hold hands when we sleep and chant with las abuelitas and sing to Shakira and get in the car and drive and drive and drive until there is nothing left but the horizon.

And we’ll both be ok and I won’t be afraid to wake up in the morning.


March 13 , 2014

Rachel B Necklace do not useI went outside today.

Dennis carried me out and I was angry at him for making me leave the room but now I feel something instead of nothing so I guess that’s good. I put my feet in the ocean and I thought you would be there but you weren’t. Right now you are not here at all so today is a day when none of this happened. I even laughed at something earlier. Ile wrote me, “how are we going to say goodbye?” and my first thought was “who?”. It didn’t happen at all. Today is just a day and I went outside for a little and now I’m back in bed and that is all.

I wonder where your amazonite is. You spent the whole week in our retreat in December trying to steal this necklace from me because you loved it so much but so did I so I didn’t give it to you.

A day after the retreat finished it was your birthday and I gave you a dress and you came home and opened a gift from your your aunt and it was the exact same necklace, not knowing I had it too. Now it’s here on my bed. Ringo is here also.

This is life right now and I don’t understand how we came to be here.


My body is healing. My heart is not.

I can walk but not bend forward or twist or stand up straight. I’m hunched forward like a very old someone, my body heavy, gravity pulling me down.

Mostly I want to lie in bed under the covers with the curtains drawn but Dennis won’t let me. He opens up the drapes and carries me out of bed and this morning he brought me under the shower and even shaved my legs. If you want her to talk to you, he says, go sit by the ocean. Go at sunrise and meditate with the wisdom we all know you have inside.

Don’t lie here in the dark. She is in the light so go where there is light and speak to her. It’s sad because I know he is right but the dark is so comforting. And what if I try to reach her but she doesn’t answer? Or what if she does? Then this will all be real. And I’d prefer it if it wasn’t so drapes and covers and darkness it is. For now.




Helpless: A Moment in Grief.

7 Ways to Help Someone Who is Grieving.

Everything Will Heal.


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Editor: Renee Picard

Photos: courtesy Rachel Brathen


About Rachel Brathen

Rachel is a yogi on a world tour. Born and raised in Sweden, she currently resides in the beautiful island of Aruba where she is busy teaching yoga at a resort in the mornings, coordinating retreats at noon, taking her three somewhat crazy dogs to the beach to keep up with the surf in the afternoon and trying to survive as a vegan (where no vegetables grow!) in the evenings. She firmly believes that life is not black or white – it’s black and white and blue and yellow with rays of pink and sparkle in between. You can teach yoga and still be a party animal. Meditate and ignore your spending problems. Be vegan and eat too much chocolate. Have a Swedish passport and live in the Caribbean. You can do anything, as long as it’s you! You can find Rachel on the beach, probably practicing her Astavakrasana, or on facebook.com/rachelsyoga.


23 Responses to “I Won’t Be Afraid.”

  1. Oh my God. Rachel, sending all the love in the world to you right now.

  2. Carol Nye says:

    Sending all the love and light I can to you. Recently I lost a friend ( suddenly) and there are no words to comfort you through this- time heals. Light heals.

  3. Cristina says:

    May you be happy. May you be healthy. May you be free. Sending you healing thoughts all the way from Puerto Rico. Jah bless. Namaste warrior!

  4. Kimberly Cabot says:

    Thank you for sharing you. You put to words what so many of us have felt. The dark is so comforting and yet the light is where life is and eventually we get back up. Take your time sweet one and know you are love. Big hug to you.

  5. Lesley says:

    Rachel, your pain is palpable. Sending you hugs, healing, breathing, sighing and crying as you sort through all this.

  6. Chris says:

    What exactly happened? Is the mystery intentional?

  7. thirdeyemom says:

    Extremely powerful post. Thank you for sharing and hope you mentally and physically heal soon. I can't imagine such a loss.

  8. ellenx says:

    oh rachel! i am so sorry this happened to u- my best friend, tim, died suddenly 6 years ago & i was sobbing reading this & knowing all too well the black hole u have been dropped into… "time heals all wounds" is not quite true- time well spent is more like it. u have to find ur own ways to honor her & speak to her & continue to love her. dennis has some wise ideas- listen to him… the best exercise my grief counselor had me do was a 2 part writing exercise. first, write down all the terrible, sad, shitty, unfair things about her dying- as many pages as it takes- keep writing all of the bad stuff until u get it all out- & then destroy it. burn it, tear it into pieces, throw it in the ocean- whatever- just let it go… second, get a container of some kind that reminds u of her that will b a sacred space for all of the good, amazing, funny, kind, loving things she did & said & was- & write those things down on small slips of paper & begin to fill it up. only good, happy things go in here. i still remember things randomly & add them to my "tim tin". & when i c it on my table or shelf, it radiates positive energy & makes me smile. & it reminds me of how he lived, not how he died. & when im having a really hard time & missing him so much i think i cant take it anymore, i sit down & dump all the papers out & i read them one by one as i put them back in. & i cry & i laugh & i am filled w love & each time i come away a little bit more healed… i'm so sorry that u lost ur friend. grief is the hardest work u will ever do, but please know that u r not alone & that u will get through this even if it doesnt feel like it for a very long time. & even though she isnt here like she used to b, she is all around u all the time… XOXOXO peace & love & light & strength

  9. Amy says:

    Sending light and love to you in your dark times.

  10. Alex says:

    Yeah, what is this all about??

  11. Jan says:

    Sending you Love and Light to help heal your heart. Many Blessings to you.

  12. Kristine says:

    2 years tomorrow since I lost my brother

  13. Chulita says:

    The world won't be the same, but you will still find beauty and solace. Mourn the loss of something precious and take care of yourself.

  14. Shpresa says:

    Okay Chris-I thought I was missing a part here as well-what happened??

  15. Heather says:

    God bless…peace..

  16. judy says:

    I am glad you have Dennis to care for you. I am sorry for your pain. The necklace story is amazing — you and this friend clearly had a deep friendship and love, and I hope you can be comforted by sensing the eternal elements in that. Given your lovely spirit, I know that you will find a way to honor her, something that allows you to sense a shared happiness with her. Perhaps there is some way to help others that she valued that you can continue for her? It is still so soon, though, be gentle with yourself. For me with my friend, it helps to so much to imagine her humor and what she would say to me. Then I sense her laughing spirit as present in a way that warms my heart. As you heal, you will find your own way, unique to her, unique to her and you, to treasure her.

  17. Andreia says:

    I've never been through such situation, but i believe your souls are still connected. SO remember, she's still with you now, and she'll always live in you… Sending you much love and light.

  18. karen katz says:

    I am trying to take on a little of your pain-sending strength and light.

  19. Kel says:

    Her appendix exploded and she had to have surgery. In another country, completely unrelated but at the same time, her best friend was in a car accident and passed away.

  20. Tergali says:

    All the love & peace in the world for you, recovery from a surgery and a lost are very challenging, but at the end when we look the present we see that all have been resolve yet and we have to learn to live a new life, maybe some things change in life forever but I hope for good, my admiration and my best wishes for you 😀

  21. Natayoga says:

    What you're going through is sad and touching. You write beautifully and hopefully this talent of yours will bring to a place of acceptance and peace. Sending you much love and light.

  22. Patricia says:

    Rachel, I'm a Spanish spiritual healer (sorry about my English). I don't know why I found this webpage, and I choose your profile to read some article to find that you are suffering, but I know it was necessary in some way to make this steps and found you. I want to help you doing a distant healing for you. If you consent, just write me through my webpage: http://www.sanacionespiritual.info Namasté

  23. Lucy says:

    Rachel, thank you so much for sharing. I often discuss nightmares I have with friends, my most recent one was very similar to your story. I woke up and could not imagine how I would go on had the nightmare been real life…And I began to think of all the people in the world I have heard of who have gone through such great tragedies, and lived through them. I can never imagine how. But look at you. You are living. And you have already touched the hearts of so many people because of your story and your ability and talent that has allowed you to depict it in such a touching way. My love and thoughts are with you during his awful time. But just know that life goes on, and everything happens for a reason. Everyone has a limit on their life, and some peoples limits are just shorter. It’s out of our control. But your friend seemed to have a full and happy life and that’s what matters. Sending good vibes your way and thank you for all the beautiful Words. I think you made a lot of heartbroken people just a bit happier by writing this article.