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OK, You Can Go Ahead and Put Dirt on My Grave Now that Rayna James is No Longer



Well that was extremely harsh and unexpected to say the least. 

After Nashies had just recovered from the recent controversy over possibly cancelling the show, ‘Nashville’ leaves fans even more devastated with the most recent tragedy on the show.

On Thursday’s tear-jerking episode of the country music drama, coincidentally titled “If Tomorrow Never Comes,” Connie Britton spoke her last words as Rayna James after flat lining due to complications from injuries she suffered during a car accident. But what’s almost worse is that it seemed as if Rayna was going to make it. 

Things seemed to be going as well as they could be for Rayna after suffering damage to her pelvis and hip and undergoing immediate surgery. Deacon (Charles Esten) of course, doesn’t leave her side so during recovery the two decide to write a song together for their album.

A conversation Rayna has with her deceased mother in the hospital is what threw everyone off, especially Deacon. “She was helping with our song,” Rayna explains to her husband. Deacon becomes worried at this point while discussing what just happened with the doctor. “You hear stories about the white light and people calling from beyond and all that, I just got a little nervous,” said Deacon.

Signs continued to show up throughout the rest of the episode as Rayna began having heart-to-hearts with her daughter, Daphne (Maisy Stella), her niece Scarlett (Clare Bowen), and friend Juliette (Hayden Panetierre)–who actually begins to walk on her own this episode. Rayna’s conversation with Daphne while both laying in her hospital bed may be the most heartbreaking, with the country music star telling her daughter how much Deacon loves her and to never give up on her gift of singing. “Not just for me but for him. Y’all need to know that you can rely on each other,” Rayna pleads to Daphne about Deacon.

As if it couldn’t get much worse, when Daphne’s schoolmates bring the concert she was supposed to perform a solo in to the hospital, Rayna’s heart rate starts escalating just as her daughter starts singing.

Deacon rushes to her side – to have his final conversation with his soulmate. “If something happens, you stay strong. For the girls. Promise me?” Rayna requests of Deacon. “Not going to promise that because you ain’t going nowhere,” he says while holding back his tears. 

Unlike the first surgery, the second is not successful. The doctor explains that her organs are failing and her blood pressure is only being supported by machines at this point.

Unless you are made of stone, you were probably sobbing by this point. Deacon, Daphne and Maddie spend what would be their last moments with Rayna, singing the song they all sang together when they first became a family. Rayna’s eyes begin to flutter creating a sense of hope for her husband and daughters, but that miracle wasn’t so. Seconds later, Rayna’s eyes close for the last time before she flat lines. 

It could very well be one of the most devastating fictional deaths, for Rayna’s family but especially for her fans. This brings about a plethora of questions: How do Deacon, Maddie and Daphne deal with their loss? Will Deacon start drinking again? What will happen to the girls custody wise? Will Maddie have regrets over not spending her mother’s last moments by her side? Will the last song Deacon and Rayna worked on together make it on their next album? Where does this leave Highway 65? And most importantly, what is Nashville without Rayna James? 


Britton headed to social media Thursday night to pay tribute to all of those who were apart of creating Rayna James. “Thank you Rayna James. For your magic and your dignity. And thank you to all the creators of Rayna James, for there were many,” Britton went on to say in her emotional Instagram post. 

As for us Nashies, I’m not sure if it’s time to rewind and start from Season One or to face reality. The show will never be the same. RIP Rayna James. 

Cailynn is currently an undergraduate student studying Journalism, Advertising and Media Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Her adventuring began at an early age in Madison, WI and hasn't slowed down since. Outside of HerCampus, she also writes for the The Daily Cardinal, The UWM Post and Media Milwaukee. When she doesn't have a computer in front of her you can find her with a chai in one hand, her phone in the other, spending time with the greatest humans on the planet and laughing at her own jokes.
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