The sudden death of Rachel Morris aged 29 has led to shock and sadness within the community.
Late of Templeudigan, Ballywilliam, Rachel died on February 18. The much-loved daughter of David and Teri, she is also deeply missed by her siblings, Jonathan, George, Daniel and Mark, grandmothers Susan Morris and Mei Herbert, aunts and uncles, Liz, Jackie, Lesley, Fergal, Pat, Sean, Tony, Lou Anne, Jim, Paul and Trina, sister- in- law Kelly, cousins, relatives and friends.
Rachel was immensely artistic. She was a people person who loved singing, dancing, painting and traveling. She loved to enjoy life and all it offered and her presence was felt at all family occasions.
“She died suddenly after a trip to Dublin. She had a great night out, went to bed happy and simply didn’t wake up. The coroner ruled it as Sudden Adult Death Syndrome,” said her mother Teri. “She leaves a huge hole in all of our lives and will be sadly missed.”
A large crowd attended Rachel's funeral service in St. Anne's Church, Killanne, where Teri paid a moving tribute to a young woman who battled illness in recent times, recalling how special she was. "Her Dad and I had the privilege of being her parents for a short time. We had many amazing times and some not so amazing. It was through the challenges that both her father and I felt we grew,” Teri said.
She said she hoped that both she and Dave became better people because of Rachel.
“When times were tough we learned to plough through, to be more patient and to have resolve. When we didn’t see how things could get better, we learned to grow and deepen our Faith. When it seemed that there were too many difficulties, we became more grateful for every good thing. There was much good that came from life with her. Rachel opened our eyes to the good in every person. She didn’t discriminate against anyone.”
She said to know Rachel was to be sprinkled with magic.
"She was her own person but, to me, she also represented hope. Hope for a good and happy life. She believed in a sense of wonder and she loved to live in that world.”
Teri also spoke of Rachel’s belief in God and how she often had long conversations with him. “She enjoyed life, lived it to the full and with a generous spirit. She loved language, music, art and singing. She could make you crack a smile with her sense of rhetorical style.”
Rachel was a kind person, someone who gave money to the homeless even when she didn’t have money herself.
“She was a trusting person but could still stand up for herself. She had a vulnerability and sense of innocence that touched many hearts.”
She enjoyed coffees with family and friends at Costa Coffee and trips to Rackard’s pub or to Dublin.
Rachel became ill nine years ago and was subsequently diagnosed with schizophrenia.
"This was a challenging time that had many difficult moments,” Teri recalled. To better help her Teri started working less so she could spend more time with her.
"That was 18 months ago. This allowed us to travel and go on short trips across Europe. She loved traveling and it was a wonderful way to help her feel like Rachel again. These were our adventures and I am so grateful for this time that we spent together.”
With a focus on travel and connection, Rachel made great progress.
She was happy, had so much insight, and knew she was loved. Last year the Morris family shared a wonderful Christmas together. Rachel spoke of how she was looking forward to traveling again, going back to the US. “Her progress was more solid and I had much hope that life for her would be good.”
A few weeks ago, Teri had to go to the US to be with her Mom. This allowed Dave and Rachel to have some special father-daughter times. Dave says he really learned the difference between different types of coffees at Costa Coffee!
Rachel loved all her brothers. “She adored them: Jonathan, George, Daniel and Mark. They were her joy when she was happy and her comfort in times that were tough. They were the most important thing to her in life and each of them was special to her in their own way.”
Teri thanked the many people who supported Rachel throughout her life, including family members, Canon Ian Cruickshank – who provided boundless support in recent times.
Her brother, Jonathan said his sister always had something new coming up, whether it was going on trips to different places in Europe, practicing her French or going to classes or concerts. "She was a curious soul who enjoyed exploring the world and getting to know people. That was the thing she was best at – her relationships with people. They were deep and intimate, and she had a profound way of connecting with you on the most personal level two people could get to.”
He said Rachel also loved music and art, like many of the Morrises. “She was an amazing singer with a gorgeous singing voice that she didn’t get to use often enough, but when she did, everyone around her would be transported to her universe for a few minutes as she sang. This, along with her talent for painting, was something that always reminded us that Rach had a strong spirit, even in tougher times.”
Jonathan said he will always remember the love and happiness Rachel gave to him, his brothers, and parents throughout her life ‘and that she’ll continue to give us as we remember her’. “She was a smiling, joyful, caring, and beautiful person on the inside and out. When I think of her, I’ll be picturing her laughing and smiling, being the life of the party as always. I love you Rach.”
Rachel was laid to rest after the service in Killanne cemetery.
May she rest in peace.