Shopping tweet of grief triggers ‘surge of love’

Rachael Prior appreciating the love with his majesty the dogImage copyright Rachael Prior
Image caption Rachael Prior appreciating the love with her dog

Sometimes, just a small, simple thing, can trigger a moment of sadness and grief.

For Rachael Prior, it was a bright red jumper in a well-known retailer’s menswear department, whilst out shopping with her husband and children in London.

“I caught sight of this cosy red jumper and thought it was the sort of thing my late father would love. I’d have picked it for him and I could imagine his face in that moment,” Rachael told the BBC.

Although her father, Lynton, died 10 years ago, the sudden feeling of grief was overwhelming.

“It felt cathartic to use Twitter but I didn’t think for one minute my innocuous tweet would catch on. It’s been bizarre.”

In just one day there has been such a huge response – more than 1,000 retweets, 11,000 likes and 1,300 more followers in 24 hours, including from one of her idols, the British singer, Alison Moyet.

TV personality James Corden, host of The Late Late Show in the US, encouraged his followers to read the whole thread, saying “It will warm your heart. Beautiful”

Author JK Rowling joined in, saying the thread shows how ‘Twitter really is wonderful sometimes‘.

Briana Chernak, from Chicago, shared her ‘I love you’ tattoo which is the last thing her father said to her and is in his handwriting, which means she carries his love every day.

Other triggers shared on Rachel’s thread include songs, aftershave, tobacco, tea and tankards, which made people think of their loved ones.

One of Rachael’s father’s former pupils talked of his ‘legendary assemblies’.

Image copyright Twitter
Image caption A former student recognised the surname

Others shared their own personal memories, like LA_PDX, who posted a note from her dad telling her to use “good judgement in credit card purchases.”

Rachael, who’s head of film at a production company in London, even learned more about the word Tuttie, which her father, who was from Rochdale, called his aftershave.

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Unfortunately, she has been unable to read every post.

“I feel like I’ve missed so many. It was nice to share my moment. Twitter has felt like a place overwhelmed by politics of hate, so this thread reminded me why I joined. It can be a place where people come together and support each other.”

“Everyone can connect to the loss of a loved one,” adds Rachael, who thanked everyone for what she describes as a very healing experience for her.

And as clinical psychologist Sarah Davidson puts it, this “more connected and emotionally impactful” thread could compete with High Street store Christmas adverts.

Compiled by Sherie Ryder, BBC UGC and Social News team

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