13 Reasons to Mourn Rayna James

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Rayna Jaymes went through a lot in her four and a half seasons on Nashville. Through the good and the bad, she held her head high.

When we first met her she was already a country superstar.

Over the years we saw her leave her longtime label and start her own; compete with other artists and navigate her career; divorce Teddy and marry Deacon; and struggle to raise her girls in the most normal way possible.

She was the heart of the show and will be missed.


1. The Infamous Elevator Kiss

The Infamous Elevator Kiss
So many people mentioned this as their favorite memory of Rayna that I had to include it. This was in season 1 when Rayna was still fighting/ignoring her feelings for Deacon and Deacon was clearly getting tired of it. Fans rejoiced when he told he was done talking, grabbed her and kissed her.

2. Her Marraige to Teddy

Her Marraige to Teddy
We can never forget Rayna's first marriage because it gave us Daphne. I know they had good times but their marriage was always destined to end for one simple reason -- Rayna was head over heels in love with Deacon. We all knew it, even Teddy. He tried to be a good husband and father, raising Maddie as his own, and staying home so Rayna could have her career. But it just wasn't meant to be. After their divorce, they continued to co-parent their kids and support each other as much as possible.

3. Her Love/Hate Relationship with Juliette

Her Love/Hate Relationship with Juliette
When Rayna met Juliette it was hostility at first sight. Juliette was an up and coming young talent, while Rayna was a past her prime, aging superstar. Or so it seemed. The two of them butt heads over the course of the show but they also motivate each other to raise their game. When they joined forces -- whether it was co-writing "Wrong Song" or uniting against Jeff Fordham -- they were unstoppable. Rayna was at Juliette's side during her mom's funeral and tried to bring her back from the brink of her postpartum depression. In the last episode, Juliette finally admitted she had always wanted Rayna to be proud of her.

4. Making Her Professional Dream a Reality

Making Her Professional Dream a Reality
Rayna was loyal to Edgehill for most of her career. When things went south, she bought out her contract and started her own label, Highway 65. Although it has struggled financially from the start, the label gave Rayna the artistic freedom she was missing. At Highway 65 she was able to make the kind of music she wanted and give other artists the opportunity to do the same.

5. Her Brush With Death

Her Brush With Death
Rayna's first car accident happened while she was fighting with a very drunk Deacon. He had just found out Maddie was his daughter and was livid she didn't tell him sooner, or even at all. They both survived, although, Rayna spent significant time in the hospital and Deacon almost went to jail. After this, it seemed like they could survive anything.

6. Entertainer Of The Year

Entertainer Of The Year
Rayna did a lot to try to revamp her career. She changed her label, her producers, her collaborators, her sound. Initially, she didn't see much improvement but that all changed in season 3 when she was awarded Entertainer of the Year at the CMA's. Sure, her success came at the same time she started dating Luke Wheeler, and one could argue their power couple status contributed to it, but she put out some great songs like "This Time" and "Ball & Chain".

7. Her Duets with Deacon

Her Duets with Deacon
The chemistry between Connie Britton and Charles Esten is never more obvious than when they're singing together. Although they had countless duets over the years, this one always stood out to me. The emotions pour out of them while performing "No one could ever love you like I do." They weren't together at this point but you can see the love and desire between them.

8. Deacon's Proposal

Deacon's Proposal
Everyone knew this day would come but the show made us wait until season 4. There were other times that Deacon asked Rayna to marry him, but this was the only time he wasn't drunk or dying. He spoke from the heart saying, he wouldn't change anything about how their lives had turned out, except for not marrying her sooner.

9. Her Concern For Scarlett

Her Concern For Scarlett
Rayna wasn't only a mentor to Scarlett, she also served as a sort of mother figure to her. As Deacon's neice, Rayna knew her for most of her life. They were close and the fact that Scarlett's own mom was a wreck and not always around just made them closer. When Scarlett was first getting started in the music industry, Rayna offered her a spot at her label. When Scarlett had a break down, Rayna let her out of her contract. Recently, when Scarlett seemed uncomfortable taping a music video, Rayna was the only one to ask her if she was alright.

10. Rayna & Deacon's Wedding

Rayna & Deacon's Wedding
This day was also inevitable, although it didn't go as smoothly as it could have. The location of their wedding venue is leaked to the media, Daphne is having a hard time accepting the change, and then they can't find Deacon. Of course once they're standing at the alter, everything is perfect. Deacon talks about how Rayna is his one true love, and Rayna jokes that he was almost the one who got away. "When The Right One Comes Along" plays over the whole scene, beautifully.

11. Maddie's Emancipation Hearing

Maddie's Emancipation Hearing
Rayna was always trying to protect her daughters. This is why it was so hard for her to sit back and listen to Maddie argue for legal emancipation. Rayna was not the perfect mother but she always tried to do what was best for her children. Though it broke her heart when Maddie took them to court, she fought for her daughter until the end, and embraced her without hestitation when she came running back.

12. The Love Of Her Life

The Love Of Her Life
The one thing that was always clear -- Rayna and Deacon loved each other. Even when they were fighting, breaking up, or dating other people. All they had to do is just look at each other and it was obvious. They were always meant to be and it looked like they would get their happily ever after when they married in season 4. Unfortunately, they won't grow old together but Deacon can take comfort in the fact that he had her for as long as he did.

13. Her Love For Her Daughters

Her Love For Her Daughters
The only thing she loved more than Deacon was her daughters. She was fiercely protective of Maddie and Daphne, sheilding them from the spotlight in hopes of giving them a regular childhood. She put them in private school and preached education despite the fact that they both wanted to follow in their mother's footsteps and pursue a career in music. As she lay dying, she encouraged Maddie to be confident and through her passing, I believe Maddie will become a better sister, daughter and woman.

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