Emmerdale star Leah Bracknell’s widower opens up about ‘grief’ in tribute after her death

Leah Bracknell, an Emmerdale actress who played Zoe Tate on the soap opera for 16 years, from 1989 to 2005, tragically passed away from lung cancer three years ago.

When she was just 55 years old, on the “same full moon as the Queen,” her husband Jez Hughes published a fuzzy photo of the two of them together before grieving their loss.

Jez, a shamanic healer, stated that he will be writing a “appropriate” memorial while “in the woods teaching and having a sweat.”

Grief is like an eagle, he said, “it soars so high and close to the sun you think it’s gone, then suddenly it’s down upon you, talons tearing you to bits til you’re wounded and bruised all over again, raw flesh exposed to the breeze.”

Grief is the price of love, but it’s always a price worth paying, the distraught widower said.

Leah’s head was tenderly resting on his shoulder in the old photo he shared of the two, and he captioned it, “I found this old, hazy photo from way back when and it brought back nice, if painful memories.”

He continued by saying that sadness offered “no discounts” and was “as non negotiable as death itself,” reflecting on how his wife’s death from stage four lung cancer had affected him.

Grief knows no time; it functions according to its own internal workings and dances to its own enigmatic rhythm, he pondered. “Time changes everything, yet nothing at the same time,” he said.

Grief, according to him, “sensitized the already sensitized” and was both “awe-inspiring and dreadful.”

Despite everything, Jez said, “I pay the ferryman, the gatekeeper of all love and all grief, and I shall pay through this, and many lifetimes.

“simultaneously grudgingly and gratefully Because the earth is always refreshed and the rain turns back into sunshine, it is always a price worth paying.”

He continued by mentioning Leah’s original birth name, Alison Bracknell: “Ali, I know this will make you rejoice, since you died on the same full moon as the queen.

“I know in my heart that you are soaring and tearing up another adventure as that Piscean ocean ushers you into a new universe.

This brings joy to my heart and soothes all of these earthly woes.

When Leah’s character in Emmerdale was killed off, she had achieved enormous success for her portrayal of Zoe Tate, even taking home the 2006 British Soap Award for Best Exit.

In the 1980s, when discrimination against partnerships between people of the same sex was pervasive, she made history by becoming the first lesbian character to ever appear on a British soap.

She returned to the theater after leaving Emmerdale with parts in Gaslight and Strangers on a Train.

She later went on to make appearances in the TV dramas Judge John Deed, Doctors, and Casualty 1907.

Leah married Jez, her longtime partner, just months after sharing the devastating news that she had been diagnosed with lung cancer in the fall of 2016.

She participated in an immunotherapy clinical trial and raised £50,000 in just three days through an internet fundraising drive for financial support to travel to Germany for experimental treatment.

She passed away on September 15, 2019, as her widower Jez noted in his social media eulogy yesterday, despite physicians’ best efforts to preserve her.

She adopted her partner’s love of healing, taking up yoga in her later years, while Jez claims to have spent 20 years studying shamanic.

He claims that the purpose of his website, Second Sight Healing, is “the restoration of traditional ways of being, in harmony with ourselves, nature, and spirit.”

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