Rachael Kirkconnell Shares Her Thoughts On Her Bachelor Journey

The Bachelor concluded its 25th season on Monday night, but it was anything but a neat wrap-up. Matt James left both his finalists in tears, starting with his rejection of Michelle Young on their final date. To Rachael Kirkconnell, he confessed that he wasn't ready to propose, but that he wanted a future with her. Then came After the Final Rose, in which surprised viewers learned that Matt and Rachael had parted ways over her past social media behavior. Host Emmanuel Acho tried to nudge them toward a reconciliation, but Matt said he needed to "take a step back" while Rachael continued to work on her anti-racism education, as recounted by People.

Shortly after the dramatic finale aired, Rachael took to Instagram to send a final message to her fans. "Just when you think you found your way, life throws you onto a new path," she wrote. "It's unpredictable, unexplainable, and things might not go the way you hoped for. While I certainly wish things turned out differently, I also believe there is a reason for everything ... I believe good can come out [of] every circumstance." 

Rachael expressed regret that her personal drama "overshadowed" the season, and wished viewers had gotten the chance to know more about her "brilliant" and "extraordinary" fellow contestants. "You all deserve more, but I promise to always stand by and support each of you in any way I can."

Rachael says Matt is still 'the love of my life'

Of her time with James, Kirkconnell said, "I knew from the first night I met Matt that he was something special, and I was praying to share something exceptional between the two of us if that's what was meant to be. While I never expected this outcome, I respect his decision completely." She apparently isn't ready to call it quits just yet, though; she said he was "the love of my life" and added, "I'll always be hopeful and believe what's meant to be will be."

She hopes that her experience will inspire more dialogues about implicit bias and racial insensitivity — ones that will lead to real results. "It can't happen overnight and will be a never-ending ride, but I encourage you to take the leap and make a difference," she concluded. "We can change the world, together. I love you all and here's to new beginnings."

Her post drew nearly 100,000 likes and plenty of supportive messages, including one from Emmanuel Acho. "Appreciate your vulnerability and humility," he wrote. "Wishing you nothing but the best my friend." Other women who vied for Matt's heart backed her up as well. Abigail Heringer sent her a string of heart emojis, while Pieper James sent an emoji of champagne flutes clinking, along with the message, "Cheers to change!"