Chapter 2, called "Lost," begins with the main character, Helen, getting a phone call from her mother saying that her father has just died. Helen is distraught but doesn't know how to react or process her feelings.
The rest of the chapter deals with Helen's attempts to come to terms with her grief. She likens her experience to being punched in the stomach and feeling such total agony that you feel like you're completely alone—an explanation that only draws expressions of horror and pity from others.
Helen experiences multiple flashbacks to her father and remembers when they spent weekends photographing every bridge across the Thames, leading to one incident where his car was towed away. This forces present-day Helen to call the towing company and explain that her father is dead. The towing company expresses sympathy but this gives Helen no comfort.
Over the next few weeks, Helen feels herself experiencing "a kind of madness," which she likens to her brain trying to make sense of the situation she is in. Since she has no partner, children, home, or regular job, her mind tries to find meaning in anything she experiences, from her horoscope to the rainy weather (which she feels signifies the world grieving).
This leads Helen to dream about hawks, and her mind links the word "raptor" with the word "bereavement," as they both mean "rob" and "seize" in Old English and Latin. She recalls how she had worked at a bird-of-prey center years ago; there, she encountered an adult female goshawk who briefly stayed at the centre before being let go to fly free.
The chapter ends with Helen remembering how beautiful, important, and intimidating the hawk was, leading her to believe that her later choice to adopt another goshawk was inevitable.