Before scrolling any further, please know that today’s letter was written by Virginia Woolf shortly before she took her own life, 80 years ago today. It’s not for the fragile.
By the age of just 22, English novelist Virginia Woolf had already suffered two nervous breakdowns—brought on, it’s believed, by the deaths of her mother and half-sister in quick succession, and then her father some years later. Unfortunately, the struggle didn’t end there for Virginia and she fought off numerous bouts of depression throughout her lifetime, until the very end.
One evening in March 1941, Virginia attempted to end her life by jumping into a river; however, she failed and simply returned home, sodden. Sadly, she persisted, and a few days later, on March 28th 1941, she tried again.
On the day of her death, unaware of her whereabouts, Virginia’s husband, Leonard, discovered this letter on their mantelpiece. Her body was found weeks later in the River Ouse, the pockets of her coat filled with heavy rocks.
I feel certain that I am going mad again. I feel we can't go through another of those terrible times. And I shan't recover this time. I begin to hear voices, and I can't concentrate. So I am doing what seems the best thing to do. You have given me the greatest possible happiness. You have been in every way all that anyone could be. I don't think two people could have been happier till this terrible disease came. I can't fight any longer. I know that I am spoiling your life, that without me you could work. And you will I know. You see I can't even write this properly. I can't read. What I want to say is I owe all the happiness of my life to you. You have been entirely patient with me and incredibly good. I want to say that — everybody knows it. If anybody could have saved me it would have been you. Everything has gone from me but the certainty of your goodness. I can't go on spoiling your life any longer.
I don't think two people could have been happier than we have been.
This letter is taken from the original Letters of Note book.
So sad. Suicide is so drastic and final. I am sorry that she suffered so long. I wonder if she would have been helped more in this time with pharmacology. I know people who have been.