So, as you all know, around noon on March 28, 1941, Virginia Woolf walked down to the River Ouse, near her weekend house in Sussex and committed suicide by leaving her hat and cane on the riverbank and then placing some heavy stones in her coat pocket and drowning herself. I remember reading her suicide note to Leonard in the past and feeling such strong emotions. I stumbled upon it again tonight and thought to myself "eh, why not?" So, I read it..
"Dearest, 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 ’til 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. V.”
WOW. Absolutely breathtaking. I almost felt like it was written for me to read personally. It made my heart drop and my eyes well up with tears. I cannot imagine what Leonard must have been feeling upon reading this note and finding out that his wife had committed suicide. I can almost feel the love that Virginia felt for Leonard pouring out of this note. "I dont think two people could have been happier than we have been." I will forever remember the power of this sentence. I think it's because it reminded me of the scene of Rachel's death from "The Voyage Out" when Terence Hewet is refelcting on her death and what they had. The love was there for both couples, but the timing was not right.
I personally have never dealt with suicide in my life and am thankful for that. I always felt that dealing with a suicide of a loved one is the hardest loss to cope with. That feeling of losing someone and knowing that there was not much you could have done to ease their pain. It makes me wonder, however, if the psychiatrists back then would have known as much as they do now, would Virginia Woolf have been around longer? Would she have turned out more exceptional work? Depression is a serious illness and this is one of the many cases that help to prove just that. People seem to throw around the word like they throw around the word hello. I understand how back then it was not treated so seriously because not as much was known about the illness, but in this day and age? There is no excuse.
P.S. I thought this photo was appropriate for this post. A sweet photo of Virginia and Leonard Woolf.