Virginia Woolf’s Last Letter to Her Husband

Portrait of Virginia Woolf by George Charles B...

In March 1941, Virginia Woolf wrote this letter to her husband, Leonard. It would be the last letter to her beloved. On the 28th of the month, she committed suicide.

Woolf suffered from severe depression, an ailment that plagued her previously over the years. She would be unable to recover from this setback, and she knew it in her heart. Woolf had worked through too many difficulties in her life and admitted to her husband that her will to continue was gone. A terrifically sad end to an enormous talent.

Woolf filled the pockets of her overcoat with stones and walked into the River Ouse, which ran near her home. Her body was not discovered until the following month.

Here is Virginia Woolf’s last letter to Leonard. Heart-wrenching doesn’t even begin to describe her words. It is one of the most moving, painful letters ever written.


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.



8 thoughts on “Virginia Woolf’s Last Letter to Her Husband

  1. So moving. It’s reminiscent of things I’ve read about David Foster Wallace and his battle with depression.

    It’s interesting that we don’t write letters anymore. There probably won’t be such documents for historians and scholars to look at in the future…

  2. Definitely tears come to my eyes in reading this. Heartbreaking yes – but understanding too – her choice and explanation, however insane – it seems so rational. Sometimes for me, it is the so called sane people, that i worry for.

    Thank you for sharing this letter. It is has a great personal resonance with me – though I’m definetely (sp) not going to jump off any cliffs or anything. 🙂 Peace and thanks Michael.

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