Virginia Woolf died this day, on 28 March, in 1941 – when she drowned herself in the River Ouse near her home in Sussex, by putting rocks in her coat pockets. Her body was found later in April and she was then cremated, her ashes spread under two elms at Monks’ House. She had left two similar suicide notes, one possibly written a few days earlier before an unsuccessful attempt. The one addressed to Leonard read in part;
Dearest, I feel certain I am going mad again….And I shan’t recover this time…..I am doing what seems the best thing to do….I can’t fight any longer….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.
Virginia and Vita at Monk’s House in 1933 (photographed by Leonard Woolf)
Through letters and diaries Virginia Woolf showed us bits and pieces of her complicated and stressful mental life. But she also told us about experiences of great happiness, love and joy. Darkness and light are both strong forces in her work, the interplay between the two gives her writing an unsurpassed depth and strength.
Today is a sad day, I really wish she could have known how much she has come to mean for so many of us!