He wrote this letter to the love of his life Eva before a journey he thought he might not return from, though he didn’t pass away for many years after; his parting words were no less profound.
I read this in Vanity Fair a few months back and stumbled across it again today via You, Me & Charlie - and thought it was worth the share.
What a beautiful letter that provides a slice of closure to help the heart through the grieving process.
Stockholm, February 9, 1977
Eva, my love,
It’s over. One way or another, everything comes to an end. It’s all over some day. That’s perhaps one of the most fascinating truths we know about the entire universe. The stars die, the galaxies die, the planets die. And people die too. I’ve never been a believer, but the day I became interested in astronomy, I think I put aside all that was left of my fear of death. I’d realized that in comparison to the universe, a human being, a single human being, me … is infinitely small. Well, I’m not writing this letter to deliver a profound religious or philosophical lecture. I’m writing to tell you “farewell.” I was just talking to you on the phone. I can still hear the sound of your voice. I imagine you, before my eyes … a beautiful image, a lovely memory I will keep until the end. At this very moment, reading this letter, you know that I am dead. There are things that I want you to know. As I leave for Africa, I’m aware of what’s waiting for me. I even have the feeling that this trip could bring about my death, but it’s something that I have to experience, in spite of everything. I wasn’t born to sit in an armchair. I’m not like that. Correction: I wasn’t like that … I’m not going to Africa just as a journalist, I’m going above all on a political mission, and that’s why I think this trip might lead to my death. This is the first time I’ve written to you knowing exactly what to say: I love you, I love you, love you, love you. I want you to know that. I want you to know that I love you more than I’ve ever loved anyone. I want you to know I mean that seriously. I want you to remember me but not grieve for me. If I truly mean something to you, and I know that I do, you will probably suffer when you learn I am dead. But if I really mean something to you, don’t suffer, I don’t want that. Don’t forget me, but go on living. Live your life. Pain will fade with time, even if that’s hard to imagine right now. Live in peace, my dearest love; live, love, hate, and keep fighting. …
I had a lot of faults, I know, but some good qualities as well, I hope. But you, Eva, you inspired such love in me that I was never able to express it to you. …
Straighten up, square your shoulders, hold your head high. Okay? Take care of yourself, Eva. Go have a cup of coffee. It’s over. Thank you for the beautiful times we had. You made me very happy. Adieu.
I kiss you goodbye, Eva.
From Stieg, with love.