Yesterday, a book came to my door, and I held it in my hands last night. It was a new book for me to read about Virginia Woolf. It’s called A Moment’s
, The Shorter Diary....Virginia Woolf’s diaries, abridged and edited by Anne Oliver Bell, with an introduction by Quetin Bell. I do have the whole of the fifth and last diary, but can’t bring myself to finish it. It will end her life, when I do. I held A Moment’s Liberty in my hands last night, and cried. Why did I cry? Because a life of 59 years, she took it into a river and ended. Liberty
This note to her husband, Leonard:
"I have a feeling I shall go mad," the note read. "I cannot go on any longer in these terrible times. I hear voices and cannot concentrate on my work. I have fought against it but cannot fight any longer. I owe all my happiness to you but cannot go on and spoil your life."
I’ve read many books about Virginia Woolf. I’ve read many books by Virginia Woolf, but as I held this one, I knew it could be the last. I cried. I became angry at Virginia Woolf for taking her life. I cried as I threw this book across the room. Yes, I was angry that she took herself away from me. But, I can’t stay angry, knowing of her illness, and the intimate details of this woman’s life.
Her illness throughout her life was both a blessing and a curse, yes, a blessing, in that her writing was a reflection of who this woman was, in her mind, her heart, through all circumstances, every day that she breathed, she dealt with this battle of wanting, needing, to know the answers to the question, “why?”. She took nothing for granted, in her need to know these answers, especially as they reflected on the life around her.
I can understand this. I’ve felt, and do feel, this need to know. It’s hard for me to admit that I’ve tried to put my feet in her shoes. I’ve felt what she felt, as she walked those paths she’s talked about in her stories, fiction or non fiction, these paths live on. I felt, for a breath of a moment, the cold water that washed over her, as she stepped into that river that day.
We can’t take anything for granted, especially in what this one and only life holds for us.