Here, Rachel Carson writes to her friend, neighbor, and potentially romantic partner, Dorothy Freeman. She describes a feeling of imminent death, and so pens this letter as a sort of good-bye. Though Carson was suffering from cancer at the time, she would not die until April of the following year. This letter, found among Carson’s possessions, was delivered to Freeman after Carson’s death.
You are starting on your way to me in the morning, but I have such a strange feeling that I may not be here when you come—so this is just an extra little note of farewell, should that happen. There have been many pains (heart) in the past few days, and I’m weary in every bone. And tonight there is something strange about my vision, which may mean nothing. But of course I thought, what if I can’t write—can’t see to write—tomorrow? So, a word before I turn out the light.
I have wanted so terribly to have you here. I’ve been afraid you wouldn’t come if you know how ill I feel, for you seem to think your being here would make it harder for me, while of course it is just the reverse. And of course I’ve felt this might be the last time I’d see you.
Darling—if the heart does take me off suddenly, just know how much easier it would be for me that way. But I do grieve to leave my dear ones. As for me, however, it is quite all right. Not long ago I sat late in my study and played Beethoven, and achieved a feeling of real peace and even happiness.
Never forget, dear one, how deeply I have loved you all these years.
From Always, Rachel: The Letters of Rachel Carson and Dorothy Freeman, 1952-1964. Carson, Rachel, Dorothy Freeman, and Martha E. Freeman. Boston: Beacon Press, 1994.