At 11.30am, the weather in Sussex, England, is brisk, the sun shining. The large stones are smooth in her hands. Solid and heavy in her pocket. The bulge from her coat. Though she found herself in this exact position days ago, standing by the river, ready to end her life, she failed. She returned home drenched, shivering from the cold. But today she knows what to do. Today she has the rocks. Leaving her walking stick by the bank, she proceeds slowly, purposefully into the River Ouse. The water is cold and numbing. She moves father and farther into the high tide until she is part of the river. Until the voices in her head are silenced. She no longer hears a chorus of birds singing in Greek or King Edward VII spewing obscenities. There will be no more migraines, insomnia, shaking of hands, loss of words, or feelings of inadequacy. The water enters her mouth and lungs and engulfs her airways. Until she is unable to breath. It took three weeks for her bloated body to be found.
She met her husband, Leonard Woolf, a writer, through the Bloomsbury group, which comprise important twentieth-century authors who lived in or near London. Instantly smitten, Leonard proposed to her three different times. They married in 1912. While her family grew unsympathetic of Virginias mental state, it was Leonard who took care of her for the twenty years of their relationship. Though he didn’t know she had a mental disorder when he married her, he not only accepted the role of caretaker, but excelled at it. Married to Virginia only a year when her third breakdown occurred, he became her memory, recording in journals her every emotion, feeling, and action.
Virginia’s relationship with her husband was more of a deep, intense friendship than the traditional sexual relationship sought by most couples. Sexually abused by a half-brother when she was five or six, and again by another brother as a teenager, she found solace in women and had several lesbian affairs, most notably with poet-novelist Vita Sackville-West. From mid-1940 through New Year, the ramifications from the Second World War started to affect Southern England. Air raids and the mounting threat of the Nazi invasion worsened Virginia’s unstable state. She was concerned that Leonard, a Jew, would be taken away, that they would be separated. They decided that should a German attack happen, they would shut their garage door and commit suicide together with a lethal dose of morphine.
Leonard’s last responsibilities were to identify her body and have her cremated. He buried her cremated remains in their garden.