• Thu, Feb 14 2013

Best Love Letter Of All Time

Richard Feynman

Valentine’s Day. It is still Valentine’s day. I think I’m just into shaming your bouquet of flowers now. That is why I am posting this letter by the Nobel Prize winning physicist Richard Feynman. His wife died of TB in 1945, when she was only 25 years old (basically like Love Story, except real, and everyone in it isn’t horrible). Do you have a hanky ready? No. Go get one. You have one now? Okay. Begin:

October 17, 1946

D’Arline,

I adore you, sweetheart.

I know how much you like to hear that — but I don’t only write it because you like it — I write it because it makes me warm all over inside to write it to you.

It is such a terribly long time since I last wrote to you — almost two years but I know you’ll excuse me because you understand how I am, stubborn and realistic; and I thought there was no sense to writing.

But now I know my darling wife that it is right to do what I have delayed in doing, and that I have done so much in the past. I want to tell you I love you. I want to love you. I always will love you.

I find it hard to understand in my mind what it means to love you after you are dead — but I still want to comfort and take care of you — and I want you to love me and care for me. I want to have problems to discuss with you — I want to do little projects with you. I never thought until just now that we can do that. What should we do. We started to learn to make clothes together — or learn Chinese — or getting a movie projector. Can’t I do something now? No. I am alone without you and you were the “idea-woman” and general instigator of all our wild adventures.

When you were sick you worried because you could not give me something that you wanted to and thought I needed. You needn’t have worried. Just as I told you then there was no real need because I loved you in so many ways so much. And now it is clearly even more true — you can give me nothing now yet I love you so that you stand in my way of loving anyone else — but I want you to stand there. You, dead, are so much better than anyone else alive.

I know you will assure me that I am foolish and that you want me to have full happiness and don’t want to be in my way. I’ll bet you are surprised that I don’t even have a girlfriend (except you, sweetheart) after two years. But you can’t help it, darling, nor can I — I don’t understand it, for I have met many girls and very nice ones and I don’t want to remain alone — but in two or three meetings they all seem ashes. You only are left to me. You are real.

My darling wife, I do adore you.

I love my wife. My wife is dead.

Rich.

PS Please excuse my not mailing this — but I don’t know your new address.

Okay, I’m going to go sob forever now, good talk.

Via Letters of Note

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  • Candace

    OH MY GOD LOVE RICHARD FEYNMAN. Have you seen the video of his Ode to a Flower. Also appropriate for V Day, come to think of it. It makes the world seem so amazing.

    http://vimeo.com/55874553

  • http://helloalle.com/ Alle

    I’m not crying…it’s just raining…really hard…on this particular section of my face.

    • Cate

      I am pretty sure my upstairs neighbor just flooded her apartment and my celing is starting to leak, but only above my face and nowhere else.

  • Fabel

    Oh god, noooo. Why did I read this? Why did I continue reading it even after I began crying?

  • Porkchop

    He really did meet many girls, too.

    http://xkcd.com/182/

  • Scarlett

    Simply amazing. Love is real.