literature · Love · Love letters · Nicholas Sparks

“Message in a Bottle” by Nicholas Sparks (5th letter)

My Darling,

One year has passed since I sat with your father in the kitchen. It is late at night and though the words are coming hard to me, I can’t escape the feeling that it’s time that I finally answer your question.

Of course I forgive you. I forgive you now, and I forgave you the moment I read your letter. In my heart, I had no other choice. Leaving you once was hard enough; to have done it a second time would have been impossible. I loved you too much to have let you go again. Though I’m still grieving over what might have been, I find myself thankful that you came into my life for even a short period of time. In the beginning, I’d assumed that we were somehow brought together to help you through your time of grief. Yet now, one year later, I’ve come to believe that it was the other way around.

Ironically, I am in the same position you were, the first time we met. As I write, I am struggling with the ghost of someone I loved and lost. I now understand more fully the difficulties you were going through, and I realize how painful it must have been for you to move on. Sometimes my grief is overwhelming, and even though I understand that we will never see each other again, there is a part of me that wants to hold on to you forever. It would be easy for me to do that because loving someone else might diminish my memories of you. Yet, this is the paradox: Even though I miss you greatly, it’s because of you that I don’t dread the future. Because you were able to fall in love with me, you have given me hope, my darling. You taught me that it’s possible to move forward in life, no matter how terrible your grief. And in your own way, you’ve made me believe that true love cannot be denied.

Right now, I don’t think I’m ready, but this is my choice. Do not blame yourself. Because of you, I am hopeful that there will come a day when my sadness is replaced by something beautiful. Because of you, I have the strength to go on.

I don’t know if spirits do indeed roam the world, but even if they do, I will sense your presence everywhere. When I listen to the ocean, it will be your whispers; when I see a dazzling sunset, it will be your image in the sky. You are not gone forever, no matter who comes into my life. you are standing with God, alongside my soul, helping to guide me toward a future that I cannot predict.

This is not a good-bye, my darling, this is a thank-you. Thank you for coming into my life and giving me joy, thank you for loving me and receiving my love in return. Thank you for the memories I will cherish forever. But most of all, thank you for showing me that there will come a time when I can eventually let you go.

I love you,

T

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