I am not a religious person by nature. I am not drawn to a need for a dogma or mantra to guide my days or light my nights. But in the face of Death, I find myself hoping that the message of this letter is true; that those whom we love are not lost to us, that a joyous meeting will be had again at a future date not yet determined.
The public papers, my dear friend, announce the fatal event of which your letter of October the 20th had given me ominous foreboding. Tried myself in the school of affliction, by the loss of every form of connection which can rive the human heart, I know well, and feel what you have lost, what you have suffered, are suffering, and have yet to endure. The same trials have taught me that for ills so immeasurable, time and silence are the only medicine. I will not, therefore, by useless condolences, open afresh the sluices of your grief, nor, although mingling sincerely my tears with yours, will I say a word more where words are vain, but that it is of some comfort to us both, that the term is not very distant, at which we are to deposit in the same cerement, our sorrows and suffering bodies, and to ascend in essence to an ecstatic meeting with the friends we have loved and lost, and whom we shall still love and never lose again. God bless you and support you under your heavy affliction.
~Thomas Jefferson to John Adams, upon the death of Abigail Adams
Monticello, November 13, 1818