Dear Death This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

August 11, 2010
Dear Death,

Can you understand love? I seriously doubt that you can; because, if you could, you would have looked into my mother’s eyes when she had turned around to smile at me in the car that day. You would have seen what I had seen: the affection glowing in her hazel gaze and the joy that flitted across her lips. That blissful moment before terror.

You witnessed that love shining like a headlight in our midst, yet still you made our car swerve off the road. And you wrenched my mom and dad from life’s embrace. My embrace, even though I thought I was holding on tightly enough. Why did you take them cruelly in your arms, and stalk past my brother and I? We were in the car too! I’d rather be walking hand in hand with them (wherever you took them after that day) than be left in the dust of life.

When I woke up in the hospital the next obscure morning, white-coated figures told me that they were gone. Through my tears, I made a solemn vow. It was a vow to hate you for the rest of my life. Mom and Dad, gone? You don’t understand love.

Your newest enemy,

Dear Death,

It’s been a year since I last wrote you, and I have already broken my vow. You took Grandpa yesterday, but he was different. I loved Grandpa in a way that would bring tears to anybody’s eyes. He used to tell me fantasy stories, swearing that they were real. I’d say, “you’re crazy, Grandpa!” He would look really serious and say, “What? You think I’m crazy?” then smile and wink: “maybe a little bit.” He warmed my heart so much.

Cancer, supposedly, was the murderer. But I recognized your aura in the hospital when he called me in to talk. He told me that everything was okay, giving me a smile that I had come to know as my friend. He told me that everything was all right, that there was nothing to fear from you, that he was just moving on, that I would see him in time. His words consoled me, but I cried as he gave my hand a little squeeze. Then I saw his spirit floating like a veil out of the room. I could have sworn that it winked at me.

I broke my vow, because I forgive you.

With love,

Dear Death,

It has been four years since Grandpa died. My brother has had a really hard life (as have I, for that matter). I had often seen him in his room praying, with tears in his eyes, before he left home to get a job. I guess no one answered his prayers, because I was told this morning that he was found dead after having jumped from his apartment building. This time, I shed no tears. I am beyond that now, even though my big brother is gone.

Before Grandpa called me to his sickbed, I heard him saying to my brother with a smile “teach Rose all that you know after I’m gone.” He has done so, because I’m looking at the noose that I have tied for myself, a foot in front of me. I’m almost ready to walk into your arms, just like my family. Now I have just stepped up onto the chair…

I don’t know how these letters will reach you, but I hope they do.

I want you to see what you have done.

See you soon,

Dear Rose,

I want you to know that I have read and reread your letters; they were very beautiful. Silver tears line my worn face as I watch you swing slowly like a pendulum from the rope. I also want you to know this: I’m so sorry. But your brother, he had jumped; somebody had to catch him. But I know you loved him. Your grandpa, he shook my hand as I helped him from his deathbed; he knew that it was all okay. And I know that you loved him. As for your parents, I did see that look in your mother’s eyes; and I’m so sorry that she and your father had to leave with me. I know that you loved them. But I am the deliverer; some people must be left behind as I take the others with me.

I remember your first words to me. To answer, I do understand love. I have seen so much, how could I not? But I’m glad you wrote to me and that you will be joining the ones that you care about. I look into your tranquil face and think: this is not the end, Rose.

Your friend,

Join the Discussion

This article has 232 comments. Post your own now!

FULLSTOP said...
Mar. 23, 2012 at 5:40 am



Ravenne said...
Mar. 23, 2012 at 3:13 am
I loved the process the character went through!!! However... after the first letter, the emotion was lost. Some of the details that were shared seemed forced, and I disliked the coldness with which the character accepts her brother's death. the last letter was very unnecessary - death should have remained a symbol. The first letter was indeed stunning- or at least the beginning of it. Again, some of the lines do not 'go all the way', therefore sound unreal. 
TanazMasaba This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Mar. 23, 2012 at 1:12 am
This was an extremely good piece of writing...kinda wierd in a sense if you look at it that way, but I can't help but like the way you dared to share something original and unique..two thumbs up! :)
. said...
Mar. 22, 2012 at 10:10 pm
I loved this so much i almost started crying it wasso good please never stop writing because th world would have been ripped off if it didnt have the beauty your writing gives to it
Renegade9891 said...
Mar. 22, 2012 at 9:28 am


I love your work. What an original idea, you can imagine how Rose feels! What an amazing touch to gothic short stories.

Celeste_N. said...
Mar. 21, 2012 at 11:26 am
15cmm said...
Mar. 20, 2012 at 8:25 pm
This is... amazing. I have no other words to describe it. Nothing I can say seems to do it justice. Amazing to say the least.
writer3499 said...
Mar. 20, 2012 at 2:26 pm
WOW!! This is beautiful. The way you worded the whole story was amazing! I felt like you were talking to me in the letters. Even though it was sad it was beautiful! This is my favorite peicethat I have read in TeenInk!!! WOW I love this alot!
Laur594 said...
Mar. 20, 2012 at 9:20 am
This is magnificent. I could feel myself being the person writing the letter. I completely love this. 
TaurusGal This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Mar. 19, 2012 at 9:07 pm
I agree with An-eloquent-leaf.  Rose is Rose.  Not all stories must be optimistic as life is cruel itself.  Actually, I find the idea of writing letters is quite interesting and I don't find it too long. I know there's some stories with letter format only.  It depends.  However, I still understand why Ghrenqi thinks like that.  The stories should carry messages that encourage people to face problems instead of hurting or killing themselves.  Staying strong is &... (more »)
IamtheshyStargirl said...
Mar. 19, 2012 at 4:53 pm

Will it let me comment now? 

I think it will.

Raven, I was, and still am, incredibly happy at the recognition this piece is getting, so I am commenting again to congratulate you, my very dear friend. The fact that this piece is still on the front page of teenink gives me immense joy <3


An-eloquent-leaf This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Mar. 19, 2012 at 4:59 pm
I know, right? Raven definitely deserves this recognition. I mean, ever since the new TI format came about (which has been at least a month, probably more), this piece has been on the front page!
Emily_Greene replied...
Sept. 25, 2012 at 9:43 am
Today Teen Ink even posted an excerpt from this on their Facebook page. I'm really glad Raven is noticed this much.
writers_revenge said...
Mar. 19, 2012 at 4:42 pm
That was beautiful. I wanted to cry when i read it.
star-gazing-dreamer said...
Mar. 18, 2012 at 9:43 pm
This seriously made me want to cry. (i didn't but i wanted to) it was really good. i wasn't really expecting for her to do that. so sad. But i love the way you write
cupcakes_rock said...
Mar. 18, 2012 at 8:46 pm
So amazing! But how does death communicate with tr living and stuff? Was she already dead when he wrote it?
FULLSTOP replied...
Mar. 22, 2012 at 9:31 am
yes she was dead when death wrote his letter because it says he can see her swinging like a pendulum
IsaiF This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Mar. 18, 2012 at 4:39 pm
This was so beautiful, and in a way it added to suspence as you went along with each letter, wondering how the overall story was going to end. It was tragic but it was such a beautiful tragedy. Keep up the good work. 
greycamwrite said...
Mar. 18, 2012 at 1:54 am
This is amazing <3 You have inspired me to write my own in this format. This is one of the best death poems i have ever read, keep writing, i love this piece of work a lot! 
Ghrenqi said...
Mar. 16, 2012 at 2:06 pm
Wow. I can't believe I just read that. What was that? Why would anyone write letters to Death, and then kill themself when they lost their family? And why would Death write back? Death understands love, but he still must take the people we love in order to alleviate their suffering. Try writing something more upbeat. There is just too many articles and other things about death and sorrow. Try being more cheerful. The name of the person who writes to Death just contradicts itself. Rose is such a ... (more »)
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