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If you’ve read Cynthia’s or Courtney’s letters you know what these goodbye letters from authors to their characters are heartbreaking. This letter from Lauren Oliver to Lena, the lead character in the Delirium trilogy is sure to bring out the water works, so you might want to grab a box of tissues before reading.

 

Lauren Oliver’s Goodbye Letter to Lena

 

Dear Lena,

When I first met you, you were soft-spoken and quiet; obedient and unquestioning. You took refuge in protocols and in absolutes. You looked to authority to tell you how to think and believe, and you turned away from conflict, discomfort, and anger.

How much has changed. You have survived, endured, and grown in an age of tumult and difficulty. You have learned to embrace challenge and to trust yourself above all others. You are always true to your own feelings, even when they are conflicted, even when they bring pain.

This, to me, is the essence of bravery. Courage comes not from following the shortest route to happiness, but living honestly, in accordance with our values and beliefs, even if that honesty brings complexity and difficulty and, occasionally, terror. That is what the people in Zombieland have never understood: there is no grace in safety, and no truthfulness in it, either. Life is full of ambiguities and paradoxes. It’s possible to love two people at the same time. It’s possible to want two different, contradictory things. Hell—it’s possible to be two different people at the same time: to want safety and freedom, closeness and autonomy.

You, Lena, have learned to live with contradiction. You have stopped trying to escape complexity by adhering to rules; you no longer flee your feelings by denying or minimizing them. That means, to me, you have grown up. And that also means, to me, that you will always be okay.

Take care of yourself, Lena. I know you will.

Love,

Lauren

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