"Beloved Piet,

"The world is so vast and so threatening. Love is so tender and delicate and creative. I think about you every day. I pray for you every day and I realize how much you mean to me. The death of Frederik has touched me so deeply and moved me so deeply that for days I could only think about you, your love, your pain, your worries, your faithfulness and now about the sorrow and strange joy that embraces you. . . .

"Thanks to you I got to know Frederik. Despite the fact that we saw each other so seldom and despite the fact we seldom corresponded with each other in recent years, I can no longer imagine my life without having to think about you and Frederik. When I think about Frederik, feelings are emerging in me that I have received from him, feelings of understanding, patience, generosity, tenderness, interest and real love. I have often hoped that you would come to visit me in New Haven, and I have often longed to involve you more deeply into my life. Even in a foreign land, you, together with Maria and Louis ter Steeg, remained the nearby and familiar faces that caused me to long to return to my friends.

"I write all this to you because it is true, although I would not have been able to express it until I heard about Frederik's death. I realize now how deeply I love you and him and how deeply grateful I am that it is through you that I got to know him. The 'small' words and gestures I received from Frederik are carved into my heart as one of the many signs that God is indeed love, a sign that has indeed been life-giving for me.

"Love is stronger than death. You know it and I know it. But I pray for you that this knowledge will descend deeper and deeper into your heart and bear fruit there. I feel your sorrow, your moments of deep loneliness. I feel them because I have always felt them. That's why I experience you now as being so close by. I also feel that strange love of God that envelops you, a joy that is hidden in sorrow. Jesus spoke those mysterious words: 'It is best for you that I leave you now . . . so that my Spirit, the consoler, can come.' I will continue to pray for you that Frederik's life, but also his death, might bring you close to God, the consoler."