During World War II, the two people met by chance in Lausanne, Switzerland. Since their first encounter in their early 20s, the two loved each other deeply until they died together in the early 80s. The woman’s love deepened wisdom in his writing. This is a story of André Gorz, an Austrian Jewish philosopher, and his wife, Doreen Kier.
During their sixty-year marriage, Doreen suffered from terminal illness caused by a contrast agent used for X-rays before a back operation, which developed into arachnoiditis. Gorz left the Parisian social life and moved to the countryside, where his wife could better cope with the disease. They lived there for 23 years, but Doreen’s illness kept exacerbating, demanding death, which was now just a matter of time.
Having realized that his wife’s death was an irresistible fate, Gorz wrote Letter to D, a love letter to his wife. The letter begins as follows: “You’re 82 years old. You’ve shrunk six centimeters, you only weigh 45 kilos yet you’re still beautiful, graceful, and desirable. We’ve lived together now for 58 years, and I love you more than ever.” The letter ends with almost the same words: “Recently, I fell in love with you again and again.”
Gorz imagined him walking along the casket his wife was lying in. “I don’t want to be there for your cremation; I don’t want to be given an urn with your ashes in it.” They did not want each other to live in solitude after one of them first passes away. Their choice was to die together, lying side by side in bed, wishing to spend their lives together if there were such a thing as a second life. Just as French philosopher Alain Badiou said that love is the locking in of chance in anticipation of eternity, Gorz and Doreen died together, locking the chance that led them to each other to eternity.