Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoyevsky: "DON'T FORBID ME..."
There is a simply marvelous story about the last days in the life of the
famous Russian writer Fyodor Dostoyevsky by his faithful and loving wife
Anna Grigorievna. On the night of January 25th 1881, Dostoyevsky
experienced pulmonary bleeding. Around 5 p.m. that day the bleeding started
over again. Anna Grigorievna anxiously sent for the doctor. When the doctor
began to listen to and tap the sick man's chest, the bleeding began again
and this time so strongly that Dostoyevsky lost consciousness.
"When they brought him to again", - writes Anna Grigorievna in her
"Memoirs" - "his first words to me were: 'Anya, I beg you, invite a priest
here immediately, I want to make a confession and receive Holy
"Although the doctor at first believed that there was no particular threat
to his life, in order to calm the sick man, I complied with his wish. We
lived near the Vladimir church and within a half hour its priest, Fr.
Megorsky, was already at our house. Fyodor Mikhailovich greeted the priest
calmly and good-naturedly, had a long confession and then received Holy
Communion. When the priest left, the children and I went into the room to
congratulate Fyodor Mikhailovich on receiving Holy Communion. He then
blessed both me and the children, and asked them to live in peace, to love
each other, and to love and care for me. Having sent the children out of
the room, Fyodor Mikhailovich thanked me for the happiness I gave him and
asked me to forgive him if he offended me in any way... The doctor entered
the room and laid him down on the couch, forbade him to make even the
slightest movement or to talk, and at the same time asked that we send for
two other doctors, A.A. Pfeiffer and Prof. D.I. Koshchlakov - whom my
husband had sometimes consulted... The night passed peacefully.
I awoke at about 7 the next morning and saw that my husband was looking in
my direction. "So how do you feel, my dear?" - I asked, leaning over him.
"You know, Anya" - whispered Fyodor Mikahilovich - "for the past three
hours I've been lying here thinking, and only now am I clearly aware that
today I will die..."
"My dear, why do you think that," I said, terribly disturbed, - "since you
already feel better and there's no longer any bleeding... For God's sake,
don't torture yourself with doubts, I assure you: you're going to continue
"No, I know that I must die today. Light a candle, Anya, and hand me the
He opened the Gospel himself to Matthew 3:14-15 and asked that it be read
to him: "But John forbade him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee,
and comest thou to me? And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be
so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness..."
"Do you hear that - Suffer it to be so... don't forbid me, - this means I
will die" - said my husband, and he closed the Bible..."
At about 7:00 p.m. the bleeding began again and at 8:30 p.m. Dostoyevsky
passed away (28 January 1881).
From "Studies in the history of 19th century Russian literature" by I.M.
Andreyev, Jordanville, New York, 1968, pp. 207-208 (in Rusian)