In Sight

Last Message Received

On the final words we send each other.

© ISTOCKPHOTO/ ANIAOSTUDIO


by Lisa Bonos
© THE WASHINGSTON POST

Do you remember the last text, email or voicemail you got from someone who’s no longer in your life? Maybe it’s from an ex, a former friend or a loved one who’s died. You might revisit those words more often than you should, wishing things had ended differently, or that you had more time together—or maybe that final message is a sign of strength, and you’re free of a destructive relationship.

Whatever the sentiment, Emily Trunko, a 15-year-old in Ohio, is collecting the final words from your relationships and posting them anonymously on Last Message Received. She started the Tumblr last month and has received more than 5,500 submissions.

Submissions have come from all over the world—in English, Spanish, German and French, she says. There are books in the works, too: one for Last Message Received and one for Trunko’s other project, Dear My Blank, a Tumblr where she posts letters people write but never send.

Trunko doesn’t have any of her own final messages on the blog. “I don’t really have any interesting ones,” she said in a phone interview. At age 15, she’s yet to have a serious relationship or friendship dissolve, and hasn’t lost a loved one. “Most of my friendships, if they end, it’s very basic,” Trunko says. “There’s just a loss of communication at the end.”

Still, she thought the concept would elicit an interesting variety of emotions—and it does.

You can see hate in the breakup messages. Confusion. And concern.

There are acknowledgements that someone just isn’t feeling it. There are snapshots of love in its nal moments.

The messages can inspire pride in readers, Trunko says, when it’s clear someone is getting out of an abusive relationship. She thinks the site is resonating with people because the messages are so relatable. “A lot of people see that they’re not alone in what they’re going through,” Trunko says.

When asked what she’s learned about relationships from hosting this Tumblr, she says: “I’ve learned not to be a jerk—and to be more careful with the messages you send. You never know what message could be the last you send, so choose your words carefully.”