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On the Internet, the word “heartbreaking” is often used as a device to get us to click and gawk at remarkable tales of loss — the bride left at the altar, the long-lost family pet. On The Last Message Received Tumblr, the heartbreak doesn’t really need a headline to sell itself.
The sorrow appears in a scrolling cascade of text bubbles that contain both small slights, such as being ghosted inexplicably, and huge loss, like losing a parent. It’s hard to look away because the blog is full of stark endings, the kind of sadness that won’t happen to you until happens to you.
The Last Message Received is actually the successor to an even more popular project the teenager created this year: On Dear My Blank, more than 17,000 people have asked her to post anonymous letters that they will never send. Just like on The Last Message Received, notes on Dear My Blank are mostly about loss.
The letters are to crushes, parents and ex-lovers, and Emily receives up to 100 of them a day.