In the Spring of 1781, Jefferson was finishing up his second term as Governor of Virginia, the office to which he had been appointed following his service with the Continental Congress and his justly-celebrated work drafting the Declaration of Independence. It was a very difficult and unhappy time in his life. His infant daughter Lucy Elizabeth died in April; his wife Martha, who had never quite recovered from the pregnancy (her fifth in seven years), was also, slowly, dying Martha Jefferson died the following year (September, 1782).
Which led to this when he was informed of the death of Abigail Adams, Jefferson sent his condolences to her husband — with whom he had just a few years before resumed correspondence after nearly fifteen years (fifteen years that had been filled with rancor and bile on both sides):
The public papers, my dear friend, announce the fatal event of which your letter of Oct. 20 had given me ominous foreboding. Tried myself, in the school of affliction, by the loss of every form of connection which can rive the human heart, I know well, and feel what you have lost, what you have suffered, are suffering, and have yet to endure. The same trials have taught me that, for ills so immeasurable, time and silence are the only medicines. I will not therefore, by useless condolences, open afresh the sluices of your grief nor, although mingling sincerely my tears with yours, will I say a word more, where words are vain, but that it is of some comfort to us both that the term is not very distant at which we are to deposit, in the same cerement, our sorrows and suffering bodies, and to ascend in essence to an ecstatic meeting with the friends we have loved and lost and whom we shall still love and never lose again. God bless you and support you under your heavy affliction.
Third of July I took Rachel to Six Flags. With a few exceptions, no lines reached five minutes in length. A long day, from 8:00 a.m. when we left to 12:00 midnight when we arrived home.
We are well, just haven't felt like typing up the thoughts I've written down.