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[Perspectives] Feeling

A message arrives in clinic, telling us she died suddenly this morning, just a few hours ago. Her husband asked that we were informed. It’s delivered with alacrity, this message, almost an embarrassed breeziness; out of kilter, anyway, with the content. Another time and the same message might be announced more cinematically, perhaps in the expectation of astonishment, some or other big reaction. But now, in a moment between appointments, hands poised at the next set of notes, I see her face, my patient’s, and feel a sudden—what actually is it?—grief? It passes quickly but leaves things unsettled.

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