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Standing on Sacred Ground

“Oh no,” I whispered, staring into the eyes of a favorite patient’s photo. Just five days earlier I’d spoken by phone to her husband. Then the photo smiling back at me from her medical chart had been in full color. Now it was in shades of gray, indicating I had opened the chart of someone who had died.   I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised. She had multiple medical problems, and her health had declined over the preceding months, but it saddened me still. I would miss seeing her in my clinic. This patient brightened my days, and I was always touched by the tender way her husband cared for her; it appeared that theirs was a love that had matured over decades.  I read the last few chart entries, trying to piece together her last few days and discovered several family members were with her when she died. And while I was glad she was not alone in the final moments of her life, thinking of the grief her husband, children, and grandchildren must now be experiencing saddened me even more,

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