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On Being a Doctor |

On Losing One's Parents

Ken Flegel
[+] Article, Author, and Disclosure Information

Royal Victoria Hospital, Montreal, Quebec H3A 1A1. Requests for Reprints: Ken Flegel, MD, Royal Victoria Hospital, Room A4.21, 687 Pine Avenue West, Montreal, Quebec H3A 1A1.

Copyright 2004 by the American College of Physicians

Ann Intern Med. 1993;119(4):336. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-119-4-199308150-00014
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My parents are both dead. The fact is neither remarkable nor unique. However, they died within 45 days of one another last winteruncommon enough to bring me and my family up hard against reality. On the northern tip of Vancouver Island I woke in the dark the morning after the second funeral, my body on Eastern time, my spirit numb. I made my way back to the village cemetery to say my own private farewell. Douglas firs were silhouetted against the first light of dawn. Colorful funeral flowers had frozen into whited everlastings. I wept into the hoar frost on the new sod and wondered what had become of these lives that had created me. I could not have guessed at the many ways that an answer was to come during the next year.





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