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Friday, April 01, 2005

In the presence of death

In my daily work death is a constant presence. Not something I have to confront directly - thankfully - but that is nevertheless always near. It is hard to describe the shock you get when, when you have just typed a dictation on a patient to check the record on the computer, and see an unexpected 'Deceased' marker flash up at you. It jolts and jars, there is a sense of the world just not being right. You never get used to it, and I certainly never want to.

But there is something special, a reminder that life is more than just a series of platitudes. It is certainly the most rewarding and most vital place I have ever worked.

Just like, at moments like this, in the presence of death, one fully appreciates the how wonderful life is, how precious is each day. It may be one of John Paul's final gifts, to remind us of the blessing of our own mortality.

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