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from The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Dideon
I see a doctor, a routine follow-up. He asks how I am. This should not be, in a doctor's office, an unforeseeable question. Yet I find myself in sudden tears. This doctor is a friend. John and I went to his wedding. He married the daughter of friends who lived across the street from us in Brentwood Park. The ceremony took place under their jacaranda tree. In the first days after John died this doctor had come by the house. When Quintana was at Beth Israel North he had gone up with me on a Sunday afternoon and talked to the doctors on the unit. When Quintana was at Columbia-Presbyterian, his own hospital although she was not his patient, he had stopped in to see her every evening. When Quintana was at UCLA and he happened to be in California he had taken an afternoon to come by the neuroscience unit and talk to the doctors there. He had talked to them and then he had talked to the neuro people at Columbia and then he had explained it all to me. He had been kind, helpful, encouraging, a true friend. In return I was crying in his office because he asked how I was. (Didion, 2006, p. 170)