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A Piece of My Mind
March 24/31, 2015

The Absence of Something

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Medicine, University of Colorado School of Medicine, Denver
JAMA. 2015;313(12):1215-1216. doi:10.1001/jama.2015.0874

Having lost interest in the grand rounds lecture being given, I began to glance around the large hall. Patches of sunshine set certain things alight, one of which was a colleague’s left hand resting on the table in front of him. My gaze fixed on that image because there was something unnatural in its look, not from a deformity of his hand but from the absence of something—the gold wedding ring I had seen him wear for decades. I had been thinking about him as the first anniversary of his wife’s death approached. I wondered how he was doing, when he had removed the ring, and why surviving spouses do.

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