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BMJ 2007; 335 doi: (Published 09 August 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;335:306
  1. Mary E Black, public health physician, Belgrade, Serbia
  1. drmaryblack{at}

    This June, the 21 year old son of our closest family friends was stabbed to death as he slept.

    The next days were a blur. Friends, neighbours, and relatives gathered around and stayed close to the family. Everyone brought gifts; the fridge was kept full, the house swept, cold water kept ready for the hot, hot days. My husband rigged sails up to shade the veranda and the visitors. Black clothes were bought, chocolate and coffee stacked high. An elderly neighbour dropped her longstanding feud over something trivial and turned to sweeping …

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