Views & Reviews Between the Lines

Postponing grief

BMJ 2011; 343 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.d5185 (Published 17 August 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;343:d5185

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  1. Theodore Dalrymple, writer and retired doctor

It often seemed to me during my clinical career that some people were called upon (by what, or by whom?) to bear more suffering and loss than was their fair share, or more than could be explained by anything that they, or indeed anyone else, had done. Tragedy followed them around like an obedient dog; mostly they bore it unprotestingly. They made me feel guilty because I was in the habit of complaining so vociferously about the minor inconveniences of life.

The American writer Peter De Vries (1910–1993) was in general known for his comic novels and for his wit—he once said that he enjoyed being a writer, except for the paperwork. But one …

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