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The Gift
  1. Samuel Ridout
  1. Correspondence to Dr Samuel Ridout, Alpert Medical School, Psychiatry and Human Behavior, Brown University, Butler Hospital, 345 Blackstone Boulevard, Providence, RI 02906, USA; samuel_ridout{at}

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I want to give you a gift.

The side of her you could never see.

The sober moments when her addictions were briefly quieted.

She loved you, sobbed with shame and grief,

In the brief clarity of the hospital pulling herself together.

You’ll never know this.

Never see the side of her that ached for a normal life with you.


You know the cloud, the avalanche.

Gathering speed.

Fueled by the weight of your life as a ward of the state.

Gathering speed.

The inevitable end you would hear from a social worker.

But this gift, you deserve it.

To know there was a cement of love among the cracks.


  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.