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Author Elizabeth Dodds,

In this personal essay, Elizabeth Dodds confronts her fear of dying from a brain aneurysm. She traces the fear back to her college days when she had an ASL course with a student named Tracie and her husband, "T." During one class, they were playing spoons, and Tracie won, perhaps by bending the rules. Two days later, Dodds was glad she had won. Because Tracie and "T" missed a group meeting, Dodds called Tracie. No answer. So she tried her husband. He informed her that his wife had died of a brain aneurysm. Dodds was bothered by the lack of emotion in his voice. "How could he tell me about his wife's death so naturally? How did the words come? How did he even know what to say after such a heart-bending blow? Maybe he didn't know. Maybe there were simply no words to speak, just like in sign language. . . . Could it be that there is a silent language all its own reserved for all of us when we are shattered, torn, and broken?"

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