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Author Topic: Very ill mother
Redskies
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My mother was emergency hospitalised this evening. This is not all that unusual any more, except this time it doesn't seem all that likely that she's going to survive. She's in a high dependency unit, her lungs literally barely work any more, she has a chest infection, can barely breathe and is incredibly frail.

Close brushes with death have been getting more regular, but generally over once the crisis has been solved. Until recently we were very upbeat about her chances of long-term survival with some quality of life, and even transplant, but she's just got sicker and sicker and there isn't an infinite amount of "worse" that breathing can get.

She isn't even near me at the moment so I have to go stay with her partner to see her. I feel a bit up-ended about needing to drop everything, and not knowing how long I'll be there and what's going to happen.

She had a miserable life for most of it, and when she found some happiness she got really ill soon after. Her partner watched his beloved wife die traumatically of cancer, and now he has to somehow live through this. Things really, really stink sometimes.

I don't even know how I feel. She was an awesome mother in some ways, and dreadful in others. She's given me some qualities that are amazing, and she's given me some significant psychological difficulties to mend. I often find her hard to deal with, but I don't want her to die. I wanted her to have some more good life first.

I'm glad I'm not on my own. A few years ago, I would've been the only person on the planet who properly cared about her. That was too hard.

I'm all jumbled between being positive and preparing for the worst. I feel a bit like I'm writing about a fictional story, and I have a thumping headache.

I know this isn't quite the main purpose of these boards, but my in-person support is pretty small - I'm still figuring out how to do the whole friendship thing. Sorry about that.

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The kyriarchy usually assumes that I am the kind of woman of whom it would approve. I have a peculiar kind of fun showing it just how much I am not.

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Saffron Raymie
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I can't even express how difficult this must be for you. My mother sounds similar to yours in terms of parenting; my best mate one minute, controlling the next - and I am also left with deep scars. I also get the friendship thing - I know it's not the same, but we're here. I'm so sorry I can't give you a proper answer here; as I haven't had someone like that become ill, but I just wanted you to know that I read this, and I feel for you. Very, very much.

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'Obtain the virgin's consent before you marry her' - Prophet Mohammad (pbuh)

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moonlight bouncing off water
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I don't know anything about your mother, but I know how much I love my mother and I know I would never want her to die, no matter what, so I totally know where you're coming from on that. And yeah, I feel for you on the not having figured out the whole friendship thing, I haven't really either, sometimes it's just really freaking hard to make friends. We're all here for you, and I hope your mother pulls through. It's really hard to have someone you love be in the hospital, and I'm glad for your sake and her's that you aren't the only person supporting her, because that can make things like this all the more difficult.

I know that nothing we say can make the pain from this disappear, and nothing we can say can make your mother healthy, but we're here to offer all the emotional support that we can.

Best wishes to you and your mother. (And please remember to take care of yourself through all of this, which you're doing just by coming on here, it can bee too easy to neglect ones self when things go wrong for others).

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~moonlight

I am ME and that is the only label I need.

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Redskies
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Thank you both so much for your replies. It really, really helped to read them yesterday. Your support meant loads.

Yet again, my mother seems extremely determined that she's holding on to life. I'm glad she's not a cat, because I think she'll need more than 9 lives - she's used at least 7 already. She was on maximum oxygen and goodness knows how many other things, and responded really quickly to antibiotics. Today she came out of High Dependency, which is awesome news. Things are never certain, but everything seems very positive and she's loads better than she was. She's talking about the things she wants to do when she gets out of hospital [Smile]

She's never got as far as High Dependency/Intensive Care before. It's always been a major crisis in Emergency, being ushered into a relatives' side room and being told, she's really very ill, we're doing everything we can, she's not really conscious, but just come and hold her hand for one minute before we do the next procedure. I was going to say how much I hate those side rooms, but actually it probably beats having a meltdown in the general waiting area of an Emergency department too small to have them, in front of the rows of people. Yeah, I did that. I think I just dislike Emergency in general. Dear people who are waiting 4 hours to be seen, please realise that you are lucky: it means you aren't dying (in the UK, at least).

It's very tiring to have repeated near-death events for someone you love. I feel a bit like I'm not sure which way is up or down. Each time it really Is that serious, so you have to take it that seriously, but hell, it's exhausting. And you don't know whether to be hopeful or resigned, or even which one you want to be. And then you feel like a horrible person because you realise that you just admitted to yourself that in some ways it would be easier for you if someone you loved did actually die. Ugh. Of course, the long-term situation stii stands: her breathing can't get infinitely worse. It's so unknown what might happen, it's just not possible to have orderly thoughts about it.

One positive is that I've got to spend quite a bit of time with her partner. I liked him as soon as I met him, and always thought a great deal of him, and it's nice to get to know him even more. He's one of those people who are just awesomely good people. It's a privilege. He seems to really like me, too. And I realised, duh, there is someone in my family who is not disfunctional. He and I clearly choose to be each other's family.

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The kyriarchy usually assumes that I am the kind of woman of whom it would approve. I have a peculiar kind of fun showing it just how much I am not.

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Redskies
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It's going to be a long way before she can get out of hospital. She needs more oxygen than any home machine can give. Wait and see.

She had some other complications which became pretty problematic and was in a lot of pain and distress, including from procedures they tried to do to sort it out. Having me around seemed to help a lot, so the staff let me stay hours beyond visiting times. That happens pretty frequently. It partly makes me feel good that I can help, and partly it's tiring and makes me feel responsible in a way I shouldn't be, and probably brings up echoes of my issues of her seeming to crave my attention and affection. At the same time there are some very warm and affectionate exchanges between us, so it's a bit confusing.

It's hard, too, to find some middle ground of finding the right time to leave. I live so far away, I'd be gone a while. It wouldn't make sense to stay for weeks on end, and I have a life to go back to, but it feels odd to just physically walk away completely and go back to my life. Supporting someone in hospital and living actual life don't feel like they exist in the same reality.

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The kyriarchy usually assumes that I am the kind of woman of whom it would approve. I have a peculiar kind of fun showing it just how much I am not.

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moonlight bouncing off water
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quote:
Originally posted by Redskies:

It's hard, too, to find some middle ground of finding the right time to leave. I live so far away, I'd be gone a while. It wouldn't make sense to stay for weeks on end, and I have a life to go back to, but it feels odd to just physically walk away completely and go back to my life. Supporting someone in hospital and living actual life don't feel like they exist in the same reality.

I hear you there. I hate hospitals. I don't have any good memories in them. I don't think that they're is any perfect time for you to go or continue to stay for. No matter what you do it will feel -at least in part- like you're doing something wrong. I guess you need to figure out which feels most right and which is better in the grande scheme of things.

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~moonlight

I am ME and that is the only label I need.

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Redskies
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My mother died today.

She got out of hospital for a few days, but was re-admitted today with breathing difficulties and just wasn't strong enough any more. Her partner was with her, and I'm told she was peaceful.


It's going to be a horrible complex mess, because she didn't have a will and was still legally married to my father. She didn't want him to have anything to do with her affairs, and he's horribly prone to messing up official things and paperwork anyway. It was supposed to be my job, but now somehow I've got to work round and through him.

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The kyriarchy usually assumes that I am the kind of woman of whom it would approve. I have a peculiar kind of fun showing it just how much I am not.

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Heather
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Oh, Redskies, I am so very sorry. My deepest sympathies to you.

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Robin Lee
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Sending sympathies and gentle thoughts.

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Robin

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eryn_smiles
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Sorry to hear that Redskies. Condolences to you and your family, take care of yourself xx

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"Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation and that is an act of political warfare."

Audre Lorde

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moonlight bouncing off water
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My deepest and most sincere condolences Redskies, to you and your family.

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~moonlight

I am ME and that is the only label I need.

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Saffron Raymie
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I'm so sorry, Redskies. I'm here if you'd like someone to listen.

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'Obtain the virgin's consent before you marry her' - Prophet Mohammad (pbuh)

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bump on a log
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I'm very, very sorry to hear about all of this, Redskies.
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Redskies
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Thank you all, every one of you, so much for the wishes. It means a lot and you help very much.

This probably sounds odd, and I'm sorry. I've called my mother's friends and everyone who should know on her own account. But I really don't know how to tell My friends. Most of them, we don't talk all that often, and I have no idea how to call or write a message just to tell them that my mother died. But I realise that most people would be very upset to find out later that their friend had been bereaved and hadn't told them, so I realise I should tell them. I just feel very awkward, I'm no very good with the whole "the other person doesn't know quite what to say but wishes they did..." thing. I don't know how to do this.

Also. I needed to ask my dad for a piece of his personal information in order to report her death to the authorities, and he flipped. He started ranting about "who am I??? Who am I in this???? Why are You doing this, why not ME??!! I AM A PERSON!!!" I tried to stop him by saying quietly how it was a terribly hard situation for everybody, but he just shouted, and I shouted, "Do not shout at me. Do not shout at me."

It's as if he thinks he Should have a role here because he is legally the spouse. Ahem. The reason I'm doing these things is because this is the way my mother wanted it, because she always named me next of kin, because she explicitly said multiple times to many people that she did not want "that man" anywhere near her personal affairs. They may have shared a life for thirty years, but they've been separated for four, and she really wanted a divorce, but hadn't been well enough to make it happen. He didn't even want to be married to her any more.

I'm really, really scared that the only person with any power over my mother's affairs is my father. If he's going to act like that, that situation is absolutely unacceptable. I can't and don't trust him to simply do as I request. I absolutely have to get legal advice, and I think I might have to challenge this situation legally, which he will never accept. I also don't have any money, so have to hope I can find some charitable legal help.

It was particularly appalling to me when my mother's partner - I'll call him Alf, because he's so much more to me than the connection through my mother - when Alf had told me that he'd had to sign the forms to register her death as a "friend". Now That's erasure of someone's meaning. Who the Hell does my father think he is. It's all about him. Whenever Alf and I talk, it's super-respectful of the other person's perspective and slowly we can make everything fall into place. My father makes things difficult, distressing and night-marish. I'm really scared that I will be blocked from carrying out my mother's strong wishes by a person she, in his role of husband, despised.

[ 02-03-2012, 05:54 PM: Message edited by: Redskies ]

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The kyriarchy usually assumes that I am the kind of woman of whom it would approve. I have a peculiar kind of fun showing it just how much I am not.

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moonlight bouncing off water
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Well I have no advice about the legal stuff, since I really have no knowledge of that, other than you're right, it really sounds like getting legal help with this is the best thing that you can do. And that's really difficult to have to do when by all rights you should be able to simply grieve.

With regards to telling your friends, do you have any one particular person that you might feel comfortable talking to? By all means if you don't feel that it is the right time for you to be telling anyone, don't. But if you have one friend that you think you would like to talk to, they could help you to talk to you other friends, or you could have them tell them, should you so wish. But if you don't want to tell them right now, and when they do find out they will simply have to accept that you did what felt the best to you at the time that you did it.

Alf sounds like a wonderful individual and I'm glad that you have someone else to talk to about your mother right now.

And once again my deepest condolences.

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~moonlight

I am ME and that is the only label I need.

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Redskies
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So, my father has behaved more reasonably, but still seems fixed on being legal executer, or whatever, so that "everything he tried for 30 years isn't nothing. I felt like nothing, she had to have control."

I sort of understand what he means. But. My mother felt that He was very controlling, and expressly did not want him to have any role. I just want what she wanted. This isn't about him. For what's right, I have to challenge him legally as far as I can. This absolutely sucks, as if my mother's death isn't distressing enough just itself.

I experienced both of my parents as controlling, but it feels like my father is being controlling about this. His attitude feels wrong to me. I believe that my following my mother's wishes is not part of enabling Her to be controlling over him from beyond the grave, as it were. She would be appalled at him wanting to have control over her affairs, and his insistence about it makes me feel that he is indeed trying to be controlling in a way that I should resist.

The dynamics in my childhood household and family were terribly complicated and full of hurt, controlling behaviour, passive-agressiveness and manipulation. It's very hard to get a good opinion about whether I'm doing the right thing because almost no-one understands enough about those kinds of dynamics. Please could someone who Does know something about those kinds of dynamics help me? I'm scared, and doubting myself (which I don't usually do), and this is really, really serious.

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The kyriarchy usually assumes that I am the kind of woman of whom it would approve. I have a peculiar kind of fun showing it just how much I am not.

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eryn_smiles
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Unfortunately I know nothing at all about this, Redskies, but wanted to send you lots of supportive thoughts right now in dealing with your mother's passing and father's difficult behaviour. Hope you were able to talk with some of your friends as you felt able to. Are you able to talk with someone like a relationships therapist around these family dynamics issues? Take care of yourself xx

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"Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation and that is an act of political warfare."

Audre Lorde

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Redskies
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I'm exhausted. Much to do, people to contact. At least my father is seeming more reasonable. Though I got in last night and he greeted me with "I've got some very bad news..." and I thought, as one would, "who else has died?", and he just meant financial worries. Uncool. Tonight he wanted to talk about His memories of her and His feelings. I think, hey, this is not what those folk meant when they told you to support me. And, oh, the reason that this story was not a funny story to my mother, like it is to you, was because she spent hours cleaning up, while you did your activities. She was unhappy because you are selfish, please come join the rest of us in our reality, the one you live in is populated only by you. That is why you are lonely.

I hope it's ok to post this here. There's almost no-one I can talk to openly about this who doesn't have their own stake in it.

I have no legal recourse at all. All I can do is try to play things so he's inclined to do the right thing. I can do that if I have to, but I wish I didn't have to, and I'm tired.

I'd really appreciate some thoughts and input on the dynamics issue in my post just above.

Edit: Eryn, thank you for your thoughts. I did manage to talk to my friends, it happened when I asked for confidential recommendations for solicitors, and of course they were concerned about what might have happened, and the first one to ring me offered to tell the others. I think I just wasn't ready to deal with telling them before then.

[ 02-08-2012, 06:55 PM: Message edited by: Redskies ]

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The kyriarchy usually assumes that I am the kind of woman of whom it would approve. I have a peculiar kind of fun showing it just how much I am not.

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Redskies
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And to the other thing Eryn said, I wouldn't know where to find a good enough relationship therapist, and I don't feel like I have any mental energy or time spare for that. Also, I've found even trained people have been completely baffled by the dynamics in the past. I guess I'm asking for help here as somewhere I know and trust.

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The kyriarchy usually assumes that I am the kind of woman of whom it would approve. I have a peculiar kind of fun showing it just how much I am not.

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Redskies
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I'm still really tired. I've not been sleeping well, so I'm sure that doesn't help. There's just been a stupid amount of stuff to do. A house to pay the bills on, so many companies to switch, and they're all so Awkward, it takes ages to reach them on the phone and then it's another queue for the right department, then they send a load of letters, half of which don't even apply. And companies where she had her finances all want letters sending to them, with death certificates. Medical equipment to arrange to be picked up. A stairlift to wonder what to do with. Clothes to pack up and give to charity - I really can't face that yet, I think it's because that's so blunt that she's not coming back, I can't cope with that. All the ornaments and decorations she acquired to wonder what to do with. Loads of useful stuff like sewing machine, pans, etc, that would be great to have but I don't have a settled living situation yet to put them in. Forms being sent from the benefits people, from the tax office. Big furniture that I have no idea what to do with.

A father who throws a massive strop about money, about having to pay tax on the unoccupied furnished house, ... on the same day he got a letter telling him he'll be getting a very reasonable chunk of bereavement benefit. You know, to pay bills etc while figuring out what the hell to do about everything. Who carries on throwing a massive strop about "where was he supposed to get the money from" After I said I'd pay an extra month or two for the sake of my mental health because I just couldn't deal with clearing out, say, tomorrow. Not that nothing's been done, far from it, I've cleared loads of junk already.

A father who threw in the ubiquitous "but My thoughts and feelings never matter!!!", which I find cheek of all cheek, when I haven't talked about my feelings to him because he turns it into him talking about His feelings about the family and their relationship. Hello, child of the relationship here, inappropriate. Plus I just lost my mother, if you need to talk, call one of your friends. A father who had the cheek to tell me it was alright for me, I'd be fine, I'd be walking away with a decent sum of money from her. WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU????! I'll have some money but no mum, you think that's alright???! And you'll have money too, half the house is (ethically, legally it's 100%) yours, are you forgetting that, why are you obsessed about money, specifically about every penny that isn't yours???!

On another note. I did the eulogy at my mum's funeral. I was sure about it, because otherwise it would've been from someone who'd never met her, and she was a very - singular - person, and it would've been all wrong. I'm glad I did it. It went really well. I wrote it absolutely last-minute, because I just ran out of time, and I hadn't even finished it, so I ad-libbed the last bit. People told me that it was really good, that it was very moving, and ...my step-brother??... huh, Alf's son - told me that it was very enjoyable. That sounds odd, but that's what I was going for. I wanted it to represent her, to be very personal to her, and to give people windows onto things they hadn't known about her. I also collected and read short tributes from people who knew her well, and her best friend spoke. It really struck me that everybody said the same basic things about her. I guess that speaks to how genuine a person was, when everyone knew the same person.

One of her friends even gave me a section of the poem made famous in "Four Weddings and a Funeral" ("I am the wind" etc, and "I did not die"), and when I saw that, I thought, how in seven hells am I going to read that without howling. People had asked me if me doing the eulogy was such a good idea, and I just thought, you don't know me, then. The only thing I Can't do is sit and listen to something that doesn't really reflect her. There were bits of my eulogy that were even kind of a mother-daughter conversation (I did say at the beginning that it wasn't going to be conventional, and I didn't care, and that my mum wouldn't've cared either). I knew I could do it, partly because I was determined enough, and partly because I have performance training. The performance training took over, really - it didn't matter if I cried, just that every word was clear.

I'm so glad I did it. It was special to me. And having her service the way it should have been for her was about the only thing still left for our relationship, the only thing left for her in this world, and the only thing I could still do.

I find getting her money really distressing, because I would've wanted her to have it and use it for her own life, to be happy. I know that things being as they are, she would want me to have it and use it for my own happiness, but I still find it really, really distressing. Added to the fact that I have to tell everywhere to pay it to my dad's name, and then have him pay it to me (ethically mine, legally his).

Sorry for the long ramble. I'm just finding things hard, and really hard that there isn't anyone physically around, everyone's by phone or internet.

I miss my mum. I would probably call her or go to her for a hug about something like this, only this one's about her. I don't know what to do, I miss my mum.

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The kyriarchy usually assumes that I am the kind of woman of whom it would approve. I have a peculiar kind of fun showing it just how much I am not.

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Jill2000Plus
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You have my deepest sympathy, Redskies, I have issues in my relationship with my mum (so does my sister), but it will be devastating for me when she dies, it must be really hard for you with your father making everything all about him. I hope you get some time to take care of yourself and do something that's enjoyable or at least not miserable or which helps you process this, whatever you need (wish I could magically sort out all the stuff you need to do so you weren't so busy with all of this, as it is I hope what I'm saying is comforting).

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Always knock before entering my room when I am in there alone, as I may be doing all sorts of wonderfully thrilling things that I'd rather you didn't see.

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