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There were so many people who'd arrived, and were now talking to her, some putting a hand on her arm or shoulder, all mouthing the same words, or almost the same ones: ... so sorry about your husband/grand dad/uncle/grand uncle/father/our relation of once/twice/that many times removed . These were her children, grandchildren, relatives, friends of hers and of her dead husband, most of them somber and subdued, except for a few, mostly women, who made some keening noises, drawing attention to them (and her), which she didn't try to curb.While she nodded, without speaking or seeming to respond to their commiserations, they imagined she must be oh so grief stricken to be almost rendered speechless. But really, she was wondering about how her hair was looking to them, and about her clothes, all starched and in only black, even the shoes and the cowl, now that every mirror in the house in which she shared with her husband of fifty years had to covered up in white paper, following some funeral tradition.

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