“I love you Mom”



I have saved my discussion of this subject for a long time. I am writing about it now, the month of Nolan’s anniversary of passing, (Angelversary is what I call it) because it is a subject that some people think is crazy. Or that a person with grief needs to believe or else they cannot cope.

So if you don’t want to believe in signs, don’t read this.  Move on and credit my discussion of this subject to my living a life with grief.

In my profession the practice of medicine and care of patients is based on science, medical knowledge and experience, so I hesitate to discuss my thoughts on this subject as I have no proof of what I believe. But it is what I have experienced. And many many others have experienced signs too. I met a woman last week at the AFSP walk that I knew through Facebook, and within minutes she was sharing with me the signs her daughter sends to her and her husband.

I remember those parents that trust me with their children do not see me as solely a physician. They understand I am a woman of faith, a mother, a wife, a friend — a human being that like them experiences the joys and hardships of life.

If you believe miracles can happen, if you believe that things happen in our lives that are not easy to explain, then you have to consider that our loved ones who have passed give us signs that they are with us. 

I tried to write about signs in just one blog entry, but it was inadequate. Please understand I don’t ask for a sign and suddenly it appears. Many times in my hard days of grief I would plead to Nolan and my relatives to grace me with a sign that day. I would even give instruction to them- “I need to hear your voice” “Please bring me a cardinal Mom” But it doesn’t work that way. They just happen.

Death only implies the expiration of the physical body. Our spirit exists eternally and is everlasting. Normally when a loved one dies they wish to send signs to let us know that they are still around us and are looking over us. They want us to know they are happy and safe and free from what caused them pain or suffering during their life on earth.

A spirit is energy – and energy can interact in our world in various ways. We have our 5 senses and yes, a sixth sense.  Our loved one connects and sends us signs using all of our senses.


To describe the signs I have experienced I will break them down by the five types.r6ohHixMFXn6eSkKxrG3Zh-320-80.jpg



This post will focus on signs experienced by sense of hearing. Subsequent posts will be describing other signs I have experienced by other senses.

HEARING A SIGN:shutterstock_78186766

A sign that uses our hearing comes in two forms: the auditory sound and the mental sound.

Hearing their voice

I have not heard Nolan’s voice but only once – days after his passing I heard his voice say “OK” which I took to mean “I am ok now Mom, I am at rest.” Spirit does not have a voice box so to hear their true voice is very difficult.

Since then I hear his message by “internal clairaudience” or his response to my invitation to talk. That is considered a mental sound – it is not his voice per say, but it is his message that I can hear in my mind. Most of the time it is in the “twilight hour” around 3-4 am. Sometimes I wake and talk to him and I internally hear a response. The most common?


Other times I have a burning feel or sound in my head that I wake to. I understand that is his invite for me to communicate.  Or I have woken and had a distinct command to do something, such as checking Sam. And most of the time I follow that command.

Did you ever have a voice that you suddenly heard in your head telling you to do something? Like “turn now down this road, or “check on your sister”? Could it be a sign/message to you from someone you love?


Sounds/noises and songs

Another instance was when Scott and I were in bed around 1 am I think 4 days after Nolan passed. My sister Mary was up writing the eulogy for Nolan’s funeral. We were almost asleep when a distinct knock- 3 times – was felt under our bed. We have never had that happen before or since. I credit my parents that have passed to giving that sign. I responded by getting out of bed and checking on Mary. She was having writer’s block just then – almost in tears from fatigue and frustration – and relieved that I was there to help her at that exact time in her work. Coincidence? I think not.

Have you ever turned on your car’s radio or changed the station and you hear a song that immediately reminds you of a loved one that passed? It may not always be a sign – but at times – at the RIGHT times- it is.

You may remember a post I did when I was driving to a friend’s house the first months after Nolan passed. My car’s radio suddenly stopped playing music. That got my attention. I made a turn onto the street where my friend lives and RIGHT then a blue Honda Civic, the exact model/year of Nolan’s car (which he absolutely loved) drove past me the opposite direction…..

Which brings me to a common sign Nolan gives to me…  tell you with my next entry.


It feels like yesterday



I was working on a post about signs from Nolan. It is finally time to talk about my spiritual experiences since he passed. I wanted my writing to be perfect, so you would not think the good doctor was losing her marbles- but that kind of writing takes time. I will share with you I promise… just not right now.

Instead I give you a great video clip a FB fellow angel mom named Carla Kay made for me:

I love the song. We listened to it when we went to Hawaii,  the four of us Nolan’s senior year.

Have your kleenex ready.


See you on the other side of the rainbow Nolan.


Love, Your mom

Let the good times roll….


You haven’t seen any blog posts from me in the past few months.

Why? Am I done grieving?

No – I didn’t forget. That is not possible. But just as we have our moods change, influenced by the seasons or milestones in our lives, so too does a life with loss.

The summer months are good to me. They are not months filled with past memories of the harder times or contain the dates that mark sad or difficult anniversaries.

No – this is the time when I can put my grief in the back of my mind. It is always there but not immediately in my mind’s eye.

And to be honest I needed a break from the intensity of my grief.

I got to spend more time outside – as you see with my collage of outside fun.

I had a long weekend with my sisters, uncles and cousins. Success!! We finally got together as a family celebrating life and spending a fun time together.


Weddings, birthdays, hikes, parades and pooltime.

We had such a short summer but I think I filled it the best I could spending time with people I love.

I miss Nolan every day. But here I am almost three years without him, and I feel my life is having more happy times, times where I really feel joy. I know he wants me to continue to live, to be happy.


At our Compassionate Friends meeting we talk about our “new normal.” We are not the same person we were before our child died. We can’t go back to our old self. This is our new normal. 


I guess I am getting more comfortable with this side of normal. 

I saw God last Thursday

I saw God last Thursday.

I saw Him when I went to work and looked into the eyes of a beautiful newborn.


I saw Him….

  • in the next exam room with a grumpy teenager and a mother struggling to address her concerns of her son’s health
  • in the hallway with my staff helping each other with the tasks of our office in care of our patients
  • in the grocery store where I saw a friend and got a warm hug of support
  • at home- for the quick minute I saw my husband and my son, gave them each a kiss, and left to join my sister at the nursing home

I saw God… In the nurses and aides that cared for my aunt and all the residents at Colonial.

I saw God when he welcomed my aunt Home. 



I see God everyday.

In you.

In me.

Aunt Marge.jpeg

Margaret Ann Stryck

February 26, 1938 – May 2, 2019


I love you Aunt Marge. I will miss you. A lot. 

Too much loss

I learned a new term in the grief vernaculum: cumulative grief.

It can be grief due to multiple losses at once, or repeated losses over a short period. A “short” time is relative too. It can be loss of loved ones or friends, in addition to loss of independence, identity, home or purpose, as the elderly in their late years can experience.


Cumulative grief can be more difficult and complex.

Another difficult type of grief is the loss of a child. Yes – adult child too.


I take an inventory of my last 29 months: I have lost my 19 year old son, two dear aunts, a loving uncle, and now my sisters and I are caring for our ailing aunt after her major stroke. …. 

Can you say GRIEF OVERLOAD???

Our Dreams

As I am ever the researcher I read about what I am experiencing. What to do, what not to do.

What can I do to take care of myself? I know self care is a priority. That is why I say no sometimes.

When I feel I have to wear my mask of “normalcy” too much, I take it off and I let my emotions out. I know I cannot ignore my feelings. And that means sometimes I want to be alone. Because I know my intense grief is not easy to be around and quite frankly it even brings me down sometimes. 

And sometimes I cry to the point of being tired of crying and feeling sad.

Other times I am good to be around others where the little things of life are talked and complained about and I feel I can relate. Lately these times are not as often as I would like, and that is hard, but it won’t be that way forever.

I cannot rush this time. Although it is really really hard to not feel tired from it and I wish I would have this intensely sorrowful time of my life be behind me, I cannot.

I loved all these people that are gone now. My love for them did not go away with their passing. Thus I grieve intensely. As much as I loved them intensely. 



Grief and farts

Today I was looking at other grief support pages and found the best quote I read in a long time. After a really bad day this made me laugh:

“Anne Enright has a great line about bereavement in The Gathering – your grief is comparable to your farts: Basically, you can happily dwell in your own, but, dear god, you want nothing to do with someone else’s.”

                                                                                                              – Orla Ryan


download (2)I guess because I am a mom of boys this talk of farts is funny to me.

Orla also wrote how when you are grieving it is ok to joke about it – you get a free pass.


You have to joke sometimes when you are overwhelmed with grief. Maybe someone else doesn’t get your sense of humor, and it may be as well they can’t, because they are not dealing with the load of stress that grief brings to understand the punchline.

Thank you to my family and friends that share in my grief. That let me talk about Nolan and how I miss him and my parents and other family members.

I am used to bodily functions in my line of work. I have checked poopy diapers, sniffed urine soaked diapers and been peed, pooped and barfed on by my patients.


So hanging out in a room smelling of farts is fine by me if it means I can cry and laugh and hug someone who also has deep grief like mine.


Divine Love

a_little_deer_vintage_valentine_postcard-r60e4e431a10c412a9e659f4aea12810b_b8ubx_307For me Valentine’s Day is not a day for lovers – it is the day I celebrate my love with others.


Before I had kids I regarded the day as one of romance and all the Hallmark stuff. When Nolan and Sam were old enough I would have them make Valentine cards or projects to give to their grandparents and godmothers. I like giving out stickers and candy to my patients at the office. In their younger ages my boys got cute cards with candy wishing them a fun day from mommy and daddy.

In the teenage years the cards get a little serious and I share with them how much I love them and wish them joy and happiness.

It made me smile when we went through Nolan’s belongings and we found he kept a few of those Valentine’s Day cards.

During this hard month of February this is one day I focus on love and I feel happy.  The Beatles say it perfectly- “all you need is love.”

And you have it. Always . All the time.

I focus on the divine love that we all have. It unites us. 51635729_10218579971956082_6610603431943995392_n

So Happy Valentine’s Day from me.

I love you. valentines-day-quotes-paulo-coelho-1547219200

A holiday from grief

Vacation time.

Or as the British say – going on holiday.

When you have grief brain you cherish the days when you don’t cry. You still grieve your loss but it is not fresh on the top of your thoughts.

Grief is like an app that is always running. It drains your battery.

Recently Scott, Sam and I went to London for a week. I have been there many times before and for me it is one of the best places to visit. I have good memories there as my parents took my sisters and me to London a few times.20181229_145848.jpg

We did the things they wanted to do. I loved it. I had multiple days in a row where I did not cry.20190101_000341.jpg

20181231_222858.jpgDon’t get me wrong – I don’t cry every day for hours at a time – thankfully those days are very few. But I do cry almost everyday. Maybe it is just when I am in the shower. Or driving home. Or before I go to bed or wake up to start my day. I cry when I read posts from fellow grieving parents. Maybe a few tears, maybe minutes of crying.

I know I have to feel grief,  but it is exhausting.


Taking a holiday from my grief is good for my missing mama soul.




Letter to the Courts

Tonight Scott shared with me the postcard we received in the mail.

Tomorrow I will mail the following letter:


December 19, 2018

Dear Lake Circuit and Superior Courts,

Thank you so much for your timing during this holiday season in reminding me of my son in your mailing of his official juror notification. I really enjoy receiving mail for my son Nolan who passed away more than two years ago in September 2016.

However it is a curious to me why you would think he could serve as a juror since you  know he is dead. The Lake County sheriff department responded to the 911 call that my son’s body was found. Your county staff of police and coroner’s office came to my house to tell me my son was dead.  His body also stayed in the morgue at the Lake County coroner’s office for over 24 hours.

I picked up his belongings from your Lake County campus. I also had the pleasure of signing for receipt of his death certificate from your coroner’s office.

The holidays are bad enough missing my dead son. I miss him every day. I don’t need incompetent county processes and computer lists to remind me he is gone. Whatever you need to do — cross his name off your list.



Dr. Lisa C. Gold, M.D, FAAP