I used to be in control… 546

controlPlease don’t think I am a control freak. I am not. I just need the well oiled machine of a working mom’s life to flow with as little trouble and minimal breakdown.

Up at 4:30am, back home at 10pm some call days.. many nights end with charting on the few outpatient visits I did not finish during office hours. Add meetings, your son’s school activities, “mom taxi” responsibilities….

Now put some grief into the picture.

Grief clouds your mind. Especially when you push it away for all your hours of work. In the beginning months it was hard to not cry at work. Your doctor should not cry about her personal life. When I am working I need to think about my patients and their care, not my loss. During the years of medical training you are in a culture where you do not show your fatigue, negative emotion or distress.  These are signs of weakness.  Especially as a woman in medicine. A grieving doctor? Do that on your own time. 

Now months after Nolan’s passing I have little difficulty in pushing my personal thoughts aside and attending to my responsibilities. It is my life and I enjoy my practice. I have purpose. I find my healing in helping others.

But when I go home I need to grieve. 


I have so little free time. Who doesn’t?  I plan those precious hours or weekend days with productive to-dos. Grief is waiting for you… Sometimes things go as planned and other times… well the train derails by a photo of Nolan that pops up on my computer. Or a song on the radio. This triggers a grief attack. Ugh. Now I am a crying mess.

I know I need to cry. But when you can’t stop crying it sucks. And I have days of that. Sometimes my brain is a fog from grief. I can’t focus on anything I want or need to do. It is frustrating. I push a reset button with sleep (thankfully I sleep well most nights) and if it is a work day I push the grief away and tell my mind to focus and be in control.  I am slowly learning that grief cannot be scheduled. That I cannot always control it. 


Today marks 18 months since Nolan passed. 546 days.


Nolan left home and lived on campus at Valpo U. Exactly one month later he took his life. I knew I had no control in his decisions as he was not under my roof and my watch.  We had to trust his decision. He said he was ready to try again.  I had faith that he was in God’s hands.

That is where he is now.


I am trying to find my balance of control in my life and my faith in God’s planthe veil of grief clouds my view at times.  So I continue on…




3 thoughts on “I used to be in control… 546

  1. Thanks for taking time to validate the reality of grief, the importance of making time for the reality of grief, and the visual depitction of grief as all over the place. A similar quote that has always been a favorite … the opposite of faith is not doubt, but certainty (Anne Lamott quoting Paul Tillich). Not knowing the way is sometimes a way. Hang in there. We are trying to do the same.


  2. Thinking about you since Michaels doctors visit last week…I can see the pain in your eyes… So sorry for your loss!! Praying God gives you strength. Your in our thoughts and prayers🙏🏻


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