We love you Busia


If you are fortunate you will have specific people make a big impact in your life.


I first met her when seeing both of her great grandchildren at my office many years ago. She was always with a smile, which is not surprising since her granddaughter Kristi always wears one.  Yes I would see Kalli and Kaya and do my doctor work, but during a visit where Busia came it was natural to strike up a conversation and after a few visits I got to know her.

She came to live with Kristi soon after Kristi’s mother passed away unexpectedly, more than 14 years ago.  She was a stubborn woman. (I did say she is a Busia, right?) But Kristi convinced her to stay with them to help her raise her active kids. And it did not take long for her to be my Busia. For those of you that don’t know, Busia is grandma in Polish. And this Busia was a classic – a Polish grandma to the tea. We would talk a bit about Polish traditions. And true as a Busia would do – she brought me food. Yummy pierogi. She didn’t make them but she knew where to get the best.

Then years go by- rather fast I note since I am getting older.

Busia was getting older.

She celebrated her 90th birthday, although it was more of a celebration of being 39 again. She had the spunk and energy of a much younger woman. When Nolan passed she was there to pay her respects, and she even came to celebrate his one year Angelversary.

That was when she told me she missed her daughter, Shiela, her best friend, so so much. She was looking forward to the day she would join her.


I was a member of TEAM BUSIA when she had back surgery in 2018. Once again she showed her strength and great spirit. She also dealt with breast cancer. But she had a choice- and Busia knew her time here was coming to an end. She was ready. She knew she could not name her time.

I did not see Busia this past year  but I connected with Kristi enough to know that she was declining. Kristi shared that hospice was coming to the house to care for her this last week. Busia had shingles (again) and her body was tired. It could have been another week but ultimately she was called Home just a few days ago. The Divine allowed me to say goodbye to her. I told her how much I loved her and that I was so blessed that I knew her and her family. I told her to give my Nolan a hug.

I thought I knew a lot about Busia. Kristi and her whole family gathered around Busia and shared with me more detail about her.

Busia did not have an easy life. Her mother died when she was only five. She had many siblings and the were all placed in multiple orphanages for a year when she was eight. A loving neighbor reunited Busia and her siblings and raised them. She was married for a good number of years but did not have the best husband. She had her daughter, her best friend, die suddenly. She was 96 years old, she had cancer, and had pain.

When you think about all the difficulty Busia had in her life, you may think “How did she go on? How was she able to be happy and still smile?” I can’t speak for Busia, and I certainly would not say my life has been as hard as hers.

But I think she would agree with this

You can take your hurt, sorrow, pain and grief and focus on your loss and misfortune and be bitter


You can wake up every morning and be thankful for your life and share your love and care for others. 

Another word – you have HOPE

Busia was a great woman. She was Busia to many. If you are lucky you will have people in your life that forever touch your heart.


Goodbye Busia. Yes you were home with your loving family for many years93616360_3660256707382598_5492902978446688256_n and now you are at home with your eternal family in Paradise.

I am so thankful for you Busia.50211305._SX0_SY0_

p.s. don’t think the story ends here… remember, good people raise very good daughters, sons, grandchildren 🙂

I am talking about you Kristi!!


No superhero can save us

We love superhero movies.


The world has a villian, a bad guy running around, and we call out to our only hope- Avengers- Superman- Batman- you fill in the blank.

In our real life, our real day crisis, we have no superhero

We must save ourselves.

Some of us run toward the bad guy. You know those people. 91298979_10213067458480476_116988054375235584_o

Some of us work knowing the risk of being out in public.




But the best way to save humanity -to save your family, church family, friend, neighbor, a stranger- is to stay inside. This group of people is the biggest force in our fight. This group will save the most people. 

You may feel like your staying home is a lack of action. You are bored. Your kids are driving you crazy. You have a new appreciation for your kid’s teachers. But remember your favorite superhero.  YOU can be that superhero.



Sadly we are going to see disturbing images. Mass casualties.
APTOPIX Virus Outbreak Italy

You will know people who are sick and do recover. Maybe you will know someone who loses the battle. Maybe a loved one.

But when you feel anxious- yes I know you have those moments… 

I have. I have woke with panic in my heart. Eyes wet with crying thinking about the whys, the unknown, the fear of losing my husband, my son, sisters, friends —- 

When you think about a person dying from COVID19, you worry that they are dying alone. But they are not alone. They have God with them at those last moments. God and all their loved ones waiting for them to join in everlasting love and peace.


This COVID19 crisis is not God punishing us. We are of earth and this is what happens. Meteors hit our planet. Volcanoes erupt. Earthquakes crush communities. Cancer strikes the best people we know.

Viruses cause illness.

Be the superhero. Help each other.

We will survive.wp-15857466554648746582187666495792.jpg

In love and peace….

– a grieving doctor mom

The broken heart

February is American Heart Month.Heart+and+lungs+illustration_mid.jpg

Did you know the leading cause of death for a woman of any race in the US age 45-84 is heart disease?

I am focusing on heart health this month. You might remember I don’t like the month of February. (see my blog of last year) Instead of dwelling on the difficult memories of February’s of the past I have been mindful of staying active and keeping healthy. Not an easy thing to do with kids coughing and sneezing on you at work!

Exercise has been my go to for the month. It keeps me motivated and helps me fight off the winter blues. And it gets my heart pumping. I got a Myzone heart monitor and it has been great. Now I can track my heart rate during workout activities. It motivates me to exercise strong and not quit early.  But I do notice something on those days where I have a wave of grief…my broken heart does not work as well.

Yes –  I do have a heart that is forever broken. I will never be the same.


People with significant loss say they are forever changed. So true. My broken heart won’t ever be the way it was, and for this reason I need to take good care of it.

Thankfully I do not have acute broken heart syndrome. That is a temporary condition that is brought on by stressful situations and extreme emotions. It is also known as stress cardiomyopathy.  So yes – you can have life threatening heart disease due to a broken heart.

Chronic and complicated grief is stress, and stress is not good on your heart. I don’t feel my broken heart all the time but I do know that my emotions from grief can be negative on my health.

I am more tired than I used to be. I can work my long hours but I need my rest at night. When I am feeling a big grief wave I cannot take deep breaths when I work out and thus cannot reach my max workout goal heart rate. I don’t push myself on those days. I acknowledge my limitation with the understanding that I need to listen to my body. At least I am moving and trying to feel better. But it makes me aware of how my grief brain is hard on my body.





PSA from a practical pediatrician

Sorry – this post has nothing to do with grief. I wear my doctor hat and put my mom hat aside with this topic.28debatableillo-jumbo

Parents have asked me if they need to worry about coronavirus.

Let’s review what is going on:  A new coronavirus (2019-nCoV) started to cause infection in China, in the Hubei province. It is thought to have started in a food market and it was initially in an animal and infected a human. Since the infection was discovered, the Chinese government and now the WHO (World Health Organization) and CDC and other countries are actively working together to control the spread. The virus’ genomic sequence is known already and all countries and agencies are working together to test for the virus and share information on spread, control and care of patients with infection.

As of 2030 hours Jan 29, 170 deaths have been reported due to the virus. There are 71 cases in 15 other countries. Only 1% of cases have occurred outside of China and no deaths have occurred outside of China. The majority of cases are minor respiratory symptoms. 20% of cases are severe such as pneumonia, ARDS, and renal failure. 2% result in death.

It is an active outbreak and scientists are learning about this virus day by day, hour by hour. This is a fluid situation. Do not think this virus is going to overtake our world and we cannot stop it. The WHO is working diligently to control the spread. 

There is no specific treatment.  There is no vaccine. The virus is different than SARS – It takes approximately 2 weeks to show symptoms after exposure and during this time the virus can be transmitted. It is spread by close respiratory contact. It is by droplet (cough and sneeze) but could also be spread by fomite (the virus staying for a time on an object, then a person touches their eyes or mouth or nose and are exposed)

It is appropriate to be concerned. It is not time to panic.

So how do I answer the question a parent asks me– what can I do so I do not get this virus? How do I keep my family safe?

My suggestions:

  • Avoid travel to China. Avoid as you can close contact to a person that has recently traveled to China.
  • Keep up to date on news. It is changing every day. The knowledge of the virus is changing too. World, US and local news are all important. When we had a high numbers of measles cases in the US I wanted to know if any cases were in the Chicago area and I paid attention to where cases were in the US.
  • Avoid the airport, train station, any areas where there is a great chance of exposure to people who are likely to be traveling internationally.
  • Depending on the number of cases in the US we may have to avoid large groups of people in big cities
  • Take care of your own health. Currently I don’t think we need to wear masks in the US but you can wash your hands often. Cover your coughs and sneezes. Get enough sleep and eat healthy.

Please understand – at this moment we have way more of a chance in the US of being exposed to influenza then this corona virus. We have seen a surge of influenza cases at our office. The last bullet point suggestion is most important to help prevent you getting the flu. Oh — and a flu shot – it is not too late!!!


“What is your secret Dr. Gold?”

Ahhh – the month of  January in pediatric medicine. Many people ask me “How do I stay healthy?” You can look at my dry red and painful hands and see I use hand cleanser, soap and water constantly. When you see 30-45 patients a day and clean before after and sometimes during the visit, your hands take a beating.

Do I take megadose Vit C? What else is my secret?

Twenty three years under my belt doing this – and unfortunately medical menopause is not kind in keeping my waistline from growing- but I have learned a few things.

I am under a lot of stress.

But I know I am not alone.


I have to say in the last years my stress load is considerably high. 

You see…. stress increases the chance of illness

In 1967, psychiatrists Thomas Holmes and Richard Rahe decided to study whether or not stress contributes to illness. They surveyed more than 5,000 medical patients and asked them to say whether they had experienced any of a series of 43 life events in the previous two years.

Each event called a Life Change Unit (LCU), had a different “weight” for stress. The more events the patient added up, the higher the score. The higher the score and the larger the weight of each event, the more likely the patient was to become ill.


Many people think a stressful event is always negative but as you see many are considered good events in our lives: vacation, child leaving for college, even retirement.

Note that the scale does not list death of a child. I would argue listing it as > 100 points and having it impact for more than the two years in scoring.  Let’s say… your lifetime.

I just did my assessment. I scored > 300. Congrats Dr. Gold!!! Proof of your assumption.

So what do I do to decrease my chance of illness?152963970_wide Can I decrease my stress?

Besides washing my hands and positioning my assessment of the 2 year old so the uncovered cough doesn’t hit my face – I do the following :



  • Sleep- goal is 7 hours per night. 8 on weekends if I can
  •  Eating healthy and hydrating- I drink 16oz of water before I leave the house. I try to get 64 per day but cannot always make that goal. We cook 90% of our dinners. I rarely eat out for lunch. Three meals is my goal. All of various size and plenty of veggies. A diet as mediterranean as I can do. Kale is my friend.
  •  Exercise – wish I could get in more but running and spin and Tabata are my stress reducers
  • Medical knowledge: I know my family tree and its medical history. I see my doc yearly, I do screening exams, I don’t smoke and I keep my alcohol consumption in moderation
  •  Praying- taking care of my spiritual side. I pray every day. I read Daily Word and other writings. I say  “Let go, Let God”
  • Talking with family and friends. I may not share all I feel to everyone, but I don’t hold things in.
  • Fun time- I cook, write, read, and sing (in the car, usually 80’s alternative!) and occasionally do fun projects
  • Cry time. I let it out. Let it go, right? Sometimes I cry so much I am tired from it.  But I don’t hold back. This is the time I don’t want to be around anyone.
  • Loving my pets. When my day is too much, I get love from my cats. The best stress reducer is a cat who wants to play or curls up in your lap and does a megapurr session.

I want to say I stay free of illness but I can’t. Repeated exposure month after month and life events sometimes occurring too many and too often. (252 points alone for 4 aunts and uncles passing) make it a challenge to stay well in both mind and body.

I know illness is not just infection. Heart disease, cancer and dementia are all an increased risk due to stress.

I cannot change the past, I cannot predict the future. All I can do is live in the present and try to be as healthy as I can be.






Christmas in Heaven

So what is it like to celebrate Christmas in heaven?

I imagine all my loved ones feeling eternal joy and love. The amount being unimaginable for us here on earth to really understand. And everyday is Christmas for them.

I have two more people I love very much join the celebration in heaven—

Until I come Home …. I will miss them all so much.

May we all try and feel the spirit of Christmas every day.

Have yourself a…..

Merry Little Christmas.

x-mas card

I remember when Nolan and Sam were little boys at Christmas time. Heck, I remember my love of  Christmas as a child! I once fell asleep with the Sear’s Christmas catalog pointing to the pogo stick I wanted SO SO much. Santa was always watching, so he would have no mistake in knowing what I wanted.

And here we are many years later. Santa knows what I want, but that is not something he can do.

Christmas day is one of the hardest days for me in missing Nolan. On Christmas day your family should be together. This is the day where the hole in my heart aches and earns so much for him. Ask anyone who is grieving the loss of a close loved one. 79756170_2605409782906686_5776488025345228800_o

I have hung Nolan’s stocking since the first Christmas without him. Why not? He is still my child, right? No candy, toys or gift cards fill his stocking now. Instead I place a letter I write to him. I have done this every year since my first Christmas without him, since 2016.

The first was a simple small hand written note. Then the next year a bit longer. Last year I typed my letter to him. I was worried he could not read what I had written. Crazy you might think. I write these letters for me. I share my love to him and tell him how much I miss him.24993563_10215056549432721_582890807462440737_n

The second Christmas without him I was really down. This was the Christmastime I can say I was depressed. A good friend invited me to her house a month later to be one of a group of women meeting a local medium friend of hers for a group reading. Ok – I was up for it. In the past I had a reading with someone else so I did not expect Nolan to come through that night.

But Nolan did.

He said he is with me at work. And at home. He knew how much I missed him. Up until now only Scott knew I wrote these letters. I told no one, no mention on social media. Yet this medium communicated how Nolan read my first letter. She mentioned blue ink and that I place them in his stocking. Scott did not even know what color pen I used.  Nolan said he has read all the letters.

I am not sure what I will write him this year. I talk to him everyday, before I wake up and in the shower since I tend to get my usual cry out then. But it is special to write to him at Christmas. It is not my wish list to Santa, but I feel it keeps my connection to him a bit stronger. Christmas #4.

christmas nolan 2018




I see you Nolan!

Let’s talk more about signs from your loved one that has passed.

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.

I have to explain how my signs come to me from Nolan, from my parents, and recently from my Aunt Marge. I certainly have asked my loved ones that have passed to give me a sign.

Most recently I asked for a sign on the anniversary of Nolan’s death.

Did I get any? Nope.

Did that discourage me? Or make me not believe I get signs? Absolutely not.

eyes-eye-conditions-s1This blog will give you insight into my experiences with signs using sight or vision.

This is the most common sense we use to accept a spirit’s communication to us.

-DREAMS The one way we can experience a visual sign is with a dream. Some people have dreams often where a loved one visits, and with some of us it happens very rarely. I have had only a few dreams. The few I had with Nolan are not visits, but dreams where he is still here and we are doing something mundane. I had a dream after my Aunt Marge passed. She was much younger in my dream, and so beautiful with her red hair. She hugged me. I felt her love with that hug. She asked what was wrong with me – I guess I looked sad or upset. That is all I remember but I can recall how happy and radiant she was.

-SEEING AN OBJECT Common ones are birds, dimes and pennies, a street sign, a feather, repetitive numbers, something you see on the news… anything visual can be a sign.

A key signature of spirit, however, is that the visual item will stand out in a very unique way.

My visual signs come when I am not thinking of Nolan – they show up and say – “Hello – I am here Mom!”


Dime: I found this dime on my driveway I think a year after Nolan passed. I was doing 20180607_103120602691608231470008.jpgyard work and happened to look down. Sam wasn’t driving yet and so no cars were parked on our driveway at the time. I picked it up and immediately I thought “check the year”- it was 1997- Nolan’s birth year.





Birds: I did not get signs from my mom much in her first years gone (but she did give my dad a BIG one the day she died – another blog) but now she visits me with birds.  It makes sense since she loved bird watching and identifying them. Cardinals come to visit sometimes in my backyard. In 2017 I was in my kitchen practicing a speech I was giving that day presenting a scholarship in memory of Nolan. While I was practicing it out loud I saw a male and female cardinal land together and sit on a fence facing me. They watched me a good 5+ minutes before they flew away. I felt the love of my mom and dad during those minutes.

I sometimes see a robin in Nolan’s memorial tree. The first spring he was gone I saw a robin in his tree very often. No other birds, just a robin. I didn’t know it at the time, but after seeing this bird so often in his tree I read its meaning: seeing a robin is a sign from a deceased person trying to tell you not to worry and that they love you. It is also a sign encouraging you to be brave.

Numbers: I don’t get repeated numbers as a sign very often- it has been only recently. Sometimes I wake up and it will be 3:03am or 3:33 am. I am not sure of this sign.  I interpret it to be my knowledge that Nolan is with my parents in heaven and so the three are together in spirit. That is possible, as well as lately I have been thinking about the holy trinity of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

But by far the most common visual sign I have is Nolan’s car.

It is a weird sign I know. Nolan loved his car. The night he died the police had Scott drive his car from the site of his suicide back to our house. I couldn’t stand seeing it parked in front of our house. To me it meant Nolan was home – and he certainly was not.  I made Scott sell that car just days after his passing. I just couldn’t look at it.

It was weeks later that I had my first Nolan car sighting. While running outside I had a blue Honda civic, exactly his color, 4 door model and year, drive past me going the other way.

It has happened many many other times. I don’t search the car out. I am not counting other years of the model civic or cars of like color or style to it. It will be driving the other direction usually – and it grabs my eye. Or I park somewhere and when I pull in or return to my car there is the blue Honda civic.

My favorite sighting was recently – It was my day off and I was in a relaxed mood. (this can be helpful in seeing signs- I believe you are open to seeing them when you are not stressed out) I was driving to a friend’s house. Taking a usual road, I wasn’t thinking of anything, just driving. An electronic sign at a church caught my eye, flashing the message I love – “Let Go, Let God” and at that same moment, seconds later, here comes the blue Honda civic driving the other way.

20915087_10214079675531484_6932518699150884280_nI smiled. Hello Nolan !!! I love you!

69916158_2993628913986573_6359923366450692096_oHis message? “I love you too Mom”

“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