Staying balanced through the holidays

For many, the holidays bring memories of frosting sugar cookies, spending precious time with family near and far and looking forward to a bright new year. Unfortunately for others, the holidays can look and feel very different. They may spend the season in solitude, or their holiday obligations may bring on unnecessary stress. I know for me, the holidays have been more difficult to celebrate since losing both my mother and father. Those of us who have lost close family members may find if painful to take part in the same holiday traditions once celebrated.

Coping with loss in dental school

Dad-SonIt was a cold, blustery winter day in the city of Buffalo. I had just completed my first RCT on an extracted maxillary incisor as part of a pre-clinical endodontics course when I received an unexpected phone call. My normally calm brother spoke with a tremor: “Dad has liver and kidney failure.” Shaking and with tears in my eyes, I rushed home to Pittsburgh. Two days later, my dad passed away.

Where to begin? What do I do? I was a typical type-A dental student accustomed to having my life neatly planned out, but at that moment, I felt the exact opposite. For anyone who is going through or has been in a similar situation during dental school, I hope the following lessons I learned through the process of healing are ones you can connect with.