Attitude towards coworker

I’m struggling with my attitude towards a coworker who I directly supervise. My coworker’s mother recently became ill and was told she had a short time to live. At the same time, my colleague developed some health problems. I encouraged her to take leave (12 weeks leave while your job is protected) while she recovered and cared for her mom.

She took the leave and her mother died shortly after. However, the night before she was set to return she sent me an email saying she was still grieving and did not feel ready to return. I responded with a kind email saying that she could “take as much time as she needed,” thinking it would be a few more weeks. Fast forward… she then talked to Human Resources and decided to take 6 months off.

I believe the reason she is doing this is to try to wrap up some of her mom’s responsibilities which included running a conference in January. I would have never approved this because that is not an appropriate use of leave. However, Human Resources said that since my informal email said she could take time off their hands were tied. I am now required to approve that time off.

I feel that she is taking advantage of the situation, and I am furious. However, I have no recourse and this decision stands. And given the limitations imposed by Human Resources, I can’t even express my disappointment/anger at her decision. So now I am faced with a lot of anger. In my mind, I am blaming her for causing me anger. But according to this work I know it is my thoughts.

Here is my model:

C: Coworker is taking leave through January
T: She is taking advantage of the situation.
F: Angry
A: Judge her, find other areas in which she is unprofessional, be passive-aggressive
R: I make myself miserable and become an angry person.

Here’s an intentional model:

C: Coworker is taking leave through January
T: I wonder what is going on in her head to cause her to make that decision
F: Curious
A: Be open, don’t judge
R: ??

This second model feels forced so I’m not sure it’s appropriate.

Do I need to just allow myself to be angry? Is it appropriate to try to change my thoughts?