Work and Grief

A friend of mine that lost her son shortly after I lost mine has been going through total heck at work. She was only given two weeks leave after the passing of her only son. Since she has been back to work, there are days where she has had to call in because grief had consumed her to the point that she could not get out of the bed. She has decided to leave her job after one too many inconsiderate write-ups over her actions. T (as I will call her) asked if I would help write her resignation letter for her. She thought I could help her put into words exactly what grief has done to her. Us. And all the mourning parents.

The request had me thinking of the best thing to say. How to exactly describe what we go through. How do you explain to someone that has never lost a child what it feels like to have a piece of your soul lost forever? How do explain how your heart never will beat the same way it used to? How do you let them know that grief does not pick non-business hours to rear its ugly head? I do not think there is any way to really get the full impact of having so much of your life disappear in the blink of an eye. Sure we may have been fine when we left work on Tuesday. But the dream we had that night of our child made us wake up thinking that he was just down the hall in his bed. And then realizing we woke from our dream to the nightmare of reality. Yes we were just fine when we left for lunch. But while in the car at the drive-thru our child’s favorite song came on the radio, leaving us crying hysterically and cars honking their horns at us. Then there are birthdays, holidays, anniversaries of death and life. What about the sadness we feel when our child’s friends accomplish all the things he should be here for? We not only grieve the past and present but also the lost future. We will grieve when we see our friends with their grandchildren we were robbed of. We will grieve when we watch his best friend walk down the aisle without our son as his best man. We will grieve every empty space at the dinner table, the empty stocking, the quiet nights, the missing sound of laughter and all the messy messes that we desperately miss.

How do you put a time on how much work you can miss after the loss of a child? When you give birth you are given at least six weeks maternity leave. They even give the same amount to Fathers now! But only to receive two weeks bereavement time to mourn the loss of 19 years worth of hopes and dreams? It takes two weeks just to come out of the shock and fog! There is no textbook example of grief time because no one person grieves the same as another. Some can handle day to day routines like before with a hard exterior. Some will crack in public over random thoughts. Some will never get on with life. Some will tackle life and grieve quietly in the inside. I guess I was lucky that I did not have to return to any sort of job after I lost my son. I never really sat back and thought about the pain and hardship that my son’s Father, his Bonus Mom or my Husband felt. So how do I try and help her explain this to her employers? There is no possible way for them to understand shy of them losing their own child. And there is no way I would ever wish this torturous pain on anyone…

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10 thoughts on “Work and Grief

  1. So how do I try and help her explain this to her employers?

    You just did and did it well. I owned my bed and breakfast when my son passed. If not for friends taking over as well as my husband, I just could not have done it. I stayed in bed for weeks it seems not eating…crying endlessly. No one can know this agony except a mother who has suffered the same. Just today, 2 days after the 7th anniversary of the tragedy…I stood inside my closet and sobbed. Please allow me to reblog this post. My heart aches with your friend’s heart and also yours and so many others. God hold us closely and give us peace always.

    • You most certainly can share. I had a breakdown in a thrift store because their was my son’s favorite childhood toy just thrown into a bin so carelessly. Broke my heart. I was and I hate to say it lucky that I did not have to work afyer his death. I can have bad days in peace. My heart breaks for the ones not so lucky.

  2. "T" says:

    This is from “T” My company only gave me 3 days bearevment. The first week was vacation time while he was hospitalized and then I took 2 days with out pay.

  3. Nicole says:

    This is so perfect, it took the words right out of my mouth. I could not express it any better. My son passed 3 months ago, and I too had to come back in two weeks, He was 18 and a senior in high school. Graduation is coming son and I am so heartbroken. Reading this helps me.

  4. Catherine says:

    This was very eloquently stated and it couldn’t have been out of the mouth of anyone but a bereaved parent. I can relate to all of it. It’s been five years since my daughter died and I still have moments that are as agonizing as they’ve ever been. The unforeseen triggers that cripple my thoughts and breath, even after five years. I quit my job; that’s how I coped. I was immobilized and stayed face down in bed for three months. I used all of her college fund money to survive on and pay the bills and felt guilty and ashamed about even touching it. I don’t want to admit it, but I’ve never recovered from this. I’m still struggling.

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