Jump to content
Grief Healing Discussion Groups

Coping In A Workplace


Recommended Posts

I am fortunate that I am able to work from home. A few people, and I have given this some thought as well, have suggested that I return to a Corporate setting in the Spring ( six months) and not be alone as much. I am wondering how you all are coping in the work enviorment? Do you find some benefit from having your mind busy and away from home? I have a few hours every day that I melt down and can't imagine being behind a desk and dealing with difficult people and not losing it completely. I'm just curious what your opinions are with regards to work and deaing with the grief. Thank you in advance.

- Linda G

Link to comment
Share on other sites


I lost my job 5 months after my husband died because I couldn't cope in a corporate setting. It was the best thing that could have happened to me. Having that time at home to grieve without restraint was very needed. Now that I'm back to work after a year and a half later, I am doing much better.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Linda,

I began to return to work a few weeks after Brian passed away. Fortunately I have a compassionate caring boss and he has allowed me as much flexibility as I need. We sat down and had a conversation and he is honestly concerned about me. If I need a day off, it's allowed. If I need to come in late because I couldn't sleep, it's ok. When I have to leave for my Pastoral Counseling appointments, it is not a problem. This is probably the only reason I'm adjusting to being back to work. When I need to cry, I either go to the restroom or into an empty office. I've only had two insensitive comments from co-workers. I've written them off as "toxic" and try to avoid them. For me, getting out of the house does help. When I am home by myself, I get really sad. I wasn't really a person who wanted to stay home all the time before Brian passed away . . . guess I haven't changed in that aspect. I think we all need to find out what works best for us and to make sure we can set the necessary boundaries. This grief journey is hard enough. There's no need to add additional stress if it can be avoided. Hugs

Peace, love, and blessings,


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Dear Linda,

I would like to say something here as a student (I feel like I'm at work - I live on-campus, and I seem to be constantly doing homework). It is a question of, what works for you as an individual. As we have already seen that some people, like kath, do better with some time away from work so we can be at home and have time for our grief. Other people, like LindaKoz, do better with some work to do, and manage to give time to our grief also.

Me personally, I wish I had more time to grieve and that I was at home, because working at school, I feel I don't get to give my grief enough time. At the same time though, being at home, especially alone, can be overwhelming in its own way. When we are alone, I think, we are especially vulnerable to the feelings of grief.

I think it is tough to have a balance of, having time to grieve, and doing the things that need to be done, like work/school. If you do decide to go back to corporate work, you must decide that, no matter what, you will give yourself time during your day, week, whatever, to grieve. I myself am feeling how good it is to GIVE it time, because I recently opened up to a friend. After so long being enwrapped in work, it felt so good to acknowledge my grief. Don't be like me and get stuck working and wish you had time for yourself. If you go back to work, I hope that it is with Linda's energy, where she is able to balance her grief and her work.

Sorry if I made this sound like a lecture. I just have been feeling intensely about this within myself lately, and I guess it just came out...sortof a self-anger at myself for not giving my own grief enough time...

I wish you the best in whichever path you decide to take.

take care,


Link to comment
Share on other sites

I will also be interested to hear everyone's experiences. My maternity leave will be up in January, so 6.5 months since Scott's death, and 11 since the birth of our daughter, I will be heading back. So I will have separation anxiety to look forward to as well as what I know will be long days without the calls and emails I used to get everyday from Scott.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

I was wondering the same thing ie how other people cope in the workplace. My mom passed away on Sept 7/09 and I returned to work on Sept 21/09. As soon as I got to the office I knew that it was way too soon for me to be back there. On my first day back, I didn't really do any actual work and spent the majority of the day sorting through emails, my intray etc. But the next day, although my coworkers were sympathic (I was new to the job and still on probation at the time of mom's passing), it was "business as usual" and the expectations were that I was ready to give the usual 100% to my job. I stuck it out for one week but then stayed home the following week and actually have not yet returned to work. For me the stresses of my daily commute and the high expectations at work were just too much to deal with. One of the things that I've been struggling with were the feelings of guilt that I hadn't done enough for my mom over the last few years. I'm feeling that because I was always at work that I neglected her when she needed me the most...but that's a whole other issue. For me, I needed the extra time away from work in order to just BEGIN to work through the grieving process.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Bev,

I lost my fiance, Brian, on 09/23/2009. I returned to work a few weeks later but my boss and my collegues have been very understanding of my grieving process. I am seeing a Pastoral Counselor every other week and she told me that grieving is my main work right now. Everything else is secondary. It is hard on us physically, mentally, and emotionally. And, we need to do the grief work in order to find some peace on the other side. I really have to work due to my financial situation and it does help a bit to be out of the house. But, we all have to make our own decisions as to what we can and cannot handle at this moment. It sounds like you are taking care of yourself and working through your grief. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

Peace, love, and blessings,


Link to comment
Share on other sites

I work in the electronics production field. My company gives 3 days bearevement. When my son,Jon,died at the end of June, I was fortunate to have the whole week off because we were having a shutdown at the time. I was able to plan 95% of Jon's service myself and make it the way I thought he would want it. My job is very stressful because my boss depends a lot on me to do things no one else gets done. I am fortunate in the fact that he is a fellow christian and big on his family. He still expects the work to be done but if I go and tell him how I'm feeling,(depressed,overwhelmed,etc)he'll stop and pray for me no matter who might be watching. There are days though,that I would just like to run out the door and never turn back but I need my income. I think it has helped me not to dwell on Jon because I have to concentrate on what I'm doing. At first, I couldn't remember things. 8hrs. felt like 18 because I would do and redo becuase I didn't remember I'd done something. My evenings are usually spent online in a forum, mostly reaching out to other hurting,desperate Mom's. I've been off for 4 days and I think I do better working.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My workplace has been my anchor and shall remain to be for the next couple of years. For the first 6 months I had a LOT of time off, could come in late, could work from home, and was put on a 4 day week (paid), plus time off to see counsellor. Now that I am almost at 11 months, I like being here ... surrounded by people. It's a sense of normalcy. I strive to ensure that I don't have any more time off, and kind of wrote this year off. Next year, I am kicking it off with a sponsored walk for widows in India and Africa (on anniversary of Cliff's death on 6th January) and then getting my teeth into my objectives. I am under no illusion ... I know that the second year won't be any easier than this one, so far as pain is concerned, however, I also know that I have coping mechanisms in place and that I am managing my grief better. Hope this helps xx

Here is a letter that I wrote to our CEO a couple of weeks ago:

Dear J

Even though I am not American, with Thanksgiving approaching, it felt like the right time to write to you.

On January 6th this year my husband died unexpectedly from a stroke. Thankfully I was on vacation and with him at the time, which gives me comfort today.

Obviously this has had an enormous impact on me emotionally and physically throughout this year, and I just wanted to share with you how important a role this Company has played in my grief journey, with some examples:

· Despite being immensely busy with “.................” work, PW called me for half an hour on January 6th. Speaking to him for this time calmed me sufficiently and enabled me to sleep for a few hours straight afterwards, having not slept for 48 hours in a row. P then somehow found another slot to call me after the funeral to talk again, and just having a taste of that sense of normalcy was tantamount to a ship seeing a lighthouse in a Nor’wester.

· KS proof-read the Eulogy that I wrote for my husband.

· I received approximately 100 cards, messages and phone calls from HO in the UK over the course of those early days.

· FS picked me up from home and dropped me off for the first month when I returned to work. I had never driven in the snow before and at the time we had 12” of snow here. The thought of attempting this alone at the time, would have been simply terrifying.

· SJ took my husband’s tax affairs from me so that her husband could take care of them.

· ST (my Line Manager at the time) was incredibly protective of me and extremely supportive. There is no need to describe all the details, however she attended Cliff’s funeral, she knew (far better than I) what I was capable of and gently persuaded me to not set myself up to fail. S called me every single day to check how I was and just to talk. She even introduced a charity raising element at each team meeting, to commemorate Cliff throughout the year. It is also because of S that I sought counselling and began my journey towards healing. I can honestly say that I would not have coped as well this year, on a personal basis, without the foundation that she laid down for me at work.

· I was terrified that I would be treated differently when I returned to work and need not have been. Not one person in this building avoided me, in fact everyone from Senior Managers to the ladies who work in the Deli, all came straight up to me on my first attempt to return to work.

· AS took an hour on a Saturday to talk to my local BMW car dealership to ensure that the car I was thinking of purchasing was the right decision for me, because I was so used to my husband dealing with those issues that I didn’t feel confident enough, not to mention the fact that I frankly wasn’t capable of making a sensible choice at the time. This resulted in my driving confidence returning, and today the car is literally my umbilical cord to the world.

· My new Line Manager, DS is now helping to support me by agreeing realistic objectives for 2010 and gently guiding me into the new year, managing me to ensure that I do not take on more than I am ready for, because she understands that I ache to run before I can walk, somehow ensuring that I don’t even feel bad about it.

The list is endless, truly. It is always a dangerous thing to do – to start mentioning people by name in case you omit someone, and I know that I have, however it is simply to keep this email to a sensible length. Suffice to say, that my peers have been amazing, simply by offering to help, by listening, by giving empathy and offering their company at weekends. Previous Line Managers, such as OM have dropped whatever they have been doing and given me 5 minutes so that I can sanity-check decisions that I now have to make on my own. Senior Managers, especially RB and PS, during an exceptionally busy year, have made a point of stopping by my desk to see how I am doing.

I am very fortunate to have a loving and solid network of family and friends, but I have to say that this year, and for the next couple of years, ........ will be my anchor. This year it has been the only place where I have felt as though I am in my comfort zone. I sincerely doubt that any of the colleagues I have mentioned are aware of the impact that their actions or words have had, but I shall never forget.

It is very important, especially when you feel as though your whole world has gone, to remain grounded, and for me, one of the ways to accomplish this is to think about what I have to be thankful for. There are many things that I have to be grateful for, however one answer that I felt compelled to share with you is this. ........... is DEFINITELY a great place to work.

Have a good Thanksgiving.

Best wishes

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...