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Going back to work after bereavement

(19 Posts)
oneofsuesylvesterscheerios Sun 26-Jun-11 10:33:43

My dad died 2 and a half weeks ago. He'd been suffering from a condition like MND for 18 months and I've been involved in all his care throughout this time. He'd been in a nursing home since november and Dh and I have visited him every day. He was articulate and bright and funny right up to the end and I'm missing him like mad.

My brother lives abroad and only came home for 4 days when we had the funeral. Our mum died when we were kids (aged 9 & 7) and dad brought us up on his own and never remarried. I'm coping day to day for the kids but I feel utterly bereft and empty. Dh has been brilliant and is gutted about dad as he thought the world of him but he's getting with things better than me.

My boss thinks I should try going back to work this week, not in a nose to the grindstone way but I think he thinks it's best to get the initial return out of the way. He's said I can do things at my own pace and has been brilliant. But the thought of it is freaking me out. Part of me thinks I have to go with my instincts and take time to adjust to what's happened, part if me thinks it's indulgent and I just need to get on with things.

Hassled Sun 26-Jun-11 10:40:16

Firstly I'm very sorry for your loss. I've been there - it's hideous. I won't trot out the platitude that it gets easier, but you'll find you get better at coping with it, and there will be a time when you realise that the grief doesn't stop you from being happy again. But this is early days for you - be kind to yourself; don't have any expectations about how you're meant to feel.

Re work - I suppose the longer you leave it the harder it will be - you'll build it up in your head to something huge and scary. I think you'll find people will be very kind, though. But the adjustment to your loss will take months or even years; you can't wait for that. I'm not being much help, am I? Could you do one day and see how it goes?

rookiemater Sun 26-Jun-11 10:42:24

I'm sorry about your Dad.
Someone at work had a bereavement recently, different circumstances, but when they came back they did a phased return so did until 1pm for the first week and built up, that could be a way to go because a full day is a long time.

Sexonlegs Mon 27-Jun-11 16:51:10

Hi there. I am very sorry for your loss sad

My mum died New Years Eve (a Friday), and I was back at work the following Tueday. For me, I wanted to keep occupied, but it varies so for people. I was ok; did have a bit of a wobble, but fine.

Good luck.x

PonceyMcPonce Mon 27-Jun-11 17:05:41

I think it depends on the nature of your work. If you have to make life and death decisions, then maybe not. If you have to interact constantly with others that may be impossible. A phased return might give you a break from yourself iykwim

Hi. Firstly sorry to hear about your dad. I lost my mum 10 months ago, its a horrid horrid time!!

Re Work, mum died on the MOnday and I went back to work the following Monday. TBH it would have been sooner but I had to go to where they lived so wasnt local. I think its better to have something else to focus on but then it depends on what that job is.

Maybe go in for a day and see how you feel x

anastasia74 Wed 29-Jun-11 22:52:28

I'm very sorry to hear about your dad passing away. I know everyone is different but my experience was 3 weeks absence from work when my dad died two years ago.

For me this was just about right. I was in shock for the first 2ish weeks up to and about a week after the funeral I would say. I was in no fit state to go to work. I was not thinking logically and could not make decisions clearly - I was numb really. At one point I stopped driving as I went through 2 red lights in as many days.

Work colleagues were mostly very understanding and sympathetic - most of them having had loss members of family - which helped a lot.

Looking back I suppose I was a bit manic at first - sort of in automatic pilot. Not the real me.

In the early months after my dad died I was so glad I had my job to have at least something I know as normal in my life. This helped me through.

Hugs to you - and strength in the coming months.

oneofsuesylvesterscheerios Fri 01-Jul-11 19:29:08

Thanks all.
I'm a teacher, so it's pretty full-on. But I saw my GP on Monday and he's written me a note for reduced hours and workload. Luckily I don't have to go straight back into the teaching just yet, I can do some admin and just start 'mingling' again. I went in for a few hours yesterday and it was weird, tbh. I felt a range of things, including very angry at one point which was a bit strange and nothing to do with anything anyone did or said - can't really explain it. I think I was annoyed at the 'normality' of it all, which sounds very self-centred.
I'm going again Monday and will stay til lunchtime. I am absolutely knackered though, so I do need to build up some stamina from somewhere!

nickschick Fri 01-Jul-11 19:33:40

I lost my mum when I was 11.

You never get over losing a parent- you will in time learn to live with it but always you will miss them,often you will get little heart jumps when something happens that remind you of them.

Its very hard this bereavement business,inside your heart is breaking the bottom of your world fell out,yet outside everyones just carrying on as normal.

You are doing great smile.

Slowly,slowly catchy monkey.

PonceyMcPonce Fri 01-Jul-11 19:37:49

Sounds like a good way to start

oneofsuesylvesterscheerios Fri 01-Jul-11 22:22:45

I think that's another of the (my?) problems, nickschick. My mum died when I was 9 and dad brought me and my brother up. He never remarried, didn't even have a girlfriend. My brother works abroad and has done for 10 years. I live nearby to dad, even before he was I'll we saw him lots, but when he got this condition either ms if Dh saw him every day.

He was brilliant company, an amazing bloke. I just miss him so much and it feels like I've lost a mum and a dad because he was both to me for so long. I just feel so so sad. And everything to fo with work seems completely irrelevant.

oneofsuesylvesterscheerios Fri 01-Jul-11 22:23:27

Stupid iPhone and stupid typos.

oneofsuesylvesterscheerios Fri 01-Jul-11 22:26:45

And yes, it's brought stuff back about losing my mum, although that just serves to emphasise how great my dad was as hectored to hard to help us all through it and bring us up in the way she would have wanted.

Sorry, rambling now

yousankmybattleship Fri 01-Jul-11 22:32:29

I am so sorry for your loss. I lost my Dad a few years ago and went more or less straight back to work. For me it was helpful to get back to something like normal life but I do remember feeling very angry that the whole world was carrying on as normal. Grief is physically very draining and you obivously have a very demanding job so a phased return seems very sensible. Don't expect too much of yourself. You will have days when you feel really quite fine and then other days when you feel as if you've been hit by a bus. Take it slowly and look after yourself.

ajandjjmum Fri 01-Jul-11 22:33:59

So sorry about your Dad.
I'm another one who found work a 'distraction', although I was fortunately enough not to have to be there at set hours, so pretty much came and went as I pleased for a few weeks.
Glad DH and others are being supportive. smile

LoveBeingAbleToNamechange Fri 01-Jul-11 22:50:11

I rember wanting to scream in the supermarket after dad died in nov, everyone was just shopping and acting normal, didn't they care my dad had died!

It is hard going back. Just don't expect too much too soon. I know that my patience was majorly reduced. I think it is generally a good idea to get back but please make sure that if it is too much you do something about it.

I'm so sorry about your dad. It is bound to stir up emotions about your mum. Don't be too hard on yourself.

york78 Fri 01-Jul-11 23:48:12

So sorry about your dad. I lost my dad many years ago and went back to work after funeral. The timing was about right for me. However, I recently lost my mum ad no way was I ready just after funeral. So I guess you are feeling the same.

Blondeshavemorefun Sun 07-Aug-11 22:58:43

sorry to hear about your dad sad

i went back to work 3 weeks after dh died (nearly 4mths ago) my boss was very understanding and said have more time off but tbh i felt i needed to try and get my life back on track and back into normality - whatever the fuck that is sad

for me it was the right time, but may not be for all - i do work 3 days a week so maybe thats easier as still have 2 week days to gather my thoughts/sort out funeral etc

ThatVikRinA22 Sun 07-Aug-11 23:13:39

so sorry for your loss

i think its a very individual thing - when to go back to work.

i lost my sister, then four weeks later the lady who i called mum, and who brought me up died.

i had already taken 4 weeks off for my sisters death, and didnt feel i could ask for more, in hindsight i went back too early.

this all happened in a February and it probably took until around April to get back to any kind of normality. A month was probably about right for me to sort out my sisters stuff, but i could have done with some time to adjust to the second bereavement. My employer at the time wasnt particularly understanding, though i did only work part time.

I would say go with your gut instinct. I think its like grieving itself, ie - individual. If you feel like going back then do it and see how it goes, if you feel its too early then take a little more time.

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