Returning to work after bereavement?(7 Posts)
I lost a close family member in the new year, following an intense period where they had been very ill. I'm feeling apprehensive and very anxious about trying to get back to 'normal life' (returning to work and other responsibilities etc) and just wondered how soon others were back at work and if things were ok?
I went back to work on a very limited basis straight after my DH died suddenly, going full-time two weeks later. My choice.
The thing to remember is that for the mass of people at work, if you're in work, you're "in^ work. Your bereavement will not be at the forefront of their minds after the initial condolences. They're not callous, just doing what they do. There will be people who will have your back. I had a senior manager who kindly and specifically said I didn't have to do all I was doing.
Odd stuff happens. A colleague approached me and said, in what I interpreted as a special enquiry due to the tone: How are you? I responded with, Not so good actually and was about unload when they said: Yeah, report writing time, it's a bugger. Bye!
On the other hand, some who I would not immediately have thought of as the sensitive type have been the most assiduous in asking that how are you question in a way that invites a genuine response, but is not prying.
I found that there came a point at which I just wanted to get back to normality. It was about 2 weeks after DM, although it was a difficult bereavement because we had a tricky relationship. It was about the same time after DF although that was more to do with having more stuff to sort out; as hard as it was, we had a much better relationship and consequently a much more normal bereavement, although I appreciate that defining normal is difficult and I only really realised it in hindsight. But both times I worked for a very supportive company and people were quite gentle with me when I went back. Especially the second time, since the two things happened quite close together and I was relatively young to lose both parents like that.
There is a lot to be said for getting back to your normal routine. It won't feel normal, but the structure does help you to carry on.
When I lost my DF following illness, I went back after just two days. I was young amongst the workforce, and so was working with many much older than me who still had alive parents and this perhaps made it easier for them to sympathise although not necessarily relate. Most people were surprised to see me so soon, but I needed the normality. Generally people were kind and understanding, although some didn't know how to cope with seeing me and crossed the corridor.
I'm not sure there is a right or wrong; you have to do what is right for you.
My mother died after a long illness a couple of years ago. I went back after the funeral, about 2 weeks after she died. I had a very understanding manager who was lovely and told me if I needed time out to just take it. I did have a couple of times when I just had to escape from the office and to have a bit of time on my own. Everyone was kind though and I found getting back to 'normal' routines helpful. There is no one way of doing it though, you have to do what you need to get through it.
My DF passed away last May, he was very unwell and quite old, but I was only 29 and didn't feel prepared at all. I had moved home shortly before as I just felt the need to spend more time with him, but hadn't expected him to pass so quickly or so soon.
I took a full week off work, then worked from home my first Monday back at work. I was terrified of people asking how I was because I was on the brink of tears all the time. In my first week physically back in the office, I cried most days in the toilet, just to let it all out!
I took 2 days off for his funeral - one for the actual event, and one for the day after so that I could get myself back to normal again. Work were very understanding and it was considered additional bereavement leave.
I'm so sorry for your loss, I hope you and your family are ok
I went back as soon as I could, df died over Xmas. I wanted to have the distraction really. I'm lucky I work part-time, I have a couple of days a week off. There is so much to sort out. I still don't have a death certificate, I feel like the first few days were easier than this bit, going through paperwork, writing to everyone.
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