If you are reading this, chances are you have lost a loved one. If so, please accept my deepest condolences. I know it must be hard to get back into the swing of things and your emotions may be on a roller coaster of not knowing what to expect. Guess what? You’re not the only one. There are thousands of us (yes, me too) out there deliberating if we are doing the right thing wanting (versus needing) to go back to work. But the bills need to be paid and food needs to be put on the table so we must make that essential decision, especially if there is absolutely no income being generated.
My husband passed away February 24, 2012 and three weeks prior I was given notice. My last day of work was one week before he passed. I was relieved yet, saddened. I didn’t inform my husband until about a week after I was notified because he was in enough (physical) pain. But during that final week with him it was a worry-free week for me because I could care for him full-time and looking for a job was not my priority. Then on February 24 he passed away. I’ve been unemployed since but for me, it couldn’t have come at a better time. At this time I'm focusing my efforts on finding the right employer. Let me tell you why.
I’ve learned a lot since that fateful day and I want to share my story with you in hopes that you could use this as a foundation before, during and after your loss.
- If your loved one is currently sick and you are still working, do not feel guilty that you have to work. Think of it this way, you must work in order to continue your health insurance (if applicable) so that your loved one can continue attending his/her appointments, provide food on the table, gas, prescription, etc. Get the point?
- Don’t expect concerns from your peers. Although it’s nice to want to hear, “So how is your XXX doing?” don’t expect it. There are deadlines to meet, expectations from the boss and emotional distress. They simply may have forgotten.
- If your loved one passes away, don’t expect condolences from everyone in the workplace through in-person visits, cards or flowers. Some offer their condolences to others and expect them to pass it along (I know, not cool, but it happens). I’m sure the intention is there. If not, you may think of finding another company to work for.
- If you can afford it, don’t be in a hurry to get back to work. You have lost a loved one and grief can linger although you may feel you are OK. However in some cases, others felt the need to go back to work soon so as to keep them busy.
- If you can afford it, take your time when searching for employment. If you feel that your previous employer was insensitive to your situation, it’s time to find a company that is more “employee friendly.” It may take some time but it will be worth it in the long run. Consider this quote by Tyler Perry, “Sometimes you have to go deeper to get what you are after no matter the cost.” This quote comes after he was tired of high water bills so he had a company dig wells in his back yard. There were several holes made until he made a decision to stick to one hole. He had the company to dig deeper than normal (beyond 1,200 feet). Then, voila, they hit a river of water!
- Seek guidance. You are not alone so don’t challenge it (grief) alone! Contact grief counselors, spiritual leaders or others who have been through the ordeal.
- Pray. Praying was an absolute must for me and it channeled me away from some of the worst emotions I’ve ever felt (and people!). Mulling over other people’s actions (or in-actions) will get you nowhere. Think of your family.
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