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Bereavement can leave no space for work

Updated: Feb 3, 2020

The last few weeks have been difficult as my family and I navigate our way through our first bereavement of a close relative. Sadly, we lost my 55-year-old step mum at the beginning of November, just 18 months after her diagnosis with an incurable cancer.

I knew that I would feel upset, teary, angry and at times helpless.

What I hadn’t realised is how all-encompassing grief can be, taking over your brain and casting everything else aside. Re-running memories, my brain went on the hunt, racking through the archives trying to flag up conversations, events, images. When your brain is doing that it doesn’t leave much space for work. Helping my dad, registering the death, writing and delivering the eulogy, sorting arrangements for the funeral, all essential tasks that I wanted to be involved in and which have been helpful to me in processing my grief. The brain once again whirring through, remembering lines, editing lines, assessing what I said at the funeral, who did I speak to, who did I miss, are the kids OK? Still, no space for work.

I’m once again grateful for the fact that, working for myself, I can take time to be with family when needed. I’ve allowed myself a huge amount of space to process all of these thoughts and feelings. Flexible working is needed for many reasons, we need understanding bosses for all sorts of scenario’s, and we need workplaces to be adaptable when these inevitable events happen.


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