Author Topic: Return to work?  (Read 1650 times)

yogamom72

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Return to work?
« on: September 17, 2016, 07:02:45 PM »
When did you return to work?  I lost my husband on 9/8/16.  I have been on bereavement and sick leave since then.  I know it's a personal decision but I am trying to figure out how I am going to even function.  Another part of me thinks that the routine will be helpful.

Portside

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Re: Return to work?
« Reply #1 on: September 17, 2016, 07:21:07 PM »
I went back to work two weeks after my late wife passed away.

I was tired of walking around the house doing nothing and needed to be distracted by something. Looking back, I'm sure I was useless for quite awhile after I went back but still, it did me good to rejoin the world.

Good luck - Mike
The war is over for me now. But those of us who did make it have an obligation to build again, to teach to others what we know, and to try with what's left of our lives to find a goodness and a meaning to this life.

Justin

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Re: Return to work?
« Reply #2 on: September 17, 2016, 09:04:23 PM »
Like Portside, I returned to work fairly early. My wife died on a Tuesday night, the funeral was on Saturday, and I went back to work the next Friday.


I would lie in bed, and just stare at the ceiling and knew I had to add some structure. Plus being in the house where she died all the time wasn't doing my sanity any favors.


Fortunately, I had very understanding bosses who let me return on an abbreviated schedule for a while - roughly 10AM to 4PM or so for quite a long time. I went through the motions a lot and wasn't very productive but at least it was the start of getting back to a schedule and "having" to do something other than feed me and my daughter. She was almost 16, so it wasn't like she totally depended on me for meals and was spending a lot of time alone in her room.


Not having many close friends, work also forced me to interact with others and not withdraw into myself - which would not have been good for me.


I did make sure to let my boss know that it would be a good while until I was back to my old performance levels - it was important to me that I did so and I think it helped with realistic expectations.
Marsha 1975-2014

"Love is the province of the brave"

SemperFidelis

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Re: Return to work?
« Reply #3 on: September 17, 2016, 10:12:14 PM »
I returned to work after two weeks. Would have gone back sooner but with all the visitors it wouldn't have felt right. But I really wanted to keep as much if my routine and as much normalcy as I could.

AubreeAnn

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Re: Return to work?
« Reply #4 on: September 17, 2016, 11:01:49 PM »
I had a month off. My employer put me on partial disability. They have been amazing to me while I'm on this journey. When I decided to go back at first, I would go from 8 to noon. Then I would gradually stay a little longer after two weeks of going from 8 to noon. I eventually worked up to staying a full day. It was so hard at first but getting into a routine and having something to do was a huge thing for me. I needed that month off but also, I was in a DARK place and the alone time was scary too. I do think going back could be beneficial but take as much time as you need. Also, have a place where you can retreat to and have some moments to yourself if you need them. Don't be too hard on yourself and do what makes you most comfortable.

Sirin

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Re: Return to work?
« Reply #5 on: September 18, 2016, 08:21:25 AM »
I went back to work 2.5 weeks afterwards.  I have visitors and family from out-of-state non-stop for two weeks, and after they left I wanted at least a couple of days to myself before going to work and interacting with more people.  Ideally, I should have taken a month off (but I felt like I would have been pushing it), because it's been overwhelming trying to work full-time, going through probate and tons of paperwork, and trying to keep on top of household chores (which I have failed at miserably.  I haven't cleaned the bathrooms for three weeks).

Wheelerswife

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Re: Return to work?
« Reply #6 on: September 18, 2016, 09:08:32 AM »
I took 6 weeks off after my first husband died.  I was exhausted physically and emotionally from caregiving and his last week living with him in the ICU.  I wanted to return to some semblance of routine, but I was still quite emotional.  I spent a lot to time looking at the floor when I was walking in the first couple of weeks so I wouldn't have to meet people's gaze. I needed to hold myself together.  Before returning to work, I met with my boss, whom I had known and worked with for several years, and I told her what I hoped for from my colleagues...such as not asking me how I was (obviously, not good) and for people to go on as normally as they could (so they would not have uncomfortable silences over lunch, for instance...talk about what they would normally talk about).  In a staff meeting, my boss told my coworkers about our conversation.  I think this made everyone more comfortable. 

When my second husband died, I was a college student again.  He was a university professor and he died 11 days before the semester started.  I went back to school in a very supportive environment, where just about everyone knew my story, and some students and 95% of faculty and staff knew my husband.  Having been through the loss of a spouse once before, I knew more of what I needed, and in many respects, I knew what others needed, too.  I spoke to my classes, my husband's students and many faculty and staff and we shared tears and stories together.  It was a much more comfortable place for me to be fully real with people and for me, an emotionally expressive person, this worked well.  Over 2 1/2 years later, people still talk about my husband and mention his name, reminisce about him, mention how they miss his wisdom, and talk about his accomplishments.  I'm grateful for this, even though I am constantly reminded of what I have lost. 

I agree that it isn't easy to focus at work and be as productive as I once was.  I also know that work and school have helped me focus and put one foot in front of the other.  These early weeks and months are hard.  Be gentle with yourself as you navigate back into the work environment.

Hugs,

Maureen
Life is short.  Love with all you've got. 

Barry 11/29/55-9/22/09       John  1/16/57-1/11/14

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jlhallgamer

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Re: Return to work?
« Reply #7 on: September 18, 2016, 06:25:36 PM »
I returned part time after 2 weeks and 2 more after that until I was back to full time. To this day (2 months in) I still dread going into work most mornings. I do it obviously for the money, but also to keep me busy.

mbanyard

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Re: Return to work?
« Reply #8 on: September 18, 2016, 10:08:42 PM »
I was not given much (any) choice in when I was to go back to work. My bosses simply said...you have 2 weeks no questions asked and that I was expected back to work on X date.

I was not given the option of any type of part days or transition, or indeed any real compassion of any kind. I was chastised my first week because I was "caught" quietly crying at my desk while a document printed. The second week I was given an Estate File to work on. (I work in a law firm). There were 4 other people that could have taken that file, but it was given to me on purpose.

I am pretty angry and bitter on the whole this week, but I know that I was not ready to go back to work. I had no choice though if I wanted to keep my job.

I hope your employers are more sensitive to your needs at this most horrific time,
MB
We either make ourselves miserable, or we make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same....and I choose strong!

Wheelerswife

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Re: Return to work?
« Reply #9 on: September 18, 2016, 10:42:55 PM »
mbanyard,

An estate file...that is just plain mean.  I'm sorry you have been handed such an insensitive case right now.

I understand the there is business to do but where is human decency?

How many employees does your company have?  Are you eligible for FMLA?  My doctor was willing to complete paperwork for me under a grief/exhaustion type of diagnosis after my first husband died.  I had already used all of my paid leave, but I kept my benefits. 

If your law firm is small, your employer might be exempt, though.

Hugs,

Maureen

Life is short.  Love with all you've got. 

Barry 11/29/55-9/22/09       John  1/16/57-1/11/14

Empathy  Developer  Responsibility  Adaptability Connectedness

jlhallgamer

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ka
« Reply #10 on: September 19, 2016, 04:30:26 AM »
I'm so sorry about what your employer has done to you. That is not right at all. I wonder how they would feel to lose a spouse and have to put up with what you are. I hope everything works out for you though.

TornApart

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Re: Return to work?
« Reply #11 on: September 19, 2016, 08:06:24 PM »
It is always a personal choice, as others have said. It depends on your circumstances and your job. I went back after 4-5 weeks and was part-time for a few weeks as I built up my endurance. But I wish I had taken more time off, adn listened to my heart, which was telling me to give myself a break. Everyone wanted me to go back to work because the routine was meant to help. It might have done for a while, but 18 months later I was desperate and took 3 months off work. I needed to grieve and give myself to adjust and to cry whenever I needed to rather than holding myself together. I had figure out who the new me, the widowed me was.

It sounds trite, but you will make the right choice if you listen to your body, your heart, your soul. They are all very confused right now and will be for a while, but at the core, they know what you need. It may be the routine of work or it may be time to grieve.
"When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight." Kahlil Gibran

Julester3

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Re: Return to work?
« Reply #12 on: September 19, 2016, 09:25:04 PM »
My husband died the night of April 7th. I did not go back to work until May 2nd. I needed to be sure I got my kids settled okay. I had them stay home all day Friday and the entire following week before sending them back to school.

Going back kept me occupied really. It sucked having to go back full time after 12 years of part time. Giving them the additional 2 hours every day than what I was accustomed to just so I could afford the health insurance for my kids was worth it but hard because I simply wasn't used to it. I find I am more exhausted because of it and more stretched out.

mbanyard

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Re: Return to work?
« Reply #13 on: September 20, 2016, 10:18:00 PM »
Thanks all. It makes me feel marginally better to know that you are as appalled as I am about this.

Not only have I been handed that estate file, I was expected to stay in a room today while to my bosses talked about somebody who "dropped dead."

These people have not a clue between the 9 of them with respect to being sensitive in this situation. If I hear the words "dead|, "death" , "cremation" etc too many more times, then I'm going to snap.

My psychologist is a personal friend of the managing partner of this firm, which has no benefits at all. I am going to speak with her this week and, hopefully, she'll put a word in with the BIG boss and it'll be handled.

Thank you all for your support of what has been so, SO hard.

Misty
We either make ourselves miserable, or we make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same....and I choose strong!

Julester3

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Re: Return to work?
« Reply #14 on: September 20, 2016, 10:51:54 PM »
Oh man, that is about as insensitive as you can get. I hope your idea pans out. Someone needs to give these people a clue. I had a coworker say to me how he's glad I was taking over more leadership roles and how he's over 60 and he can drop drop dead any minute. I just stopped the conversation and said, "Seriously? That's what you have to say to me?" I turned my chair around and then cut him off. Conversation over. 2 days later he came back to my office to apologize because he just literally realized what he said to me. I told him I don't waste time or energy over idiocies like that because I can't afford to and I was more disappointed that it took him 2 complete days to realize he was a jackass.