Back to work

Hello everyone, another day on this journey that we never bought a ticket for! My son died in an accident and I am back to work tomorrow. I’m dreading it and my heart rate is galloping at the moment. I don’t want to leave the environment I’ve been in. I don’t want to have to mix with people that have no idea. People who are looking forward to Xmas. People who will probably think I’m better now I’m back. I’m also a bit angry at the system we have that offers no support to someone who has worked for 35 yrs. It’s work or starve basically! I feel I’m doing my son an injustice by agreeing to return to a part of ‘normal’ life but I have no choice. So many mixed emotions. Has anyone any thoughts on this or advice. Love to all x

Dear Orchard

I m sorry to read about your son and that he died in an accident. This must have been an awful shock for you and not at all easy to accept or understand.

Going back to work is a huge thing to have to do, horrible returning as you say to people who just do not understand. Are you returning to work full time or with a more flexible arrangement, a later start and earlier finish? If you do not feel ready to return to work is there any way you could get your doctor to certificate you for a bit longer? I know the latter feels like you are putting off the return but if you need that then that is more important.

I agree completely about a system which is so harsh on those grieving. It seems to be completely down to individual companies how they treat (and value) their staff. I have heard of people being forced to return to work mere days later whilst others are allowed a few weeks.

I found the anticipation worse than the reality of returning to work. People were sympathetic but left me be to get through each day. I was allowed to start back part time for a couple of weeks which made a big difference to me.

I am not sure if this is any help but do see if you can written off tomorrow if it feels too much. Stuff other people and what they may think, you are the important one.

Please take care of yourself and keep coming back to this site. There are lots of people here who understand and kind.


Thank you Mel for your reply and kind words. I’m horrified to read of people having to return to work within days. I just couldn’t have done it. I have to say my company have been very good to me. I’ve been off from July and working from home from September, so I can’t ask for much more. My son was my world, my pride and I miss him so much. I brought him up on my own so have no partner to lean on. But I know he would want me to keep living so I have to keep trying. I am returning part time until Xmas so that is good to. I wish everyone on here the strength to keep going…x

Hello Orchard. I am so sorry for your terrible loss. I can understand your nervousness about going back to work and Mel is right in saying that the anticipation is worse than the reality. Honestly, work has been my saviour. I only had a month off after losing my husband in June 2017. I felt if I had taken any longer I would really have struggled to go back at all so I had to just up and do it, both for my sanity and financially. Obviously the first day back was the worst with seeing people for the first time and lots of hugs and tears. But work has been my place of ‘normal’ - my only place of ‘normal’ - it gives me another focus, a distraction from my overwhelming grief. Going back was nowhere near as bad as I had anticipated and generally people are very loving and supportive.

Remember, that returning to work doesn’t mean you’re over your loss as you never will be. Nor is it disrespectful to your son. You are left living, therefore you have to live, you have no choice in this. It’s not the life we would choose but it is a life.

I hope it goes as well as it can for you tomorrow and I shall think of you. Let us know how you get on. Sending love xx

Thank you Kate for your kind and wise words. I know you’re right, the house can become a sanctuary very easily. And it’s easy to shut the door in front of you! But my son wouldn’t want me to do that. And I guess if I can bury my child, I can do this. I’ll let you know how it goes…x

Will be thinking of you tomorrow. Hope it goes better than you anticipate.
I know what you mean about feeling that doing something normal is an injustice to your dear son. I feel that whenever I smile. Really, however, we are not doing anything normal. We are doing what we have to do because we are left here. I think it will take a long time to find our new normal, new really meaning different. It will be different because it will be a way of living with our grief while continuing to function.
I too really don’t want to think about Christmas. I want to ignore it but family are determined it will go ahead and that I will enjoy it. My child is missed all day every day so I’m thinking that Christmas is just another of those days. We’ll see.
Let us know how you get on at work.
With love x

Hi Orchard. How was your first day back at work - I’ve been thinking of you. Xx

Hello Kate, how lovely of you to ask and to be thinking of me. I have to say everyone was really nice to me. There were tears and I also got a bouquet of flowers. It was strange though, I hope I will remember how to do things for I’m not sure my brain is working as it did. It unsettled me a little to, it’s a world I was last in when my son was alive. It feels like I’m leaving him behind but I don’t have any choice. It did feel better to be out of the house for a while though. A whole mixture of emotions!! Which is something we all can identify with on this journey. I went to his grave after and told him all about it. I know he would approve. Hope you get through today. Take care, love and a hug xx

It sounds as if your work colleagues were kind and understanding. The first day back cannot have been easy but you got through it. I’m sure your dear boy would be proud of you.
With hugs x

Oh well done you. That’s the first day done and you did it. It sounds like your colleagues were very thoughtful. However, sometimes it’s the kindness that sets us off and brings on the tears. Lovely that you went to tell your son about it afterwards - keep talking to him…much love xx

Hi Orchard,

Well done. A big step going back to work and it sounds as if your colleagues were kind. Agree too much kindness can make things worse. I am like mush if ill and someone asks if I am OK, tears and tissues everywhere.

Anyway yesterday is now over and your colleagues will not forget. Just don’t worry if you have a wobble some days. If possible find somewhere quiet where you can have a sit down for a few minutes.

That is a lovely thing to do to go and tell your son how it went. I haven’t been back to see where my Mum’s ashes were interred since. I find it too painful but aske comfort that my Dad’s ashes are there too so they are together.

You take care too, love and hugs back

Orchard how are you getting on at work? X

Hello matella, it’s lovely to hear from you and to know you are thinking of me. I have mixed feelings about work. Overall it’s probably been the right decision for me. The brain is kicking into gear again. It’s given me a focus every day. On the other hand I sometimes stop and think of my son and then I say ‘what are you doing working when your son is dead’ and it just seems incredible. I suppose I haven’t accepted his death yet. I don’t really accept I won’t see or talk to him again, how can you. But he would be the first to say well done for getting back. How are you getting on? Every day is just another day to get through isn’t it… Geraldine x

I’m glad you at least feel that it is right for you but I do understand that you feel amazed you can work in the aftermath of losing your son.
If anyone had asked me how I would cope with the death of my child I would have said that I would lie on the floor and scream for the rest of my life. However, somehow we do have to function don’t we?
I too don’t yet accept that I will not see or chat with my daughter ever again. It’s too much to bear and doesn’t feel real.
Hope you have a reasonable day tomorrow. Xx

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