Going back to work after losing my Mum

Hi All,

This will be my 5th week of life without my Mum. The circle has almost come to a close, Mum has passed, her ashes are back with us, we’ve closed her bank account, and closed the door on the home we once shared together, forever.

I took March off work to care for Mum (alongside my brother and sister) as she was coming to the end of her life, April was to take care of any affairs, clear Mums home, sort all paperwork, wait for a cremation date.

Now I’ve requested another 4 weeks off to try and take care of myself and establish some sort of “new normal” where I live a life without my Mum in it. Work have seemingly been very supportive thus far, and I’ve often mentioned that I want to come back as soon as I can. I often worry I’ve taken too much time, and wonder if they will just sack me when I get back as they’ve managed without me for so long.

Today will be the first day whereby nothing is happening, nor do I have anyone to be “present” for. My sister is ok, my brother is in Sweden with his family I could turn my phone off if I wanted… its my first day where I can do what I want and do it all for me… and I’ve haven’t done much at all.

Each day is difficult in one way or another. I cry often. I feel sick and anxious often, but I am eating well! Looking at Mums photo, running my finger across her ashes, hearing a song that reminds me of her, wanting to call her and speak to her and suddenly remembering I cant… my brain hasnt quite realised she is gone, even though I was with her when she took her last breath, I held her hand until she was taken by Pure Cremation… and still my mind cannot compute, and doesnt seem to to want to compute, that she is truly gone forever. But despite all this I need to get back to some sort of routine, a reason to get out of bed. My Mum wanted this for me, and to get back to normal as soon as I can and to not let her passing hold me back in any way.

My question is… does anyone have any advice on how to navigate going back to work? My main concern is focus… which I currently cannot. And my other is just not wanting to speak to anyone? I am a secretary and I pride myself on my communication skills, but currently… I feel like any one I speak to outside of my support circle, annoys me, with their banal, inane issues… which sounds awful, but everything feels so SMALL compared to my overwhelming and gargantuan grief.


I’m sorry for you’re loss, I lost my mum yesterday and also wondering about what to do with work I’m really struggling at the moment. I lost my dad 11 years ago and that was hard enough I’m 43 and I really don’t know what to do at the moment.

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I lost my mum today in the early hours and I feel the same grief you’re describing. I sat with her for 10 hours each day but I left and she died 4 hours later. I thought if I didn’t get some sleep I wouldn’t be able to sit with her the following day but I do regret it. It’s all I can think of.


I’m so sorry for the loss of your Mum. Sending you love. It is not uncommon for someone to pass when their family are not there. It’s like they don’t want to cause them distress. I know of lots of people this happened to including myself. My Mum had 5 of us taking it in turns to be sitting alongside her for weeks before she died but she chose to pass away when her Carers arrived when none of was with her. I believe she was trying to protect us. Your Mum knew you were there for her and would have known how much you loved her. Take some comfort from that. X

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Thank you so much for saying that, so sweet of you to take the time. Of all the memories I have if my mum it’s all I can think of, but I must get over that as it is so much more important to remember her happy. So sorry about your own loss x

Hi again

When the time is right for you, will think of the more positive memories. It’s so very early days so of course, it’s such a strong memory/image. Your Mum knew she was loved dearly by you as you were by her. Nothing will ever take that away from you. Your are part of her now and forever. Xx

Thank you, what you said was very lovely x

I just want to share this with you in the hope it will bring you some comfort. It has helped me.

The living wish the dead peace
The dead wish the living peace too


Hi, I hope you are ok. I lost my mum 4 weeks ago and spent the last 5 years caring for her until she went into hospital in Dec 23, then hospice in March this year. I went back this week to work but it’s not easy, but I’m lucky I’m surrouned by colleagues who are very supportive and let me grieve if I need a moment. Thankfully I wait until I go home to have those moments, It’s totally horrific, and I thought I was coping ok, but I’ve fell apart tonight and I miss her so much. I’m realising that some days will be better than others but going back to work gives me some sort of different normality.

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Hi Dylis, I feel your pain so much. My mum died 4 weeks ago, so many hospital appointments over the last 5 years. On her last day in the hospice I spent all day with her, I decided to go home at 5.30pm for a break and she died at 5.45.I feel so sad that iI wasn’t there, but people tell me that she was waiting for me to go so she would spare me the pain of watching her take her last breath. We spend a lot of time giving ourselves grief on things we can’t control, but it’s hard and I’m taking one day at a time, it’s all I can do but I miss her so much, take care of yourself.

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I’m so sorry for the loss of your dear Mum. With regard to her passing when you were not with her I believe it’s quite a common thing. It’s like they don’t want to put us through any more pain. It happened with my Mum and with her Mum, 2 of my sisters and 2 sister in laws and countless friends/acquaintances. My daughter is a Nurse in a Hospice and she says it happens a lot. . Sending you love xx


Thank you for your kind words x

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Oh I’m so sorry for your loss xx It seems so important to us to be there at the very end yet so difficult to achieve. It’s still very recent for you since your mum died, how are you coping? I’m just on day 2 and I’m spending most of my time lying down not feeling very well and unable to engage with the world. It’s like I’ve moved into a completely different world, and not a nice one. I have no energy to do all the things I need to do. I just wish I could go to sleep for a year and wake up feeling better.

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I’m glad that work helps you. I’ll also have to go back soon but at the moment I have no energy or ability to concentrate. I was also very close to my mum and it was a privilege but also makes the loss that much greater.

That is lovely, thank you so much for sharing that xx

Dylis im so sorry for your loss. Its 6 months for me and still difficult. Thinking of her constantly work stops me going over things in my head.
Take your time, eat and sleep for however long you need.look after yourself xx

Thank you xx at the moment it feels like I’ll feel like this forever. I’m finding it hard to get up and get dressed or wash my face. I can’t make myself do anything. And I just feel so tired. I suppose I just have to push through x

Let us know how you get on Blake x