Grief & work.

My beautiful Mum passed away suddenly and very unexpectedly 19th June 22 from a fatal heart attack in her own home . I am truly heartbroken & miss her so much . I’m struggling to cope not just with the sudden loss of Mum but the trauma of experiencing her death. My sister & I were holding her hand whilst 4 paramedics fought like hell to save her life but sadly she slipped away. We then stayed with Mum for nearly 5 hours waiting for the police & funeral directors. It was heartbreaking.
I feel very low , very sad & keep replaying what happened on that fateful morning in my head.
I was due to return to work today but I just can’t cope with the nature of my work which is working in Occupational Therapy in Social Care in the community with the elderly , frail & vulnerable adults . I feel emotionally to exhausted to deal with the stress of my job & mentally quite unwell at this present time but I now feel guilty for going off sick. I just feel I need more time to grieve & time to seek support from my GP ( who I’ve contacted today & are waiting for a call back).
Does anybody else have experience of taking time off work following the loss of a loved one but then feel guilty ?
In my head I feel people are thinking I should be fit to go back to work after a month but I really don’t feel mentally well at this present time.
Thank you for listening. X


Hello florence1
My wife passed in to glory in February. I waited to after her birthday in April before I started back to work. (I work for the ambulance service in a non front line staff) I have not been able to stick it. My boss and colleagues have been fully behind me. Protecting me from others. I’m back out from June due back in next week. No one has written a book on how to feel and act. My wife had a wee saying” You do You” which means do what you need to do for you and no one else. This group has really helped me.


Hello Florence 1.
I’m so sorry for your loss . You mustn’t do anything that doesn’t feel comfortable , do it in your own time. My mum passed away 13 months ago and i am still struggling with depression and anxiety . We are all different and deal with it in our own way and time so please take more time for you. Take care.
Love Angie xx

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Hi Florence1

I’m sorry to hear about the sudden loss of your mum. I lost my mum suddenly to a massive brain haemorrhage in June 2019 and I was initially given 2 weeks special leave but it wasn’t enough.

I saw my GP and was signed off for a month initially which was extended three times. In the end I forced myself back to work 4 months after losing my mum.

I was scared that I would never return if I didn’t go back but I still wasn’t ready. The trauma of losing my mum added to the misery of living without her has absolutely changed me as a person.

I had a phased return to full hours and was probably not capable of full time and meaningful work for 6 months in total.

Take what you need and get help from your GP.

Cheryl x

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Thank you so much for sharing your experience of such a traumatic time with us, @Florence1.

We can see that you are still hurting. If you need longer than this off work, then that is a sensible thing to ask for - there is unfortunately not a one size fits all solution.

You’ve done a very sensible thing by contacting your GP for support.

Take care of yourself and feel free to keep reaching out for support from this community. We are here to help and to share experiences.


So sorry for your loss. Sudden death is shocking at the best of times but to physically be in attendance and observe medics working on your loved one is extremely traumatic.
I lost my dear husband of 25 good years in April 22. He was in hospital for routine tests and collapsed with a cardiac arrest. I found the six days he was in ICU really traumatic because I hated seeing him ventilated and knew he had already ‘gone’. The staff were amazingly supportive, but ultimately we walk this path alone.
I work for the NHS and worried about going sick. In the end I could not cope and took 10 weeks off sick. I returned to worked recently, everyone was fine but I struggled to focus, I am forgetful and fibd thd ehole bereavement process exausting. I really miss my dear hubby, especially as I now have to put my house up for sale as my hubby could not get life insurance due to longterm respiratory/cardiac/kidney and diabetes. I cannot pay the mortgage on my salary.
I have accepted I have to move but my life has changed so dramatically in three months and I miss my husband.
One day at a time for me.
Hang in there sweety, if you are really struggling please take time off work to rest and help process your mums death. Good luck x



Your situation sounds so similar to mine but I wasn’t with mum when it first happened but my sister was. They managed to get a pulse but it was 30 mins later and too late. So 3 days later she came off life support with us all beside her. The shock was immense and crippling. The anxiety… I was off work for 5 months and have only recently gone back on reduced hours. Then crippling anxiety is a lot better now but the emotional pain….
You need to do what’s right for you. If you don’t feel ready, don’t push yourself

Nic xx


Hi Florence, So sorry for your loss. I lost my beloved Mum in 2012, then my most cherished younger sister 4 years on. I was also holding my sister’s hand when she slipped away as they were doing CPR.
I also work in Social Services as a Mental Health Counselor and relate to the need to be fully there for our patients. I always used my work as a distraction, and to some degree it helped when my Mum died. However after losing my sister and experiencing PTSD from the trauma of watching her die, I was not ready to return to work. I was devastated, depleted, and had nothing left to give to others. However, like you I felt guilty, and against my own gut feeling & other’s advice I jumped back in. It was a disaster. I was on the verge of tears every day, and often had to run off to hide and sob. I was hyper-sensitive and had no defense against some people’s mindless cliches and impatience with my vulnerability. I had a tyrant of a boss who pushed me harder when I could barely get through a day. My point is, do not rush back, but take care of yourself. You must begin to heal, and need not feel guilty like I did. Others may judge but they are not in our shoes. Throwing myself back into work, only served to impede my grief process. You deserve what ever time you need. Take care. Xxx


Thank you everybody for your kind words & understanding. Thank you also for sharing your experiences , as sad & heartbreaking as they are .
I’ve taken a few more weeks off with support from my GP & will see how I am coping nearer the time. The pain , grief & loss are unbearable at times yet still we manage to wake up & face it … Sending fondest love to you all . X

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Hi Florence,
my husband died in March 2021, I went back to work after 7 weeks. My GP would have signed me off longer but I got to a point if I didn’t go back I was afraid I never would.
Where I worked lots of my colleagues knew my husband well, so I had lots of support from my colleagues and employer. The first day I went in I cried all the way to work but after the first few days it got easier to cope.
But as @Spaniels2 said I’m not the same person at work I once was, I struggle to concentrate and focus. A job I once loved is just a way to pay my bills.
Don’t go back until you are ready.
Debbie X

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