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Going Back to Work after the Loss of a Loved One


The only thing which is constant in life is change. No one can tell what the future holds for them or whether or not they will even live to see the next day. Death is something that can make a huge difference, especially in the lives of the loved ones of the deceased. If you are going back to work you need to think in a realistic way about your situation now.

The death of a loved one often leaves people feeling a sense of emptiness in their hearts. If you are someone who has just lost loved ones and if all the rituals have been completed, it is finally time to go back to work.

going back to workHere are a few tips to deal with grief at work or help bereaved employees to return to work after this devastating experience.

How to Deal with Grief When You Still Have to Work:

The following mentioned are few tips to deal with grief and loss while going back to work.

1. Take enough time to grieve:

No one claims that dealing with the loss of a loved one is an easy thing to do. Different people respond differently to the death of a loved one.

For some people, this death works as a catalyst to bring out the best in them, whereas for some people the death leaves them in no frame of mind to do any kind of constructive work for a considerable period.

Based on the kind of person you are, you should take your time accordingly. If you work in a company that truly values you, then they will give you the time to grieve and return when you feel like you are in the proper frame of mind.

2. Do not try and hide your feelings:

One of the worst things to do when you experience the loss of a loved one is to hide your feelings and constantly try to put on a brave face such that you do not upset any of your other friends or family members.

Doing something like this is very unhealthy indeed. Break down and cry as much as you need to, as long as you express yourself and vent out what you are feeling.

If you rush back to work without having given yourself time to come to terms with what has happened, then you will find that at some point in the future you will experience an emotional breakdown.

3. Spend some time with your family and friends:

If you have lost a dear friend or family member then at such a time it is advisable that you surround yourself with the people who you love so that they can give you a shoulder to cry on and even give you words for support Since they know exactly what you are going through they can be there for you in this hour of great psychological strife.

When something like this happens, let them be there for you and in turn, be there for them. Talk to them about what they think you should go back to work and even ask them for some tips to help you.

4. Make the transition over a while:

If the death of the loved one has been sudden and rather shocking, then your mind is by no means ready to deal with other shocks or sudden changes.

It is for this reason that you ought to make your transition, back to work over a while, so that you suddenly do not get jerked out of your comfort zone. Ask your manager if he is okay with you working from home for the first few days.

If you need some help pertaining all that has happened in your absence then inquire with your co workers who will be more than willing to help you.

5. Think of going back to work as something positive:

What many people do not think of is that going back to work after the loss of a loved one is rather positive. If you are at home, with nothing to do, chances are that your mind is always going back to thoughts of that individual and you are going to find yourself reminiscing about the ‘good old times’.

If you go back to work, you will not immerse your mind in thoughts like this and rather you will be able to put your mind to some better use. Keeping yourself distracted will help you a great deal.

6. Speaking to a counselor is a good idea:

Coping with the loss of a loved one is as it is a tough thing to do. Going back to work after experiencing trauma like this is an even tougher task. At such a time many people find no solace in speaking to loved ones as friends.

If you are someone who would not like to burden your friends or family members with your mental woes, you should seek the services of a skilled professional like a counselor who will be able to help you immensely. He or she will tell you exactly what you need to hear at such a point in time.

7. Do not take on too much work as you return to work:

As mentioned above, work will serve as a good distraction for you and it will help you to get back on your feet. This having been stated, you must ensure that in the attempt to entirely submerge your feelings, you need not take on all too much work.

You must ensure that you take up only a limited amount of work. If you do not take care of yourself then sooner or later it is sure to affect your health. Doing something like this is nothing but asking for trouble, especially after already going through so much.

8. Do not go spreading the word about too much:

The loss of a loved one is certainly a big deal, but at the same time, it is a rather personal thing. You ought not to go about broadcasting the news to any and everyone as that is going to seem rather silly.

You would not want people treating you differently because you have lost someone nor would you like people in your workplace to think that it is all a joke for you. Remember, no matter what you do the person cannot come back so you are better off keeping the information to yourself.

9. Try and be professional at the workplace:

Any top company expects its employees to act professionally at all points in time. They frown upon it when their employees walk into the office and share extensively their issues.

It is therefore advisable that you do not think of going back to work after losing loved ones, especially if you feel like you are just too vulnerable then. If even after enduring so much pain, you put on a brave front in the workplace you are sure to greatly impress your boss and seniors.

10. Do not expect others at work to share in your feelings:

Most often when you lose a loved one, everyone tries to be sympathetic to your plight and they offer their heartfelt condolences. This is the norm across the globe and at such a time it is unlikely that anyone will be rude or mean to you.

However nowadays, the business world has become rather cutthroat and people have lost touch with their genuine emotions, so just because you have lost a loved one, do not expect others to share in your grief and understand everything from your point of view. At the end of the day, work in the office still needs to go on, no matter what.

11. At no point, demand preferential treatment:

The first few days back at the office are most certainly going to be the hardest. At such a time, you ought to ensure that you are giving your best and trying to meet all the deadlines which are assigned to you.

It is better to simply take on less rather than trying to seek preferential treatment from others, because of what has just transpired in your life. People who make use of such an event to gain a few brownie points are low and detestable.

12. Do not indulge yourself too much:

As has been mentioned above, taking your time to grieve is very important indeed. Yet this having been said, ensure that you do not indulge yourself too much and start using the death as an excuse for any and everything, whether it is in the personal or professional front.

In the workplace, your excuses will probably be accepted for a while, but beyond that, they are sure to show you the door. Convince yourself that you are a strong person who will not let this hurdle stand in the way of you achieving success.

13. Read some inspirational books to help you:

Going back to work might seem like something too tough to do given the circumstances. Yet it is something which sooner or later does need to be done. To help you along the way, you can consider reading some inspirational books so that you can mentally prepare yourself to return to your place of work.

Books offer us a wealth of information and they can give us wisdom at times when we feel weak and frail. Read a famous autobiography to get some inspiration in such a situation.

14. Be a little patient with yourself:

It is needless to say that after losing someone you will not be physically nor mentally very active. Chances are that you will be rather drained and sleep deprived. You will find that everything you do, will remind you in some form or the other of the person you have lost.

It is for this very reason that you need to be patient with yourself once you return to work and not lose hope. The moment you lose hope and let go of yourself or your faculties that will be a point of no return.

It is imperative to accept the loss as something which is a part of life, which everyone goes through at some point of time or the other.

15. Do not take out your pent up anger on someone else:

After losing a loved one, many people doubt the very existence of God and many even get angry with God for doing such a thing.

If you are someone who feels angry at the loss of the loved one and feel like Fate has played a cruel trick on you, then you shouldn’t take out your anger on other people at the workplace as that is just going to upset them and make them feel bad.

Yet if by chance, you happen to lose your temper, go to the person and apologize once you cool down.

16. Do not expect the pain to just disappear one fine day:

Finally, once you go back to work, do not think that this pain will suddenly go away one fine day. Chances are that it will continue to haunt you for a considerable period.

You must learn to not let this get to you; rather let the long and good memories with that person bring out the positive attributes in you.

Helpful Suggestions To Deal With Grief In The Workplace:

Giving adequate room for grief is also vital to a person’s well-being. This is something that can be prepared somewhat prior to a loved one’s death,” explains Susan Fraser of In the Light Urns.

Going back or moving on is the biggest challenge when someone very near to you leaves you forever. Every person born on this earth has to die someday or the other, and nothing can be done about it. Though it sounds obvious but accepting the death of our loved ones will not be that easy to accept.

No matter what, life must go on, as the extreme grief and agony which you undergo will not cover up your loss. Moreover, such emotions will also have an effect on others who are close to you. So you need to attain courage and balance your personal and professional life.

Here are a few tips and strategies that help you Returning To Work While Grieving,

  1. Focus on work
  2. Being productive
  3. Make yourself busy
  4. Take the help of others
  5. Being honest
  6. Forgive if others response sounds weird
  7. Control yourself from saying anything harsh
  8. Accept the benefits your company provides you at such times
  9. Find a place where you can relax and destress


Coming to terms with the fact that you have just lost someone so dear to you is never an easy thing to do. After you have given yourself a fair bit of time to deal with your pain, you must try your best to get back to reality and move on with your life.

The more you go into a shell, the tougher it is going to be for you to try and return to work later on. Initially, things will be rather tough for you but as time moves on you will learn to be content with the beautiful memories which you have of that person.