Bereaved spouses and partners

A place for widows and widowers to share their feelings and support one another.

Advice if poss

Moostersmum40
Posted by

Hi there

I want advice about going back to work, i have been off since the week before Lee passed away so 6 weeks and i have next week as well.

I am stock controller/stores supervisor for a very busy operating theatre store room (ironically where my husband had most of his treatments) and it is very busy and can be stressful. My current boss had a promotion in November from a role below me (i didnt want the job) and so she doesnt have my experience in the stores but does in other areas. We promoted from within the store room into her role so again that lady is inexperienced. We only have 4 doing the everyday stuff do to a job freeze (this is the nhs!).

I feel like i need to be doing something every day, my kids are back at school and college but dont want to go back and be overwhelmed, especially with my father in law being ill and my MIL being on her own. Again though my FIL is in the hospital where i work.

My GP has said he can do a phased return for me and i have 5 days leave left to take before the end of March.

I just wanted to see who had already gone back to work and how they found it? I know we are all different.

Thanks

Erica

Ruby Diamond
Posted by

Hi Erica. 

I too am off work. I had sick notes to cover me while my husband was ill but then spoke to my line manager and requested 12 months leave unpaid to come to terms with everything. I work in a care home which does deal with end of life care!! 

This leave is up at the end of May. I have decided I won't return. Like you my children are back at school and after school classes so there is a busy routine for me to cope with. Some days I do housework, see friends, go for walks, and then other days I don't want to do anything but things for the children.

At some point I will return to a job but for now I feel happy with my decision  You must decide what's best for you and your family.

We all know how life can change in a moment

  • Ruby diamond x
Rach96
Posted by

Hi Erica,

I was on sick leave from my job looking after children for 4 weeks. I then arranged with my employer to take 3 months unpaid leave to care for my partner who had a GBM4. He deteriorated and died just at the start of my unpaid leave in January.

My first thought ( and other people's) was to get back to work to gain some normality. As like you everyone else went back to uni etc. But I am really struggling with the realisation that he's not coming back. I'm glad I didn't rush into going back as you never know how you're going to be feeling from day to day. 

I'm due to go back beginning of April on a phased return for a couple of weeks. At the moment everything I do is overwhelming as they are firsts without him. Like you I am apprehensive about going back, will I be able to cope etc but I  guess we'll never know until we take those first steps.

Best wishes X 

Academicallyblonde
Posted by

I went back to work a week ago. I’d been off since the beginning of December when my husband began his final decline. Although I love my job, I am finding it exhausting and overwhelming as a lone parent. (My daughter is 4). In an ideal world, I would be a stay at home mum to my daughter. But I am only 38 and am currently trying to buy my first home (thanks to my late husband’s life insurance money). So I’m trying to push on and focus on the future I want for my daughter and myself. We can’t have that if I don’t work.

Valers
Posted by

My husband died in March last year and I went back to work three weeks later. I thought it would be best to keep busy and was scared what would happen if I stayed at home. Initially this worked well. I went back to work full time and was promoted. However, the tiredness and physical effects of grief weighed heavily on me. I ignored it and my go wasn’t much help. In January this year it all got too much, I just wanted to run away from this life I now had and couldnut focus on my job. I found a new supportive doctor and am taking sertraline which is helpful. The time off has given my body time to recuperate and my mind time to think. I am now on a phased return to work.

i went back to work too quickly but I felt it was right for me at the time. It’s hard to know what to do in these situations. I can’t say when is the best time to go to work but a phased return is a good one. I would also say talk to your employers, mine are very good and are taking it a day at a time at the moment.

Dutsie
Posted by

Hi Erica,

I went back to work what seems like almost straightaway in the New Year. I had no choice in this as my husband and I ran a small business together.

There was no getting away from it for me and my colleagues have subsequently said I really was not there in the early days. However, that was due to going back sooner than what was ideal for me.

Hardest day was emptying Richard's office. I donated the furniture to the local hospice that helped us both last year.

What helped me was to do the mundane tasks as concentration was an issue and sometimes still is now.  I have already mentioned the emotional and physical toll in other posts. I also did/do not work full time as energy levels were and still are low. Saying that I have just done a work related email tonight!

Phased return to work sounds like a great idea when you are ready. Perhaps you can use your days off to work a shorter week? Make it work for you...

Only you know when you are ready. On the plus side we all have to embrace changes to make the most of time now.  There will be difficult times which is normal but slowly things will improve. I sometimes don't want to go to work but the alternative of not doing much is not a great option too. I am grateful for normal conversations/office banter that eases things. And in most part colleagues/clients are very understanding.

Hope all goes well and take care of yourself Xx

Sarah2nd
Posted by

Hi Erica 

I also work in an nhs hospital & had real concerns about how I might cope going back to work as the very sight of the building would reduce me to tears. I went back 6 weeks after my husband died. 

My boss has been great to me & actually because my colleagues have been too I have felt quite ‘safe’ at work rather than stressed out, although they gave me the less challenging stuff for quite a while. It has actually been a very good thing for me & I didn’t expect to feel like that. 

However, I do work part time & if I’m honest that has had a lot to do with how I have coped, if it had been full time I would’ve struggled far more, but that’s only me. 

Do what feels right for you~ if you can do phased  return you can at least see how you feel as you won’t really know till you try.  Wishing you loads of luck, let us know how it goes 

Sarah x

Wife0f26years
Posted by

Dear all I went back week after as my daughter and family that stayed over went back. I didn't want to be in the house on my own.

Work were very accommodating  and really supportive also I was part time. It was hard having "normal" conversation  and general chit chat but I got through. Ultimately  it depends on your feelings, having that option to a take a break if it's difficult. The support you feel and obviously finances. 

I am now looking at other options as it's  strange but now it's mostly me on my own. Daughter at college and getting on with things job ect.

Can you go in and discuss things or talk to H.R dept? Take care and don't rush it xxx

Brockhawk
Posted by

Hi

This is my first post. My darling wife passed away on 6th Feb and I'm planning on returning to work next Monday. Not sure how I feel about it. It'll be a phased return. Feel more like hiding away but don't think that's much of a plan.

Brockhawk
Wife0f26years
Posted by

Hi Brockhawk sorry to hear about your wife hope this group can support you through. All the best on your phased return hope your colleagues are understanding 

Brockhawk
Posted by

Thank you so much. I'm sure they will be. I'll let you know. Just reading your and others post makes me emotional. Miss her and find it so hard to imagine life without her. 

Brockhawk
Sarah2nd
Posted by

Hi Brockhawk

We get it here, we really do & I am so very sorry for your loss.  Sometimes going back to work does help as a distraction & it can anchor us in the here & now which is a good thing, even if we naturally want to do nothing but sit & think all day. 

I felt that work also stopped me from just being pulled downwards, it’s another reason to get up & get going in the morning & the structure to the day does help.

This whole journey is about baby steps though & it’s very early days for you. Even baby steps add up & gradually you will have lighter moments & some better days , I know it doesn’t sound remotely possible right now but it gradually happens just like daylight sneaks into the day, I promise you. 

Keep posting here if it can help you, as often as you like, it does help to just be honest with people who know exactly what you’re going through. 

Big hugs to you & anyone who else who needs it today 

Sarah x

Brockhawk
Posted by

So, been back at work 2 days now. Seems a bit surreal. Distracted for a while but get moments of "but she's not here (alive) anymore, is just me". Can't call up over lunch and chat, see how she is, what we're doing. If this is the new "normal" then I don't want it.

Brockhawk
Wife0f26years
Posted by

I'm so sorry you are feeling like this but completely understand