Is there ever a right time to return to work after a bereavement?

The thing is, it’s just really hard to know what to do with yourself, isn’t it?” Sarah asks. It’s been exactly three weeks since her dad passed away, and two weeks and six days since she returned to work. For the 24 hours she took off in between, she says, “I just watched dreadful Netflix shows to be honest. I went back to work the next day. I needed a distraction. A semblance of normality. I can’t remember a thing about those next few days.”

Sarah, from London, who works in marketing, lost her Dad a year after he was diagnosed with dementia. The decline had been slow at first, then suddenly imminent: “We got a call on the Sunday before he died to say he had significantly deteriorated, and by Tuesday he was gone.” It was hard to make sense of it, she says, despite the death being somewhat expected. “Everyone at work keeps asking, ‘why are you here?’. It feels a bit like a judgement, but right now, I don’t know how I feel.” Sometimes the only thing to do is what you know.

This week Kate Garraway spoke publicly for the first time since the death of her husband, Derek Draper – who died last month after living with extreme complications from Covid. She said her family’s “emotions are at 110 per cent” following his funeral on Friday. On Thursday, she’ll return to her role presenting ITV’s Good Morning Britain


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