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Old 05-27-2016, 06:46 PM
 
Location: Sherman Oaks, CA
6,203 posts, read 15,015,619 times
Reputation: 7951

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This is a person I've worked with for sixteen years. We're very close as coworkers, but I don't see her very often outside the office.

Her father wasn't doing well for some time, and he had dementia and wasn't eating. He went on hospice. Then her mother's cancer came back, and was she was expected to live only 4-6 weeks.

Her father passed away, and then a week later her mom fell and broke her femur. Suddenly her mom's timetable moved from 2-4 weeks at that point to 2-3 days. She passed away on Wednesday morning.

Both parents were in their 90s, and this wasn't unexpected. My coworker had been managing their financial affairs, and she went to see them at least twice a month on the weekend for the past five years. She knew they weren't going to get any better. I just feel so bad, and I know there's nothing I can do. She's coming to come back to work after being gone for over two weeks, and think, "The last time I was in my office both of my parents were still alive."

What is appropriate in this situation? Give her a hug when I see her again? I have a sympathy card for her. I think that by the time she comes back, she's just going to want to bury herself in work and try to shut the world out. Thoughts?

Also, to everyone who is grieving the loss of a loved one on this forum, my condolences. I lost my father a year and a half ago, and I still think about him.
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Old 05-27-2016, 06:48 PM
 
35,121 posts, read 37,816,014 times
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Let her lead the way, leave her card on her desk and see what happens.
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Old 05-27-2016, 08:32 PM
 
3,964 posts, read 5,249,971 times
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I agree with CSD, but when soon after she comes to work, I would just go tell her that you are really sorry for her losses. You don't have to worry too much about what to say because there is nothing really that anyone can say that will erase the pain of loss. But just being there and saying you are sorry is all you can do. Then just be sensitive to her needs as much as you can. As has been said, let her lead the way.
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Old 05-27-2016, 10:51 PM
 
Location: So. of Rosarito, Baja, Mexico
6,571 posts, read 17,953,604 times
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A sympathy card?.......NO. Best when you first see her at work is to offer a nice HUG and say your sorry for her loss as that alone is worth over 1000 cards.
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Old 05-28-2016, 12:44 AM
 
35,121 posts, read 37,816,014 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Bagu View Post
A sympathy card?.......NO. Best when you first see her at work is to offer a nice HUG and say your sorry for her loss as that alone is worth over 1000 cards.
There is no way I would automatically hug anyone, they may not be comfortable with that.
If they initiate the hug I would definitely not turn them away but it has to be initiated by them.
What is wrong with a card?
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Old 05-28-2016, 01:56 AM
 
Location: 900 miles from my home in 80814
4,669 posts, read 6,740,923 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CSD610 View Post
There is no way I would automatically hug anyone, they may not be comfortable with that.
If they initiate the hug I would definitely not turn them away but it has to be initiated by them.
What is wrong with a card?
I agree. I wasn't comfortable when people would come up to me and hug me after my husband died. And, I LOVED cards. I would often read and re-read them to "hear" people's memories of my husband and their care and concern for me. I was touched that people took the time to go to the store, pick out a card, and send it to me or give it to me.

Definitely leave a card on her desk, and like the others said, let her lead the way. Card are beautiful, thoughtful, caring and cherished (they were by me, anyway).
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Old 05-28-2016, 02:01 AM
 
Location: Canada
5,131 posts, read 3,639,022 times
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The poor girl. My heart goes out to her with her double loss.

I think you should know her well enough after working with her for 16 years if she's the hugging type or not. If she is, definitely give her a hug and tell her you are so sorry.

A nice card and a small bouquet of flowers is appropriate too in my opinion.
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Old 05-28-2016, 03:52 AM
 
Location: San Antonio
7,625 posts, read 13,987,763 times
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As someone who has lost their momma and their last two remaining siblings in the past 17 months, I would say a big hug AND maybe an invite out to lunch just the two of you might be the best way to "assist" and really let her know you care. Sometimes just feeling like you and someone you feel connected to are able to share a lunch and a few smiles/laughs really helps.

I have so may friends that have carried me thru this most difficult of times with these little ways of REALLY showing they care when I struggle most with the loss.
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Old 05-28-2016, 05:32 AM
 
11,686 posts, read 13,083,410 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CSD610 View Post
Let her lead the way, leave her card on her desk and see what happens.
That's a great idea.
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Old 05-28-2016, 07:02 AM
 
Location: Philaburbia
31,165 posts, read 57,302,589 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gouligann View Post
A nice card and a small bouquet of flowers is appropriate too in my opinion.
Yes! Nothing cheered me up more than seeing fresh flowers on my desk the morning I came back to work after my husband died. One of my co-workers brought in a bunch of daffodils for me from her garden. I wouldn't go getting a funeral-type arrangement, though -- keep it simple.

The hugs were nice, too -- and most people asked first.

If a hug is not appropriate, all you really have to do is say "I'm so sorry, and I'm glad to see you're back."
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