Post # 1
Over the holiday break, while I was on vacation out of state, I received a text that a coworker friend has passed suddenly. He was only 45, one of the nicest people I know, and they think it was an aneurism. It happened while he was traveling. I’ve known this coworker for 3 years. I remember talking to him about my now husband and he used to give me advice and tease me about Darling Husband. I only hung out with him outside of work one time, and I met his wife then. So I feel weird about it, like I don’t have the right to be sad or something. It’s also difficult because I worked on a different team, and those on my team didn’t know this coworker really, and I’m not close to the team this coworker was on. We work in entirely different areas.
I cried the day I found out, and I’m so thankful I was able to process it outside of work. I’ve cried randomly a few times outside of that day too, like while sharing memories with a coworker, reading some old work communications between us, and embarrassingly (I hate public crying), while asking my manager if I could go to his funeral.
I don’t know what I’m looking for. I feel sad, but also almost guilty because my life has continued on. Like he deserved more acknowledgement. I also missed his prayer service at work because it was my first day back and by the time I got to the email, I would have been late and didn’t want to be rude to his memory and walk in late.
Post # 2
Bee, no one can tell you who to mourn for. You should never feel weird for mourning people you barely knew. I myself bawled my eyes out when I heard my friend’s dad died (I never in my life met the man, but he died horrifically and the story is still shaking this town). The emotions that take over when you feel a sense of loss are uncontrollable, so please, feel free to cry.
You are absolutely allowed to cry. I’m so sorry your life has been affected this way, but take comfort in knowing that this man, as vaguely as you knew him, did help you shape your life and change you into the person you are today, even if it’s in a small degree. Cherish knowing that, and embrace that, for him. <3
Post # 3
I am so very sorry for this! You absolutely do have a right to mourn and be sad. He was a friend that died too young and too soon! That is cause for grief.
About a month ago, a good friend from high school (actually went to prom with him one year) passed away unexpectedly. We lost touch through the years and I probably hadn’t talked to him in 12 or 13 years…BUT when I found out he passed, all those years melted away and it felt like no time had passed. That grief hit way harder than I expected. Maybe it was a combination of mourning the loss of a friend and mourning the fact that we lost touch, but the hurt was real none the less.
Post # 4
knotyet : I know the feeling and it’s so silly to feel like we shouldn’t be able to grieve for someone just because we didnt know them that well.
1. It was a shock! It is hard to process that someone can be here one day and gone the next. It reminds us life is fragile and not guaranteed. It is an unsettling feeling. They were still a friend, no matter how small/big the friendship was, he was still part of your life.
2. We may not have been best friends with them, it doesnt mean we cant mourn their life, mourn for the family they left behind. I know for myself its more about those who are trying to pick up the peices and put their lives back together, i just feel for them so much.
Unfortunately have been surrounded by this a lot the past few months with some major tragedies hitting my community. I didnt personally know anyone who died, but it was hard. I would tear up driving past the location everyday on my way home. I felt similar to you, i didn’t know how to grieve, how to pay respect. I would cry everytime someone told a story about someone who was affected.
After seeing so many people come together and realizing that 60% of the people attending the virgils and funerals and fundraisers were not personally affected. These are people who came out to show support the only way they knew how and they cried and mourned for a lost life they never knew.
Its human nature, it is compassion. and you will remember to hug your loved ones a little tighter.
Post # 5
megm1099 : JsDragonfly : L606 : Thank you so much for this. You all brought me comfort. It helps to know I’m not the only one who didn’t know how to process a loss like this. I also debated if I should go to the funeral, because I don’t want to intrude on his family, but your posts confirmed to me that I should and will go. He was a friend and maybe this will be a comfort to his family to see how many people loved and respected him for his strong character and kind nature. Thank you again.
Post # 6
knotyet : I’m so sorry you’re going through this. I had a similar experience last year when my “work mom” had a heart attack and passed away suddenly. She was around the same age as your coworker. It was a tough set of emotions to navigate becase, although we were not super close and didn’t have a relationship outside of work, she was a kind and familiar person who I genuinely enjoyed seeing every day and who I felt comfortable around. When I joke about her being my “work mom” it’s because she was the mom-aged coworker who I’d ask dumb questions to like “what the heck is this rash on my arm and should I be worried?” (it was a laundry detergent allergy, btw).
I miss her at work and it took some time to get used to not having her around, but you will get there to. In the meantime, the important thing is to respect your feelings and let them happen. You don’t have to pretend it doesn’t hurt just because you weren’t super close, and you don’t have to pretend to be an absolute wreck if that’s not how you feel about it. Some days will be easier than others but eventually you’ll settle into a new normal.
Post # 7
I would also send a note to his wife telling her what it meant to you to have such a collegue. If you can, give a specific example of how he impacted your life in a positive way. Memories help.
Never be afraid that you are intruding.Many people back away from the family because of survivor’s guilt, and that is very painful for the immediate family.
Post # 8
julies1949 : second this, people always feel awkward talking about those who’ve passed but honestly hearing even the most random story helps process
Post # 9
I’m sorry, Bee. But it’s absoltuely fine and normal to grieve for someone who you may not have known well – but was still part of your life (even if no one else really knew it) and you shared nice memories with them.. Just alllow yourself to feel it and don’t be embarrassed.
i went through the same thing just about 6 weeks ago. My ex boyfriend (split up just over 2 years ago) text me to tell me that his best friends ‘s girlfriend, who I obviously had met (albeit only a handful of time but including weekend trips away and stuff) had died in a really tragic kayaking accident whilst out with her boyfriend and a group of kayakers.
I wasn’t close to this girl – but she was lovely, a real gem, and was alswayz so nice to me (including after the split). The news hit me so hard and I spent the day crying in work. I was honestly floored for a couple of days just thinking about the whole thing. No one in my circle could relate at all to it – they didn’t know her from Adam and had probably never even heard me talk about her. It was so weird processing it all on my own.
absoutely get in touch with this mans family – and let them know how this has touched you and why. It will. E good for both of you.. and you have every right to feel sad and want to pay your respects to your friends – no matter how fleeting the relationship was. He obviously brightened up your day in some way!
Post # 10
I’m sorry for what you’re going through. The exact same thing happened to me a few years ago. My young coworker friend died suddenly and unexpectedly and I was a mess. Your feelings are totally real and you should not be embarrassed in the slightest.
Post # 11
I went to my computer to commet on this.
My husband died the day after Thanksgiving. He had incredibly aggressive brain cancer and died less than 6 months after being diagnosed. We have an 18 month old.
Please send a kind card telling your coworkers wife a story about how he positively impacted you. I have been reading cards from people who I’ve never met and it means so much to me how many lives Pat touched. Also, are they doing something in his memory? Or a meal train? Even if they aren’t doing something, enclosing a gift card to a local place or even Starbucks is awesome. We are going to be fine financially even though Pat didn’t have a lot of life insurance. But it has been touching to see people donate to our son’s education fund, or send something so I can give myself a treat. I’m not usually a starbucks girl but I’m so emotionally exhausted I will go there for a treat or a break from everything.
Post # 12
knotyet : Also, don’t feel guilty about your grieving. It means a lot to me when people are grieving for Pat, because it means that even small things meant a lot to them.
Post # 13
I lost a coworker unexpectedly. I wasn’t super close but he was a great guy and super nice to me. I think it makes it harder when you can’t formally mourn. You miss them and the suddenness freaks you out, but nobody really feels like you’re entitled to be that bummed about it. And work just goes on.
I’m sorry for his death and your sadness.
Post # 14
It won’t let me edit my comment for some reason, but I just wanted to clear up an error. I misread your initial post as saying he was 54 not 45. My coworker was 57. So obviously a bit different (though still young and unexpected). I just realized my mistake and realized how weird it would be for a 33 year old to be talking about a 45 year old as their “work mom”. Sorry about that!!!
Post # 15
Bee, im so sorry. I don’t think it matters how well or how not well you knew your coworker. I would be absolutely devestated if anyone on my team died, regardless of age. You grieve as you need to, whatever that means for you.
houstonsweetcorn : I’m so sorry to hear about your husband. My brother has grade IV glioblastoma and has been living with it for the past 28 months. I know how unbelievably hard brain cancer can be. My heart goes out to you and everything you lived through. Please PM me if you want to talk.