How do you cope with the death of a child? How do you endure heartbreaking loss that knocks you down and affects you emotionally, mentally, physically? How do you plan the funeral, take care of all the final arrangements for your child? How do you do all of this – and still go to work everyday?
Grieving is hard work and takes a toll on emotional, physical, mental health. Some bereaved parents are fortunate to have understanding employers who give them time off to grieve. But many grieving parents must return to work shortly after their child's death.
A new bill being introduced in Congress seeks to provide some small help to parents whose children die. Called the Parental Bereavement Act of 2011, the bill essentially would expand the Family & Medical Leave Act by requiring employers (with more than 50 employees) to grant 12 weeks of unpaid leave to an employee whose child has died. More details on the bill, being sponsored by Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., can be found on greatfallstribune.com.
Some bereaved parents quoted in the Great Falls Tribune article say that working helped them get through – or perhaps distracted them from – a difficult time in their lives. While not everyone would want to take time off from work, and certainly not everyone would be able to afford to take unpaid leave, it seems like many could benefit from having an extended time to grieve before returning to work.
What do you think? We'd love to hear your opinions. Share your thoughts in the comments section below.Image: Flickr Creative Commons / deflam