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


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

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Comment by Sherry Lynn Pendleton on November 12, 2012 at 10:58pm
I was fortunate enough to work for a wonderful company, with an understanding Administator. I left the company for a year and promised to be on rehire status. I thought I would be raising my grand daughter (pictured) and needed to be home for her.
She was diciplined after 3 months of her Mommy's passing. It was a good scolding, she was a sensitive girl and didn't need spankings. Yes, I said it! If you don't believe in spankings open your Bible a little more often!
Anyway, now she lives with her grandfather. She is in complete denial of the loss of her Mother and needs therapy BAD.
I am very concerned about reality hitting her right in the heart and her having to turn to drugs or alcohol to stuff the pain. From what I've read, not meeting a child's needs is "neglect."
The system does not work for these kids left behind. What in the HELL does looking at school grades and in the refridgerator have to do with weather or not the child is being neglected or not?!
Comment by Karen Johanson on October 24, 2011 at 2:51pm
Why not extend the option to those who lost spouses, life partners and parents too?

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