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Going Back to Work After Losing Spouse
Old 10-19-2015, 06:08 PM
  #1

My husband died unexpectedly of a heart attack last week. He was also a teacher in the same district as me. I am a year and a half away from being able to retire although I am only in my mid 50s. I just cannot see myself returning to work after another week or so. I am heartbroken--I lost the love of my life. My family lives hundreds of miles away. Have any of you been in a similar situation? I have total faith in God that my DH is in heaven and am at peace. I have the most amazing principal and I plan to talk to her later this week. Any words of advice would be appreciated. I don't want to make any rash decisions. Thank you so much.


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Old 10-19-2015, 06:12 PM
  #2

Let me preface this by saying I have not been in this situation, but I can imagine 2 scenerios. One is being so heartbroken that I could not return, and the other is needing work to take my mind off of the burden. Only you know what is right for you at the time, but if you can take extra time to heal some before making any permanent decision, it would be a good thing. I have always heard that you shouldn't make any major decisions at such a time in your life.

Peace to you, whatever you decide. I would imagine there has to be some way to take a longer time period off for a bit to recover and heal. I am sorry for your loss.
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I can't imagine the pain you're feeling.
Old 10-19-2015, 06:18 PM
  #3

It would be very hard to return to work after such an experience, especially since your DH worked in the same district. I don't know that I can offer any advice, but I can offer my sympathy and my prayers. God bless you!
If it were me, I would have a harder time not going back to work than if I did. I can't imagine sitting at home thinking about things. Working would give me an outlet. But then, everyone is different.
I hope you find peace in whatever you do.
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Old 10-19-2015, 06:21 PM
  #4

No advice.

My deepest condolences on the loss of your husband. I am so very sorry.

I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers.

((((hugs))))
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Old 10-19-2015, 06:22 PM
  #5

I really don't know how to advise you, but I want to tell you how sorry I am.

I hope others here will have the advice you're seeking, and that the answers you need will come from your talk with your principal.

You have my deepest sympathy. Wishing you comfort.


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Old 10-19-2015, 06:25 PM
  #6

Anita,
I am so very sorry for your loss.
I too lost my husband almost 5 yrs ago and did not want to go back to work. He had been sick for awhile & I had worked out a leave of absence after I had used up all my sick time. Unfortunately, my husband passed about 20 days before my leave of absence would start. My first reaction was to still take the leave but my kids pushed and pushed hard for me to go back. So, I did but because of an arrangement with my district, it was only 60% time(the amt I had to work to keep benefits).
Was it the right decision? Probably but I wasn't the teacher I had been. It did get me out of bed in the morning but that was about it. I wonder if you could ask to work half days for a bit using your sick days and the same sub for the other half. You could offer to meet w her to discuss students, etc maybe weekly. If they can't agree to that, perhaps a limited time off using sick days (mental health is important too) and go back for a week or two of half days before beginning full days.
They say not to do anything rash or make big decisions in the first year. There is a very good reason for that. Your stamina will not be close to what it was because you are numb with pain. Be gentle to yourself. See if you can find some grief group...they understand because they are or have lived it.
I could go on but you can only take in so much and I may have already said too much. I am adding you to my prayers...you will survive this...you will not be the same but you will survive. God bless you and feel free to pm me if I can help.
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I think
Old 10-19-2015, 06:27 PM
  #7

You have to do what's right for you. You can't know what that is for sure yet. Here's what you do know: you're still grieving in a way that you don't feel you'd be good for kids. Baby steps. Be honest with your principal. Come up with a short term plan that you can reevaluate as you go. You may find you need to get back around people sooner than you think. Maybe you can try to go back part time at the beginning?

Sending hugs. I haven't been there but have a friend who has. Please be sure to take good care of you!
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Sorry
Old 10-19-2015, 06:27 PM
  #8

I am so sorry this has happened. Although it is not close to loosing a spouse my father died the week before school started a few years ago. I didn't feel right missing the beginning of the year so I went back only taking 2 days off. It was difficult, looking back I should have taken more time. I would offer, depending on finances, staying off till after Christmas and reassessing. You may want something to do and fill the time by then. My thoughts and prayers are with you.
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Old 10-19-2015, 06:31 PM
  #9

I'm sorry this happened. I haven't been in this situation and can only imagine how hard it would be to carry on either way. I hope you can take time without being rushed to sort things out.
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Old 10-19-2015, 06:39 PM
  #10

No advice, just a hug. Your post is a true testimony to the huge love the two of you shared. Praying for you.


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Old 10-19-2015, 06:40 PM
  #11

I am so very sorry for your loss. I cannot imagine what you are going through right now. You are in my prayers.
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Very Sorry for Your Loss...
Old 10-19-2015, 06:46 PM
  #12

no advice...

Take Care
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So sorry to hear of your loss.
Old 10-19-2015, 06:52 PM
  #13

Grief and how we express it is different for everyone. I have seen people just go 100% into work and activities to fill the void. Others seem to collapse and almost give up living after the spouse's death. My sister-in-law lost her husband in a car crash nearly five years ago and she is still suffering terribly. She did practically nothing for almost three months, then she went back to work because she would have lost her job if she hadn't. She still has not dated, but she has traveled a lot. I hope you find a way to cope. If going back to work right away is too painful, take a medical leave and try to recover, maybe visit family.
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Old 10-19-2015, 06:56 PM
  #14

I am so sorry for your loss. I'm glad you can find comfort in the peace of Christ and the love you shared with your husband.

Take time to heal. If you decide to return, you may find some stability in the day to day work of your classroom. Can you take off until January, at least? Then you have some time to think and grieve. I agree not to make any rash decisions.

You will be in my prayers!
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Old 10-19-2015, 06:59 PM
  #15

My heart breaks for you. I have known two teachers whose experience was similar. Take time to grieve. Take time to make any decisions. You are in my prayers.
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Old 10-19-2015, 07:08 PM
  #16

I am sending my condolences for the loss of your husband. If it were me I would sit down with someone who could look at your situation objectively to see what would happen to your finances in the long run should you retire now. Meanwhile I would take as much time as I would need before returning to work. Work takes my mind off of things however I would want to enjoy my friends and family as this would be helpful. Once everything returns to a normal pace friends and family are not around as much. You have to decide what you would conceivably want for yourself in one year. Best regards to you
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Old 10-19-2015, 07:10 PM
  #17

I have no advice, but just wanted to say how sorry I am for your loss. Prayers that you will know what is the best thing for you at this time.
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It sounds
Old 10-19-2015, 07:25 PM
  #18

awfully soon (to me) to return to work after such a devastating event.

I am so sorry to hear of your husband's death.

I think I would take a few more weeks off, and then possibly look in to returning part-time for a while (maybe half days, or 3-4 days a week).

Obviously, you need to do whatever is right for you.

You have my utmost sympathy.
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No advice
Old 10-19-2015, 07:35 PM
  #19

but prayers and sympathy sent your way...
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Old 10-19-2015, 07:58 PM
  #20

So, so sorry. Saying a prayer that God will surround you with peace and comfort and help you make the right decision.
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Old 10-19-2015, 08:07 PM
  #21

I'm so so sorry for your loss. Of course going back to school will be difficult. The world will have gone on while your world has stopped. Things seem unreal and it's a challenge to focus on the tasks at hand. Getting through the first couple of days with the hugs and supportive statements can trigger the grief again. I know of no way out except through, moment by moment. Accept the support and offers of help from others. Ask for help when you need it. Understand that it's normal to feel stunned and experience repeated waves of grief. Allow yourself to take things slowly. Invite others to listen to your feelings and share openly. I'm praying that the love and support you need find a way to you at just the right moments. I'm so sorry for your loss.
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Old 10-19-2015, 08:13 PM
  #22

I am very sorry for your loss. I agree with those who said to take some time now to grieve but do not make any permanent decisions at this time. I pray that God will ground you in His Grace.
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Old 10-19-2015, 08:33 PM
  #23

I am so, so sorry for your loss. I can't imagine returning to work just a few weeks after such a loss, either. I hope you can take some time and make some decisions. Being so close to retirement, it would be a shame to lose out on anything, but life is short and you need to take care of yourself. Sending you love. You're smart not to make any rash decisions. My heart goes to you.
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Old 10-19-2015, 08:39 PM
  #24

I have not been in your situation, but wanted to express my sincere condolences on the death of your husband and let you know that you and your loved ones are in my heart and in my prayers! We, your PT family, are here for you!

((((HUGS))))

Nancy
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Old 10-19-2015, 08:58 PM
  #25

I cannot offer advice as I have not been in your situation.

I offer you my prayers and condolences on the loss of your DH.
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Old 10-19-2015, 09:02 PM
  #26

I just wanted to say that I am so sorry for your loss. Peace be with you.
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Old 10-19-2015, 09:22 PM
  #27

I am so sorry for your loss.
My assistant lost a boyfriend. She came back to school after two weeks. She was just there for the first month. She did her job, and it fill in her day, but you could feel how hurt she was inside. She was taking classes after work and just could not keep that up. So she dropped them. She told me later she could not sleep for weeks.
It really depends on you. I need to occupy my mind in situations like this.
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My husband passed away 3 months ago..
Old 10-19-2015, 10:01 PM
  #28

I'm so very sorry that you are going through this. It is awful. The first month really is a blur. My husband was not yet 50. I was off of work for 10 days after my husband passed away. Returning back to work was difficult, and still is. Though I think it was the best decision for me. I too, have no family near. It helps that I still have children at home.

Right now work is the one place where I am able to be around people. Even laugh a little. This has really helped me. It is good to keep busy- even when you feel like you are dying inside.

Do note, at least for me, leaving work is the hardest time of the day. Somehow walking out the door and to my car gets me every single day. Knowing that your husband will not be there when you get home is gut wrenching. Yet is always feels good once I get home.

Again, I'm truly sorry. I wish I had more to offer
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Old 10-20-2015, 01:17 AM
  #29

I am so sorry for your loss. I have not been in your situation, so I certainly can't offer any useful advice about when to return to work. However, one thought did occur to me: When you talk to your principal, please make sure that you work out "flex time" options so you can take time off as needed in the near future. I'm sure you will have paperwork and necessary phone calls to handle, as well as days when you just aren't up to going to work. Having the option of taking a day off here and there as needed would be very helpful.
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So sorry
Old 10-20-2015, 01:19 AM
  #30

I have no words. I am so sorry for your loss. I wish you peace and comfort during this sad time. Your new angel in Heaven will surely be guiding you.
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Condolances
Old 10-20-2015, 01:29 AM
  #31

I am so very sorry for your loss. I can't imagine the pain of losing your DH so suddenly, at a young age. Condolances also to all of you who have survived this- your strength is inspiring.

A dear colleague lost her husband suddenly due to a gun accident. She was out for a couple of weeks, and then came in for half days. She later said the kids pulled her back from the brink of total despair. But half days eased her back.

You need to do what's best for you. Take the time you need. I would figure out how to earn the rest of my pension- you're so close. Prayers going up for you, may the angels surround you and bring you comfort.
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I am sorry.
Old 10-20-2015, 02:41 AM
  #32

I don't have any first-hand experience so can't offer advice. Just love. xoxo
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Old 10-20-2015, 02:49 AM
  #33

I am so sorry! You are in my prayers.
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Old 10-20-2015, 02:56 AM
  #34

I am so sorry for your loss!!!

I would ask for more time before I made a decision!!! You are,still in so much pain from this unexpected loss!! How much time is hard to say...can't even imagine making that decision.

I know for myself I would have to work or find something else to stay busy otherwise I would sit home and be really sad all the time. I also do not have family near me and all my friends work.

I would really try not to make any major changes right now, but if you must please take a trusted friend with you to a state retirement specialist and then a financial planner to see how this will impact your future.

((((((HUGS))))))
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So sorry
Old 10-20-2015, 05:17 AM
  #35

I am so incredibly sorry for your loss. I have not experienced the loss of a spouse so take my advice with a grain of salt. Three years ago, my son was stillborn and I was expected back at work after a week. I was not ready to go back. Emotionally I was not healed though three year later I am still not. One of my regrets during that time is not taking the time off to grieve. I thought work would take my mind off of things but it didn't. In fact it stressed me out even more. I think you need to do what is right for you. If you feel you need another few days or weeks off, take them.
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So sorry for your loss!
Old 10-20-2015, 05:47 AM
  #36

I only have best wishes as you move forward during this difficult time.
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Old 10-20-2015, 06:05 AM
  #37

So sorry for your loss...sending you lots of warm thoughts .
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Old 10-20-2015, 07:14 AM
  #38

I am so sorry for your loss. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers as you navigate these most difficult times.
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Loss of spouse
Old 10-20-2015, 07:56 AM
  #39

I am so very sorry for your loss. You have been given good advice so far. It is understandable that you aren't ready to go back.
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Old 10-20-2015, 08:17 AM
  #40

I'm so sorry for your loss.

Only you know what is best for you. Personally, working would take your mind off things but at the same time, even the smallest incidents in school might upset you. Is there anyway you could take off till Thanksgiving at least?

You are in my thoughts and prayers.
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Sending prayers.
Old 10-20-2015, 08:35 AM
  #41

I have no advice that hasn't already been given. Take some time if possible to decide what you want to do.
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Old 10-20-2015, 11:17 AM
  #42

I'm so sorry. (((hugs)))
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Sympathy
Old 10-20-2015, 11:30 AM
  #43

Sincere sympathy. Many advice, words of wisdom, and thoughts have been given to you. I agree to take care of yourself and not to make rash decisions. Once again, my sympathy.
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Old 10-20-2015, 11:33 AM
  #44

I am very sorry that you lost your DH. God Bless you.
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So sorry
Old 10-20-2015, 11:40 AM
  #45

I am sorry that you have had this terrible loss. No death, sudden or lingering, is easy to deal with. I'm sure you are still in shock over the suddenness of his passing. Please accept my most sincere condolences.

I am not married, so I don't know how good my advice will be, but here goes. I think that if you need to ask us, and I'm glad you did, you most likely are not ready to go back to work. Yes, it would be a distraction and give you a reason to get up and out weekdays but it sounds as if you aren't ready. Having him work for the district gives you that double whammy, doesn't it?

I'd talk to the personnel office to see what time off could be arranged for you to get settled into your new life. Do you have sick/personal time you could take? Could you maybe take family leave? I'm not even sure that would apply here. I'd try to take as much time now as you need without actually retiring/leaving your job.

Whatever you decide, please know we are here for you. <<<hugs>>>
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So sorry
Old 10-20-2015, 11:54 AM
  #46

I lost my husband just last month to cancer. I know the pain you are feeling and although he had been ill for over a year, I always thought he would beat it. In the back of my mind I suppose I knew it was coming, but nevertheless unprepared for it. I am a retired teacher but decided to return in a part time position as I need to get out of this house. Just being at home can be so depressing, as our children are adults and I am living in the house alone. Could you possibly work part time? I think having to leave the house might be a good thing for you, but I would take at least a few weeks to adjust to the "new normal." Again, my deepest sympathies. May God help you make your decision and give you that peace that passes all understanding.
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Sorry, no advice
Old 10-20-2015, 01:11 PM
  #47

Just so terribly sorry for your loss.
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Medical leave?
Old 10-20-2015, 01:24 PM
  #48

My 27 year old husband died when I was 32 just 3 weeks before school started and 5 weeks before DD was born.

I took ALL 5 days of bereavement leave & personal days. I took maternity leave and all my FMLA&state leave(18 weeks total).....then since my sick leave was all used up I took a medical leave until the last two weeks of school year. I did all this thru guidance of my regional Union president.

If I were you, I'd prob find a willing doctor(maybe a psychiatrist) to write you a medical leave... The note doesn't give much details, you can even have them take the psychiatry heading off and it should just say something like how you're under their care and unable to return to work until such and such date etc...... I wasn't being paid but did receive widows social security benefits the months I wasn't paid for medical leave. (this was aside from my daughter's social security benefits)

Although, I basically felt I NEEDED a year off the first year... my second year I went back to work, but in a different area/district/school and appreciated being busy with work. I don't think I could've managed that first year though....

Last edited by basketball777; 10-20-2015 at 08:32 PM..
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I'm so very sorry!
Old 10-20-2015, 02:02 PM
  #49

I am so sorry for your loss! Grief is very personal, and you need to take the time you need. I have known teachers who returned as soon as possible to avoid being alone with their thoughts, and others who took an extended leave. Only you can make that decision. You may decide, after a few weeks, that you need the diversion of work. Also, your teaching may look different as you re-evaluate priorities in your new circumstances. That's ok.

I am hoping you are not expected to make any quick decisions. Ride the waves of grief as they come, and take care of yourself. Everything else will fall into place. (((HUGS!)))
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I'm so sorry
Old 10-20-2015, 02:24 PM
  #50

I can't imagine the pain you are going through. My only advise would be to take things slow and take the time you need. Meanwhile, know that you are in our thoughts and prayers.
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Old 10-20-2015, 02:31 PM
  #51

I am sorry for your loss. Everyone is different and you need to do what is best for you. If you are not up to it, take more time. If you go back and need a day off just take it. My Dad passed away suddenly when I was 20 and mom was in her fifties. She took the advice of not doing anything major for at least a year. My mil was also in her fifties and did the same when fil passed away suddenly. You may find going back to work is good because you are keeping busy. My thoughts are with you.
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Old 10-20-2015, 04:20 PM
  #52

No advice. I just wanted to express my condolences. I will pray for you as you go through this very difficult time.
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Old 10-20-2015, 04:27 PM
  #53

I am so sorry for your loss. (((anitalife))) I understand how you are feeling. My husband passed away two years ago in September. I was 52 years old at the time and not expecting to be a widow.

I agree with the PPs who said to not make major decisions during the first year. You are dealing with a lot right now. You are probably still in shock since your husband's death was unexpected. You need to take care of yourself. If you are able to work things out with your principal, maybe go back part-time.

I had to go back to work after one week due to financial reasons. I didn't feel like it and wasn't myself that school year, but it was probably the best thing for me. My family, like yours, lives a couple of hours away. School gives me a sense of normalcy. It keeps me busy so I don't have time to dwell on things.

What will you do if you don't go back to work? Would you move to be closer to your family? You don't want to isolate yourself. Both my sons came home for a while.

Do you have someone close to you whom you can talk to or a grief support group you can join? This first year is going to be tough. It is helpful to have others who understand what you are feeling and going through. Be
kind to yourself. I still have days when reality hits me and I cry.

(((anitalife))) Again, I am so sorry for your loss. God bless you. May you feel God's peace and comfort right now and use his strength to get through the hard days.
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I am so sorry for your loss.
Old 10-20-2015, 04:42 PM
  #54

I'm glad that a few posters have been able to give you some advice based on their experiences. I do not have experience in this area.

Please accept my deepest sympathies.
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So sorry
Old 10-20-2015, 05:10 PM
  #55

You have received a lot of good advice. Give yourself the gift of time. I am keeping you in my prayers.
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so very sorry
Old 10-20-2015, 05:27 PM
  #56

I haven't lost a spouse, so I can't advise you. But my heart hurts for you, even though I don't know you. I've lost 2 brothers, a dad, and an aunt in the last 5 years and know grief takes a lot of time. I found GriefShare (a free website) to be a lot of help during my grieving process.

I am praying for God's strength for you and your family.
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No advice...
Old 10-20-2015, 06:34 PM
  #57

Just my condolences.
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Losing the love of your life...
Old 10-20-2015, 06:44 PM
  #58

anitalife,

Your story is heartbreaking...please know that although some of us have not experienced this yet, we all feel for you and wish you strength to carry on.

Sending prayers for peace,

mizmamster13
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I am so sorry for your loss.
Old 10-21-2015, 02:34 PM
  #59

You have received a lot of good advice. Keep us posted. Prayers to you.
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Decisions
Old 10-21-2015, 04:05 PM
  #60

Anitalife,
I just wanted to add that it's okay to struggle with decisions at a time like this. You probably don't know what's right for you because grief takes away our strength and stamina. I wonder if your principal can work something out for more time or part time work, if that might be your sign to take that option. Teaching is so demanding & exhausting but so is grief. It's difficult to heal while trying to work fulltime.
I hope you have someone who knows you well to help you with this decision. It's a very personal journey and no two paths are the same.
Praying for you.
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