If you are reading this, chances are you are grieving the loss of your spouse. If so, please accept my deepest condolences.

I know it must be hard to get back into the swing of things and your emotions may be on a roller coaster of not knowing what to expect. Guess what? You’re not the only one. There are thousands of us (yes, me too) out there deliberating if we are doing the right thing wanting to go back to work (versus needing). But the bills need to be paid and food needs to be put on the table so we must make that essential decision, especially if there is absolutely no income being generated.

I was given three weeks notice on my job due to budgetary reasons. My last day of work was one week before his death. I was relieved, yet, saddened. I didn’t inform my husband until about a week after I was notified because he was in enough pain. But during that final week with him it was a worry-free week for me because I could care for him full-time; searching for a job was not a priority.

Then he passed away.

I’ve learned a lot since that fateful day and I want to share a few things I’ve learned while coping with my loss, in hopes that you could use this as a foundation before, during and after the death of your spouse prior to returning to work.

  • If your spouse is currently sick and you are still working, do not feel guilty that you have to work. Think of it this way, you must work in order to continue your health insurance (if applicable) so that your husband can continue attending his/her appointments, provide food on the table, gas, prescription, etc. Get the point?
  • If your spouse passes away, don’t expect condolences from everyone in the workplace whether through in-person visits, the sending of cards or flowers. Some offer their condolences in other ways, such as relaying their condolences to other teammates to pass along (I know, not cool, but it happens). I’m sure the intention is there. If you continue to feel abandoned by your peers, don’t be afraid to check out the Employee Assistance Resources program that may be available.
  • If you can afford it, don’t be in a hurry to get back to work.Ask for additional time, see if there are programs where your peers can donate their accumulated vacation or sick time towards your time-off.
  • If you can afford it, take your time when searching for employment. If you feel that your current employer is insensitive to your situation, it’s time to find a company that is more “employee friendly.” It may take some time but it will be worth it in the long run. Consider this quote by Tyler Perry, “Sometimes you have to go deeper to get what you are after, no matter the cost.” This quote comes after he was tired of high water bills so he had a company dig wells in his back yard. There were several holes made until he made a decision to stick to one hole. He had the company to dig deeper than normal (beyond 1,200 feet). Then, voila, they hit a river of water!
  • Seek guidance. You are not alone so don’t challenge it (grief) alone! Contact grief counselors, spiritual leaders or others who have been through the ordeal.
  • Pray. Praying was an absolute must for me and it channeled me away from some of the worst emotions I’ve ever felt (and people!)

My friend, mulling over other people’s actions (or in-actions) will get you nowhere. Think about your health.

I wish you well on your return to work, I truly do. It’s a tough decision and it’s tough enough being a widow or widower.

Sounds familiar? Talk to me…



Sabra has been widowed since 2012 after 23 years of marriage and is
the founder of Black Women Widows Empowered, a safe, online and in-person group for women of color who can identify with the unique circumstances and challenges faced in a world of bias, pre-judgement, bigotry, and intolerance while being black and widowed.

She is a certified Christian grief counselor, former GriefShare facilitator, and
Career-Growth Coach. She is the author of The Lost Sheep: How I Got Over the Hump and visionary behind the book collaboration, Widowed, But Not Wounded: The Hustle & Flow of 13 Resilient Black Widowed Women (Dec 2017). Additionally, Sabra has also contributed her writing to Blavity.com.

Sabra’s writing style is primarily tapped with a sense of world awareness.

A Baltimore native, she currently resides in Charlotte with her children.

Visit her website: BlackWomenWidowsEmpowered.com