Feeling Troubled About Death of a CoWorker


#1

A coworker of mine died this week, suddenly in her apartment (she was an older middle-aged woman with some health problems–although I didn’t know things were that serious). She was kind of a friend of mine (we were starting to form a friendship–but I’ve only been on the job less than 6 months). She was a devote Catholic and we used to spend time chit chatting about the Church, what we were doing for Lent, when I brought my daughter to work she gave my daughter little tasks to do, etc. I would share life stories with her and vice versa and she showed me around the town (where all the good lunch shops were), etc.

Well, her death bothers me (of course) since I miss her. But what bothers me the most is how it’s being handled at work. We are to tell people she is no long “with the company.” Yes, that’s true, but it almost feels like it’s disrespectful… like saying she was fired. Why can’t we say she passed away? And in a way, it’s like no one cares. I didn’t know her as long as anyone else here, but they all seem to be acting as if, “oh well.” I don’t want people to mope or anything, but in a way it’s like they are acting like she was fired or suddenly quit.

Luckily I am not in a position where I will get asked much about her passing since I would have a hard time saying “she is no longer with the company” because of what it implies, but it still bothers me. I am not sure why I am posting this, other than to just get this feeling off my chest.


#2

I'll be praying for her and you.

God bless

jesus g


#3

I don’t blame you for feeling troubled. Your company’s handling of this woman’s death seems cold and heartless.

:mad:


#4

Prayers for you and your friend's soul.

How odd, for a company to not properly recognize the death, funeral and burial of an employee.


#5

Agree. How awful.


#6

I think we are going to recognize the funeral… at least they said they would tell us the funeral information when they get it. We are sending at least a sympathy card and flowers, officially, from the office. It’s the whole not telling customers (some of whom know her) what really happened. I don’t understand why we are “covering it up.” I mean, if you called a company and asked to talk to someone and they suddenly weren’t “with the company” what would you think? It just feels insulting and cold to me, like we are saying “she was fired.” It just seems like things should be more respectful.

Ironically, the reason she was found (she lived alone) was because she didn’t show up to work and her manager started calling emergency numbers.

Anyway, thanks for the prayers for her. I know she would appreciate it.


#7

As someone who works close to HR.

It's sometimes the most tactful thing to say. Personal friends will know she died. Those who are not personal friends may not need to know. Honestly do you really think it's benefical for a business aquantiance to hear "She passed away" rather than "she's no longer with the company". If they push, I'm sure you can tell the truth. But there are a 100 situations where it's best for the general public not to know.

Lets say you're a coustomer who a couple times a month to a bank and always sees a teller, Kate. You ask where Kate is, the teller answers that she's no longer with the company. You go about your business. Now, change that to the teller saying that she died. It becomes awkward for both parties. (how where why when, etc) That, and how long do you keep it up for? What happens when someone calls after 6 months, a year, two years? Do you still say she died when it's just a telemarketer?


#8

… and stupid, regardless of any HR policies.


#9

There are many reasons why people change jobs – they move, get married and have children, switch to a new career path or find a higher-paying job. Saying that someone is “no longer with the company” does not imply anything negative in any way.


#10

Agree here :thumbsup:


#11

HR policies protect people. Do you know how common fraud is these days? Alot of people would use that information for ill. And you never know who is sick enough to do that.

In this case the woman is a working class person without much family or money, but many times people aren’t.

It also makes it award. What if someone disliked her…lets say this is an emplyee you hated…it’s much easier to say that “she left the company” then to have to explain that she died.

Another thing is that people (being the dumb sheep we are) automatically think it’s work related. So it may give your business a bad name. Absolutely stupid, but true.

Your loss does hurt, and does matter. She should be celebrated internally, the company should be very open to memorials, etc. However, I totally back their way of handling it externally.


#12

I appreciate all the comments and views... including the ones that are in agreement with management. I can see the point (and I'll be honest I didn't consider it the way Purple explained it), but for some reason it still bothers me. I can see not telling each and every customer, but we have some customers who have been doing business with us for years and know her well... it seems odd not to tell them (but the fraud thing is a very good point).

I will do what I am told, it just bothers me on some level. Maybe it's because I am too close to the situation and considered myself a friend of hers.


#13

Someone from where I worked died in teh recent quake. Our boss told us not to dwell on it because it’d get too much and it could impeed on our job and our safety measures.

Perhaps that’s sort of what your company is doing? Not wanting peopel to dwell too much on the death in case it impacts work productivity or moral.

I suppose it seems cold, but I guess they just think they need to move on.

Perhaps you could organise a little memorial for staff outside of work time.


#14

A memorial outside work is a great idea. Also, even if you didn't know her all that well, you could still send your own sympathy card to the family. They would probably like to know how she touched you in your short time knowing her.


#15

[quote="novelista, post:14, topic:237949"]
A memorial outside work is a great idea. Also, even if you didn't know her all that well, you could still send your own sympathy card to the family. They would probably like to know how she touched you in your short time knowing her.

[/quote]

This is a good idea.


#16

[quote="mellowcalico, post:12, topic:237949"]
I appreciate all the comments and views... including the ones that are in agreement with management. I can see the point (and I'll be honest I didn't consider it the way Purple explained it), but for some reason it still bothers me. I can see not telling each and every customer, but we have some customers who have been doing business with us for years and know her well... it seems odd not to tell them (but the fraud thing is a very good point).

I will do what I am told, it just bothers me on some level. Maybe it's because I am too close to the situation and considered myself a friend of hers.

[/quote]

Those customers will most likely find out anyway - not everyone will give the company line and there are probably people who know her family, or who get together outside of work. Bad news travels very fast, believe me. Someone may see her obituary or the notice of her death in the paper (I read the obits all the time).

I find it odd that the company would tell you to say that, but it's probably under legal advice to do so. So don't think anyone in particular is heartless, it's just a very difficult world these days and there are a lot of things to think about. And if someone does find out, and says, "Well, I already know that she passed away," you can just say, "We were told to say that by the company."


closed #17

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.