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When a co-worker is bereaved – food for thought from one writer’s perspective.

In 2003, Allison Ellis was in a new job after taking some time off to have her first child. She had been hired as an independent marketing consultant to get a new website off the ground for a company and was just getting rolling on hiring her team and creating a budget.

One Sunday, the day before she was supposed to make a presentation to executives, her 39-year-old husband, who had been training for a marathon, died suddenly from a heart attack, leaving her with a 10-month-old daughter. She took a week to arrange the funeral and memorial service and then went back to work.

“I went straight to [my boss’s] office, and she said, ‘Listen, nobody knows what to do with this, and they keep coming up to me, saying, “What are we supposed to do?,” and I told them, ‘Get back to work, focus on the work, that’s what we’re going to do,’” Ellis recalls.

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