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Pat Werscherl talks about how downsizing affected her and her team, which she considered to be like family. During a large corporate merger and subsequent layoffs, Pat and her team experienced many of the emotions associated with grief. She talks about the denial that the company would actually be sold and the anger she experienced when the sale was completed to finally accepting the changes.

"We went through the grieving process. First there was this denial like well maybe they’d change their mind. Just constant rumors. So you went through the denial, and of course, then there was the anger. “Look what we've contributed to the company for all these years”; Look at the good service we’ve given to them".

Pat Werscherl
Corporate Manager
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The lack of assigned work to focus on each day along with the ongoing changes and many distractions led to lethargy, lost focus, and some serious, costly mistakes. The company did nothing to help their employees constructively deal with the emotions of grief and loss and this made the situation much worse. Effective Grief in the Workplace coaching would have lessened the negative impact to the employees and the company.


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You Just Never Know

You Just Never Know

Recently an article appeared in my local newspaper that caught my attention.  A woman wrote to the newspaper to apologize and thank a man she had encountered at the post office.  Seems the man held the door open for her as she entered the building but lost in her own thoughts, she failed to notice or thank the man for his kindness. 

With no word or acknowledgement from her, his loud booming  “you’re welcome!” snapped her out of her own thoughts and back to the present moment.

She continues writing to say how sorry she was for not acknowledging the kindness (as she usually does) but was distracted that day.  A close friend called to tell the woman that her father just died suddenly of a massive heart attack.  This woman had been a support to the writer whose own father was gravely ill in a nursing home the past few weeks.  As she entered the post office, she was thinking about the irony and sadness of it all and how she could help her friend when the man mentioned above delivered his “you’re welcome”.

How often do you play that role?

The story reminded me of just how often I play one of those roles in my own day-to-day life.  Since I work with those in grief or very difficult life transitions, job loss, death, or divorce, I am often lost in thoughts of how they are feeling or how I can help them, or even my own personal issues at the moment. 

How many times have I not acknowledged a kind gesture another person extended to me?  How often do I just not see it as I drift in a sea of my own thoughts?  Other times, I extend a kindness to someone and they ignore the gesture or don’t seem to notice or care.  Do they just not care?  Are they lost in thoughts and difficulties I can’t see or imagine?  Fact is, I just don’t know.

When I encounter a stranger….

The newspaper article gave me an insight; a reason to pause and reflect on the burdens each of us carries at various times in our lives.   When I encounter a stranger I don’t really know what is going on with them at that moment.  I don’t know if they are experiencing a difficult time in their life or if they are just the ungrateful type who would never acknowledge a kindness extended to them.  I do know that I have a choice.  I can extend the kindness.  How the person on the receiving end takes it is really up to them.  I have no part in that. 

Extending the kindness enriches my life.  That in itself is a wonderful gift to me.  If the receiver takes it and acknowledges it, I’m doubly blessed.

The flip side of this however is that these are difficult times for many of us.  The newspaper article reminded me to allow room for others to grieve, to work through their difficulties in ways that work for them.  The path of grief is often jagged and sometimes causes the behaviors that we see and experience to seem a little harsher than normal.

My insight? 

I’m best served by choosing to extend love and kindness to others I encounter throughout my day.  I just never know what they are going through.  Easy to say, tough to do?  Yes but the woman in the post office served as a reminder to try and walk in love and kindness each day.

Grief's Ebb and Flow

Grief's Ebb and Flow

There is no doubt; these are difficult times on many levels.  Some of the people I speak with talk about losing their savings in the down market. Others talk about job loss and how frightened they are of a future that is uncertain. These and many other life losses lead to profound grief.

Its one thing to know that you are feeling the pull of grief but it is quite another thing to know what to do about it. Sometimes it is the realization that you have no control that fuels the feelings of grief.

Find a Support Person

If you can, find someone you can share your feelings with. Your real feelings not just the ones you think they want to hear. This can be hard to do but once you take that first step, you just might feel a whole lot better.

Very often adversity leads to a renewal within you. This might be a good time to look at what you value most in your life and really begin to focus on the people and things in your life that are most important to you. If you are in the depths of grieving now, hold tight. The storm will pass and you will emerge renewed.

Remember the butterfly. The struggle is often part of your life’s journey.