Morning Mountains

a lifestyle blog by Grace Sawford

Life Update: Dealing with The Death of a Colleague

If you have been following along, you know I have mentioned several times that I start off my final year working at the hospital for a week straight. I was about to have a good start to the week: waking up early enough to go to work 20 Minutes earlier as usual so I can sit down at the park before starting a hectic Monday, enjoy the nature and a moment of silence because I think it allows me to pull myself together so I can show more power and control in work settings and just be present. There is no better way to start a day than that. I enjoy being on my own and when I start to add this to build a whole new work habit, it is sort of interesting. So yeah, you might think that day couldn’t go any better.

But I seriously don't know if I ever have to post this ever. I mean, I've wrote over 80 posts since the launch of this blog and it becomes personal over time. I shared a bunch of things that I love and just celebrate life in general with you guys. Unfortunately, life is not always like that. 

Two of my colleagues at work needed to have a serious talk with me and my friend 5 Minutes after the work begun. There were no patients in the meantime so we went to their workplace and I remembered seeing shocked faces. They explained that our beloved colleague had a wonderful summer trip and she, out of nowhere, got pulmonary embolism on the way back home. It went so fast that day, she was immediately admitted from the airport straight to the emergency room and they found out the news of a sudden death of her after that, who happened to be a mentor for college students a.k.a. us, and also my favorite one. They burst into tears while explaining it and I, who just got back from a long summer break and was still trying to realize what actually happened, couldn't believe it myself and was in total shock. Life feels like it’s been turned upside down for a second.

You know, when someone dies, no matter how close we are to each other, there are no words that can fill the void in life. A co-worker is very much like an extended family and we've all been working together as a team. She was a wonderful human being and the most caring mentor and colleague that I've ever come across. She had helped me a lot through years and was always friendly not only to me, but also to everyone. She took time for us, listened to us when we had problems and helped us when she could. I feel love being around her and it was always a convenient work environment. I still remember her high voice in my head because of her ever cheerful attitude towards life.

When it comes to coping with death, there is no ‘normal’. I experienced such a severe loss for the first time in my life and it is horrible. I mean, I've seen unexpected death of patients I knew and when you work at the hospital, you just cannot deny this. You experience shock hearing such news, every time. But this one is just different because I knew her personally for two years. I had to cry writing this blog post because I think I just have to. A sudden death brings its own particular difficulties to deal with. And I grieve in this way. I needed to go out to the park for few minutes to process the news and reflecting on the deceased after finding out the news. My friend and I shared stories and memories about her and I still had to talk about how I felt with my man when I got home and he's been such a big support for me the whole time. 

This person was one of the sweetest and kindest woman and I thought the world of her. The pain does ease with time but the memory of her is still so very much alive and I think that is what has helped me the most, too. I have so many fond memories of her and that will surely help me in my grief. I will miss her dearly.

Since it's such a personal blog post, I still want to post this, because there is probably someone out there who is experiencing the same at the moment and I want you to know that you are not alone. Remember that you can always reach out to someone you trust, a friend or family, and surround yourself with a circle of support. A few people may act out their sorrow by engaging in dangerous or self-destructive activities. Doing those things seem to numb the pain, but the feeling is 'only' temporary,  even when it sounds hard to say. Let yourself be vulnerable, cry your eyes out when you need to, but please take care of yourself while doing it. Losing a loved one is a painful reminder that life is way. too. short. And that loved one would want nothing more than for you to be happy. Do what you love, then. Keep yourself busy by taking the time to figure out what it is that you love. 

What we have once enjoyed, we can never lose. All that we love deeply becomes part of us.    - Helen Keller

My thoughts and prayers will be with her and her lovely family.

Until then.


Ivana Split said…
This is such a beautiful and emotional post. Losing someone close to us, be it a colleague, mentor or a friend, is always incredibly hard....but as you have pointed out, that person would have wanted us to be happy. So, the best way to treasure their memory is to feel grateful and happy for the times we had with them.
thank you for your kind comment, dear Ivana! x
have a wonderful day!
I haven't got words, it's a hard history, losing someone is always difficult . Thank you so much for sharing this post with us. Be strong and take care!

La ilusión de Nina -
Rach said…
Thank you so much for opening such a personal story. Sending you and her family my thoughts and prayers. A sudden loss or any loss is hard. I also experienced this with a co-worker and it brought me to tears. I didn't understand why this had to happen. Definitely love your message at the end, such a great reminder!
Silvia Negretti said…
I'm so sorry for you: this is terrible and so sad... I have no words....
Your final message is very beautiful, anyway.
thank you so much! x
have a lovely day!
I am so sorry that it also happened to you! I hope this post could help you through grief as well x
have a wonderful day, dear Rach!
thank you so much, dear Silvia! x
have an amazing day!
lovely said…
Thank you for sharing this personal story and I am so sorry to hear this as it is so sad! It is always difficult losing someone, I know how it feels as I experienced it when my father passed away. Your final message is so beautiful!

Unknown said…
I'm so sorry for you and your coworkers that you lost someone important in your lives. Hopefully opening up about it and sharing your experience is cathartic in some way and helps you through the grieving process.

I lost a coworker as well when I was in college, so I think I understand a little bit of what you're going through. I will never forget that experience, and I think it still hurts now just as much as it did back then. I just know how to ride the waves of grief better. I was called in to cover her shift when she never showed up. On the way in, I passed a terrible accident on the road, and saw a dead body laying up on the embankment where a car had hit the trees. Dopey me didn't put two and two together until an hour later when her family called and we found it that it was her in that accident. She'd fallen asleep at the wheel because she'd been working double shifts at her second job trying to save to put her daughter through college.

These people do become like your family in a way. And I think I understand that feeling you have where you don't quite feel right taking it so hard because they were "just coworkers" but they still meant a lot to you. I'm glad you posted this, because I think it's really important for people to be able to openly express their grief and find support. Very courageous!
Kasie said…
Oh my goodness, I am so incredibly sorry for your loss. I have experienced the sudden death of my best friend and I know how shocking it can be and how hard it is to wrap your mind around. I'm sending you so much love. If you ever need to talk to somebody who has gone through something similar, please don't hesitate to reach out.
oh, dear Lovely, I am truly sorry to hear about the loss of your father. I cannot imagine the grief you must be experiencing. I hope this post could help you through grief as well. My deepest condolences to you and your family x
have a wonderful day!
dear Amy, thank you so much for sharing this personal story with me. I am really sorry that it happened to you as well. I couldn't imagine how awful it must be for you to experience that moment. At a time such as this, not even words can express our feelings.

I am glad that there is someone out there who understand how they were not 'just coworkers' because they had been a part of our lives, as well. Wishing you the strength to sustain you during this difficult time and the healing that soothes both mind and spirit. x
thank you so much for your support, dear Kasie! And I want you to know that I am deeply sorry you had to lose someone so important and special in your life. I can't imagine what you are going through. the loss of someone dear to us is never easy. I hope all the cherished memories that you have of your best friend brings you some light during this dark time. You have my deepest, sincerest sympathy. x
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