Boss Asks Employee Whose Mother Is In Hospice When She 'Plans To Pass' So They Can Hire Backup

Many people resent that there is no breathing room for traumatic events in our culture.

woman with roses at a grave Arina Krasnikova / Pexels

A woman wrote to Reddit with a heartbreaking story that highlights how little consideration is given to the grief process in US society. She asked the r/antiwork subreddit for advice about how to handle her bosses' cruel reaction to the fact that her mother is terminally ill.

A woman explained to her bosses the emotional toll her dying mother's impending passing is having on her.

The woman explained that she’s had her current job for two-and-a-half years. During the interview process, she disclosed that her mother had terminal glioblastoma, which is an aggressive form of brain cancer. She told her bosses, “Therefore, sometimes in the future, I would have to deal with that.”


“Well, unfortunately that time has come and she is now in hospice and fading fast,” she said. “I have disclosed all of this to my bosses.”

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The woman described the intense emotional toll that her mother’s imminent passing has had on her, saying, “I have been short at work and sometimes it's hard not to be snippy.” Her boss recently asked, “So, how’s mom?” The woman responded, "She's still dying,” which she acknowledged was “not the best response, but I’m not at all okay as of late.”


After that interaction, she was called into the boss’s office, along with his wife, who is the other owner of the company. When asked, “What is going on with you?” the woman answered honestly, saying, "My mom is dying! I'm sad, I'm depressed, I'm just trying to keep it together and you keep piling projects on me, I'm stressed and not doing well!"

bosses ask woman when her mom is passing so they can hire backupPhoto: cottonbro studio / Pexels

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“I then got lectured about how unprofessional I am being,” she said. “That I need to respect them and communicate everything that is going on to them. That they are being very understanding of my situation... and that I need to leave my home life at home.”

The woman described how hard it’s been for her to pretend she’s not mourning a major loss. She said, “I've been trying to leave my grief at home but as we all know, that is not possible.”

The woman was asked when her mother ‘plans to pass, so they can have a backup ready for me when I have to deal with that.’

She explained that she wants to quit her job, but doesn’t currently have the energy or ability to find new work. She asked for guidance, wondering what others would do in her situation.

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The comments she received were supportive and compassionate, holding space for the devastating loss she was experiencing in real-time. One person suggested that if she’s able to, she should apply for time off through the Family and Medical Leave Act, which “provides certain employees with up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave per year.”

Another person commented on the harsh realities of life in the US, where economic value is put at a precedent over mental health. They explained, “American culture doesn’t allow room for real life happenings without punishment and promised servitude,” and advised the woman to try and take everything moment by moment.

Someone else criticized the bosses’ behavior, stating, “They want you to be automated and act as if you're not going through one of the worst crises.”

“I really resent the fact that there is no breathing room for traumatic events in our culture,” another person said. “How are we supposed to function to our full capacity when we can’t even cope with the s–-t thrown our way? It’s just too much sometimes... I hope you’re able to at least be kind to yourself.”


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bosses ask woman when her mom is passing so they can hire backupPhoto: LightField Studios / Shutterstock

One person offered their personal point-of-view, saying, “I work with terminally ill patients in the hospital. When their loved ones are short with me, I absolutely never take it personally because I realize it is not about me. You are doing the best you can in a horrible situation. I wish you as much peace as possible.”


The woman updated her original post to thank everyone for their advice and support, stating, “Now I don't feel as alone or as fearful towards my bosses.”

She ended her post with an emotional missive that touched on how hard it is to lose a parent.

“I've watched my little wonderful mama go from a vivacious, crafty, meticulous woman who loved crafting and painting and walking 4 miles a day to a paralyzed tiny shadow of herself who is bedridden,” she wrote. “I have a lot more to think about, a lot more to do and maybe create a different future for myself.”

Navigating a loved one’s death occupies all our mental and emotional capacities. The process of grieving is never linear. Losing a parent reshapes the form a person’s life takes.


If there’s any slight silver lining to this woman’s deep loss, it might be found in the final line of her post — that maybe it’s time to build herself a different future.

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Alexandra Blogier is a writer on YourTango's news and entertainment team. She covers family issues, pop culture analysis and all things to do with the entertainment industry.