UNITED STATES—It has been a hell of a past two weeks for me people, how I have not fallen to pieces I have no idea, but I have dealt with two unexpected tragedies that struck my family at the core. I had a cousin unexpectedly die after going into hospice and then another family member die after a stroke. Yeah, death has struck and it struck me and my family quite hard. In the midst of all this grief, I have still managed to work and take care of all my responsibilities, but I’m being stretched thin people I really am.

Death has a way of forcing you to re-evaluate life and what you want and what you do not want. Death teaches you someone can be here one minute and gone the next minute. It is so scary, but that is the one thing we are all promised in life: DEATH! It will happen, for many of us we just don’t know when it might transpire. When it comes to our loved ones, and recent tragedies that I have endured, it is making me realize don’t take people for granted.

Talk to them, tell them how you feel, share stories and don’t be afraid most of all to say “I Love You.” Those three words don’t cost anything America and for so many of us, we are so hesitant to same it, but it raises that question: why? Dealing with grief is always difficult, but witnessing it on the face of others who have lost a spouse, a child, a sibling or a close relative or family members I worse.

You don’t know what it is he or she is feeling, how they compartmentalize their emotions and how they navigate particular trauma. Nothing annoys me more when people say, “Oh, just work thru it.” That may work for you; it does not work for everyone. Just because that is how you deal with grief doesn’t mean it works for everyone else. Some people fail to realize working thru grief does not just the grief people. When the work is no longer there, you know what returns: the grief and it can strike you like a ton of bricks that you can never imagine people and picking up the pieces isn’t easy.

You start to question life. What am I doing? Am I happy at work? Why am I not spending more time with family? What can I do to improve upon my relationships? Should I be reaching out more? Should I let grudges or family tussles go? Your mind starts to cloud with thoughts, some good, and vast majorities are bad. So what has grief taught me, don’t bottle it up. Let it out. Scream, shout, cry, ball your eyes out unleash that emotion because it shows you are human and if people don’t understand it, that’s their problem.

As for work, take the day off, and don’t feel guilty about it, you don’t have be committed to something nonstop people, you’re allowed time to yourself and if your place of employment cannot understand that, then perhaps that is somewhere you need to question if you should still be working there. Most companies provide bereavement when it comes to their staff having to deal with deaths in the family. You may not be paid if it’s NOT an immediate family member, but you will indeed get at least 2-3 days off if needed. The notion of a company thinking you’re just supposed to work thru death like nothing happened, simply because some members of its staff has done so is just frustrating.

One person’s perspective on death is NOT going to be the same for another person; it will be varied so comparing one person’s experience with another person’s experience is a major mistake and people should be aware of that. You don’t know how someone processes death so tread cautiously and never assume. Death is something that is hard to explain or talk about for a lot of people. If someone wants to talk to you so be it, if they don’t give them that space to navigate and deal with whatever death they’re grappling with the best way they know how. We all have different tools that we use to deal with trauma; no one way suits all people. Anyone who thinks that should think again.