Dear Annie: When I lost our son to suicide in 2012, there were no words to take away the pain. I understood that clumsy attempts to console were well-intended and appreciated the intent.
However, there was one card that meant so much that I still keep where I can see it. It says, "Everything that love could do was done."
I would like to help people understand that after a deep loss, one will always have times of sadness. It helps to be allowed to express those sad feelings when they arise. It helps to speak of the one you have lost and to have others share memories of that person.
It is best to respect those sad feelings and not trivialize them with any "get over it" sort of remarks. Sadness and grief cause many to be uncomfortable; therefore, they want those feelings to go away. But it is best to understand that they are part of life, and we can help each other just by being present and caring. — Missing David
Dear Missing David: I am so deeply sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing your experience with others. I'm wishing you comfort.
Dear Annie: The letter from the woman whose daughter had a miscarriage and had to take vacation pay was infuriating. First of all, the Family and Medical Leave Act requires that employees of companies with more than 50 employees are entitled to "take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave in a year to care for new children or seriously ill family members, or to recover from their own serious health conditions."
This is what the Act says about miscarriages: "A pregnant woman can take FMLA leave for incapacity due to pregnancy ... for prenatal care, to recover from childbirth or for other serious health conditions related to pregnancy, such as a miscarriage."
In addition, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act says that an employee cannot treat you worse than other employees because you are pregnant or have a condition related to pregnancy. Miscarriage is such a condition under the Act.
In other words, unless she worked for a small business (as defined by the Act), the daughter was entitled to unpaid time off that did not cut into her vacation time.
Of course, the real issue is that the United States is the only industrialized country that doesn't provide paid leave for such situations. I suggest that the woman who wrote the letter and her daughter lobby their representative and senators to strengthen the law. The FAMILY Act, which is pending before Congress, would ensure that workers can take up to 12 weeks of paid leave for pregnancy, the birth or adoption of a child, recovery from a serious illness or to care for a seriously ill family member.
This is the pro-family, pro-business, pro-economic security, pro-health solution. — Pro-Family
Dear Pro-Family: I agree with you wholeheartedly that it seems especially cruel to make employees take "vacation" time for a miscarriage. Unfortunately, many small businesses could find it difficult to grant 12 weeks of unpaid leave. Picture a small restaurant with only one waitress. However, there are business owners who make do — hiring a temporary waitress, for instance, during the leave. Thank you for your informative and compassionate letter, and for furthering this conversation.
"Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie" is out now! Annie Lane's debut book — featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette — is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to [email protected]
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