Ask Someone Else's Mom by Susan Writer

Visits to Critically Ill Boss Prove Too Much

DEAR SOMEONE ELSE’S MOM: One of my bosses has been battling cancer for several years. Sadly, he is now in his final weeks, and it has been hard on everyone in the shop. He is a really good guy, and has tried to stay involved in the running of the business he and his partner started nearly 60 years ago. We all think it helps him to keep as busy as his health allows.

There are three of us who take turns bringing him work that can’t be done on-line or by phone put together by his partner. The other two seem to not have as much trouble seeing him in his failing condition as I do. My grandfather passed less than a year ago from cancer, and it all brings back painful memories.

I have always liked my boss, and he has always been really good to me, bringing me on when I had almost no experience. But I don’t know how much longer I can continue with these visits. I just find it so hard. I know my coworkers would pick up my days, but I am still trying to stick it out.

If I did back out of the visits, do you think it would be wrong and make me a coward? --- FEELING LIKE A COWARD

DEAR FEELING LIKE A COWARD: Having recently lost someone close to you to cancer gives you painfully fresh insight into just how heartbreakingly difficult it is for both your boss and his loved ones. I can certainly understand why your reaction may be to remove yourself from the situation. However, before making that decision, you might want to have a conversation with your other boss about how you’re feeling. I’m guessing his long-time partner knows your ailing boss well. Listen to what guidance you get from that corner, and don’t judge yourself harshly if continuing the visits is too much for you. Seeing, or even sensing, your discomfort could potentially make it harder on your boss, and wouldn’t be helpful to anyone involved.

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