DEAR SOMEONE ELSE’S MOM: My boss just lost his wife a few months ago. At first, he took time off to be with his adult kids and his siblings, so we didn’t see much of him for several weeks.
Now that he’s back in the office most days, we all see a change in him, which we would expect, but it isn’t the kind of behavior we thought we would see. He actually seems happier than before the death.
We have talked about it and we wonder if he’s on something or if he’s trying too hard, or someone even suggested he’s relieved his wife is gone. It was a long illness, and it took a lot out of him for years.
We don’t know if we should reach out to one of his kids, if we should say something to him, or if we should just let things play out. Would we be hurting more by doing something or doing nothing? --- WORRIED ABOUT MY BOSS
DEAR WORRIED ABOUT MY BOSS: Any and all of your and your coworkers’ conjectures may be true. Responses to grief are individualized and changeable over time.
I’d keep an eye on him, and think your idea of contacting one of his kids might be a good one if you’re getting a weird vibe. If the upbeat behavior you see is vastly at odds with what his family’s observed, it might give them something to keep a watch on for your boss’s sake.