The HR Juggler

Day 38: Grief and Gratitude

Posted on: January 7, 2013

38 v 2

Today’s post is written by the wonderful Ailsa Suttie, who has become a really good friend, both online and offline. You can find her on Twitter @AilsaSuttie.


Sitting here writing this and looking back over the last 12 months I am finding it hard to comprehend where the time has gone. In some ways 2012 has run past me like water running through my fingers.

The loss of my Mother over the Christmas holiday last year was shocking and unexpected. I returned home in mid December expecting to bring her home from hospital for Christmas, anticipating that the family would have to make major adjustments in terms of care and support, for her and my Dad, going forward. It was not to be.

Over the following weeks I felt like I was living someone else’s life and it wasn’t until the end of January that I began to thaw and be able to think through what had happened. Grief is the strangest emotion I have experienced, we will all go through it more than once and it will be entirely different for every one of us every time we do.

What has grown from the upset is a stronger bond with my Dad. It’s been a weird experience getting to know him properly as an adult. He was always the type of Dad who answered the phone and passed it over to Mum, if I wanted time with him I usually had to go out into a freezing garage and hand him a spanner. He never did realise (and still hasn’t) that I am not interested in engines and their workings! This year he has amazed me at every turn, his resilience has been inspiring. After almost 50 years of being cosseted by my Mum he has proved he can cook and is a bit of a house proud domestic God. I have always been proud to call him my Pa and am prouder still now to call him my Pal.

Work wise things have been hectic with not a lot of time to reflect. We have restructured our business dramatically and are now left with an organisation that we believe will prosper and meet the future needs of our industry. I have felt flat at times this year, it’s never a pleasant task running a rationalisation project but I have also felt a lack of mental stimulation. I am lucky enough to work with a CEO who listens, leads and develops his team and have been able to be frank about my feelings. The upshot is that in 2013 I will be studying to become a Chartered Company Secretary, it’s been a long time since I studied but I can’t wait to get started.

So, in summary, my year has been one of change and upheaval both personally and professionally. I have learned a lot about myself and have touched depths of emotion I didn’t know I had and found strength in them.  Professionally, I have realised that I have evolved, I am working on projects I wouldn’t have considered a year ago and are not a part of the HR skillset, I am also getting a lot out of developing senior management (and feel rewarded by what I am putting back into the business). I am looking forward to my course of study and the opportunities it will bring in terms of my contribution to the direction and success of our business.

Wishing you all the happiest of holidays and a good year in 2013.

2 Responses to "Day 38: Grief and Gratitude"

Really nice post. Thanks for this.

I’m sorry for your loss, I hope you get a lot from your study. See you soon.

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