Bobbi and Daniel Manka were settling into bed after a night out dancing when Daniel stood up, clutched his chest and gasped, “911.”

Just like that, Bobbi Manka lost her husband of 44 years and gained “a hole in my heart that will never be replaced.”

But she has found comfort where she didn’t know she would: at work.

Grief after the death of a loved one inevitably follows people to work, where employers and co-workers often are unprepared to handle the immediate sorrow or the surges of pain that ambush mourners at milestones like birthdays and holidays.

Some of the shortcomings can be linked to insufficient bereavement leave policies, but often what fails is the human response to a suffering colleague.

“We have become an increasingly death-denying society,” said Amy Florian, CEO of Corgenius, a Hoffman Estates-based organization that trains businesses on how to help grieving clients and employees. “And when we don’t talk about it, we don’t know how to do it well: how to accompany people through grief.”

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