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Letter: Amend leave law for bereavement

Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.) chairman of the Democratic

Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.) chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) is interviewed by Roll Call in his DCCC office. (Feb. 11, 2011) Credit: Getty Images File

I am the executive director of the Sarah Grace Foundation for Children With Cancer, an all-volunteer charity that honors the memory of my daughter, who lost a courageous battle with leukemia when she was 12.

My wife, Marissa, and I have been working with Rep. Steve Israel (D-Huntington) to modify the Family and Medical Leave Act to allow parents time to grieve after the loss of a child, taking up to 12 weeks of unpaid time off, knowing their jobs will be secure ["Give parents time to grieve a lost child," Opinion, Feb. 6].

My daughter was buried on a Wednesday, and I returned to work the following Monday, because with Sarah gone, I no longer felt comfortable asking my employer for more time off. Returning to a routine so quickly was devastating physically and emotionally, and the scars from this experience linger 10 years later.

The death of a child, at any age, for any reason, is not a natural occurrence; there is no rule book on how to process the experience or how to move on with your life.

Matt Weippert, Hicksville