AS a Royal Marine, losing her husband was always on Emma’s radar.

But his death from cancer turned everything upside down, and led her to a new profession.

Emma’s husband Simon was a Marine and she had always been aware that she could get a knock on the door in the middle of the night.

But then, in 2013, Simon was diagnosed with terminal oesophageal cancer. Just a few years later, he died.

Emma had worked right up until two weeks before her husband died.

She regards the way her colleagues treated her as pivotal to getting through her husband’s diagnosis.

In those last weeks, Emma’s human resources department had encouraged her to take compassionate leave and spend time with her family.

After Simon died, Emma says her firm told her to take the time she needed before coming back to work.

This gave her the opportunity to start grieving – a process which she found extremely hard to do while also looking after her children.

Emma eventually returned to work with the support of a carers group at her firm.

They supported her with compassion and kindness, listening to how she felt and being perceptive of how she was doing day to day.

Emma said: “It was hard to grieve and look after the kids – but my workplace was amazing, their support and understanding of the changes I needed to make at work to be able to keep moving forward was vital.”

But even after a year since his death, she still felt as if she was living her old life, just without the person she loved in it.

To support her, Emma says her firm allowed her to take more time away from her role, offering the option of taking a sabbatical.

By offering this support, her employers made all the difference to Emma, and helped shape her subsequent career path.

The additional space afforded to Emma made a life-changing impact.

She retrained as a counsellor, setting up Rainbow Hunting to support people with the practical and emotional things which need to be done to prepare for death and dying.

Her passion is to support people who are facing a bereavement.

She said: “My passion is now helping people with the admin side of bereavement and illness, so we can all be better prepared for death.

“I cannot take away the emotional pain, but if you relieve the admin, it makes a difference.”

The support Emma received led her to a new profession and a passion to help and support people facing bereavements.

But not all experiences of death in the workplace are like this.

Stigma around grieving, and a lack of understanding about what it means to be ill and what happens when you are dying, mean that too many people struggle to cope when faced with life’s inevitable challenges. The workplace is no exception.

Research by Hospice UK has shown 57 per cent of employees have experienced a bereavement in the past five years.

Every day, more than 600 people quit their jobs to look after older and disabled relatives. Shockingly, fewer than one in five managers feel very confident supporting somebody they manage with a bereavement.

Dying Matters Awareness Week ran from May 8 to 14, and every year encourages communities across the country to come together to talk about death, dying, and grief.