This is one of the things you have to face very early on.
For us, it was all part of the day that Dan died. His mother was due to start a new job that day and was minutes from leaving to go when we got that phone call. So very soon, an hour or so later, I had to phone her new Boss ( another Dan! ) and explain what had happened.
Within a few days, she started her job, and was fine somehow, until the funeral, then just couldn’t face it and was signed off. Over the next year or so she went back, left again, went back and forth – Wilko were brilliant about it but the connection between the job and the event made it too much to cope with. Eventually, a move back to a previous job made all the difference and whilst there are still bad times now and again they are aware and supportive and things seem to be going well.
Myself, I really did let work slide for a few months afterwards and lost a few big clients that were the backbone of my business at the time so by the 4/5 months after it happened I had stopped working, starting something new a few months later once everything was starting to settle and still doing that today.
The reason for going into this is to show that everyone has a wildly different experience. so go back after a short term and are fine…for a while, other ( like a teacher we have met ) has never been able to work again. Yet others have been asked after a few weeks back at work ” are you over that now, no more days off any more then? “
Our answer, play it by ear but talk to work or college as they will hopefully be understanding and often have access to helplines and counselling through their HR departments. Having said that, you may just not be able to and for the moment that is fine too. There are no rules and generally, people want to help.