A very close friend of mine recently lost her mother. I felt privileged to have known her and always loved the annual 4th of July party that her Mom and Dad hosted at their home overlooking the beach in Rockport, Massachusetts. As is often the case, the time leading up to a loved ones death is filled with Herculean efforts to visit the patient in the hospital--and, often, it means taking some time off of work.
This was the case with my friend. Her Mom was in a nursing facility over an hour away. It required fighting traffic, fighting deadlines at work, and ongoing fatigue. My friend handled it like the pro that she is.
I was impressed that her boss took the day off to attend the funeral. It is generally what a good boss does. They take time off to pay their respects to the deceased--but, more importantly, they are there to support their employee.
This manager, however, also called his employee on the phone the very next day to ask her if she was going to be finishing up a project that was due. Really? What planet does this guy live on? A direct report just buried her mother--and you were there--and saw the tears, the emotion, and the love. And then you call and ask about a project?
Managers...this one if for you. Don't call. Give your employee time--time to figure out what their new normal is.
You only get one chance to do this right.