Many people continue to work while coming to terms with the death of a loved one. Some people lose family members or friends to illnesses they have been battling for years. Others know someone who died suddenly. This applies to Andre Rush, a former Marine who was a White House chef for four different presidents. He has won hundreds of awards for his culinary expertise and service in the military.
Despite regularly attending high-profile events and spending time with celebrities, Rush’s life has been far from easy. In April of this year his eleven-year-old daughter was killed by her stepfather. Unfortunately, he was a veteran dealing with PTSD. He also took the lives of his two biological children, who were just five and six at the time. But grief doesn’t hold Rush back. Despite the death of his daughter, he continues to excel in the culinary world. Prominent chefs like Gordon Ramsay have seen Rush’s dedication firsthand.
“Chef Andre Rush (as a professional chef) is a force. His experience winning a decade in the White House was instrumental in establishing him as one of the best,” Gordon Ramsay told me via email. Ramsay has worked with him extensively. In August she had Rush as a guest on MasterChef to make a gourmet meal from military rations. “Having worked with him many times, he is incredibly passionate about the work he does,” Ramsay said. “With his military background and his time as a marine, we have that shared connection with one of my own family in the British Forces. That makes him a man close to my heart.”
Rush became even more invested in his work when his daughter’s life was taken by her stepfather earlier this year. The celebrity chef experienced a devastating loss, but is sharing his daughter’s story to help others while honoring her memory.
we talked Andre Rush about the advice she has for people processing grief while working.
Take a break
Professionals may want to consider taking a break from work after a loved one dies. Many companies offer bereavement days. And don’t be afraid to take more than a few days off work. It’s normal to feel depressed or hopeless after someone in your life dies. Taking time off from work could be good for your mental health in the long run.
Rush wants professionals to know that “it’s okay to grieve,” and that can include leaving their jobs. “Don’t stop your emotions, that’s part of the process. Don’t hold back. If you need to take a break, take a break. You will come back stronger,” he told me.
Find a therapist
This is one of the most important parts of the grieving process. Guidance from a therapist can help a lot. Therapists will offer coping tools for those dealing with loss. They can also recommend books about grief, information on support groups, and more. It may seem like talking about death is taboo, but public figures like Rush hope to change that. “When you start talking openly about these things everyone else will follow suit, even the most unexpected people and organizations. Everyone wants to have a support system,” Rush said.
He believes people should be completely transparent when discussing death. “Sometimes people just need to open up. I tell people not to just dismiss it [grief],” he said.
Join a Support Group
Rush went to a support group with his sister after his nephew died. He has also attended support groups through the military. To find a grief support group, go to Instagram or Tik Tok and type #griefsupportgroup. You will probably come across some organizations and groups. When discussing support groups, Rush said “they’re important because they’re a human connection.”
She advised people to go to an in-person support group if they can. “These are real people in real time, talking openly about what they’re going through,” he said. “The people who support and the people who are there in person, they’re going to take it back and run 100 percent better. People need to have human interaction, but they need to have it with people who can really relate to what they’ve been through.” If someone you know is facing a death, encourage them to continue interacting with other people. This doesn’t have to be through work or big events. Sometimes coping strategies like taking a break, finding a therapist, and joining a support group can make a difference.