This was in 2017 and well before covid.
My mum died at the age of 40 due to complications of the flu. No underlying illnesses at all and was completely healthy.
She worked at a law firm, doing the work of 3 people (thats the amount of people they got to cover her workload after she passed). She never took a sick day and rarely ever took annual leave – she was discouraged to by higher ups as they needed her.
On the day before she died, she was told she needed to come in the next day. That they were struggling and that they needed her. She had been working remotely while she was sick and were aware she was struggling to breathe. She was rushed into A&E on the Tuesday. Wednesday morning she went into cardiac arrest and that was it. My 16 year old brother and I had no one.
Within a few days, her name and face was plastered over the local papers with the headline “LAW FIRM NAME employee dies of unknown illness”. The whole article was an advert for the firm and how they were going to run business as usual. Her boss and partner of the firm had commissioned it without asking us or my grandparents.
They had her replacement in the day of her funeral.
She gave 20 years of her life to them and in the end, she died for them. Use your sick days and your annual leave. Don't live for the company, because you're just a number to them and they will replace you without a second thought. We never even received a card when she died.