When the boss first found out about his son's death, it was via a telegram delivered to his office. His son was away, fighting in the war, and one day, the boss received a telegram that notified him that his son had died during the fighting. The boss recalls from that telegram the phrase "Deeply regret to inform you." That day the boss left his office "a broken man, with his life in ruins." He felt as if the whole world had suddenly come "crashing about his head."
The metaphors "broken man" and "his life in ruins" suggest that the boss felt utterly grief-stricken and devastated when he first learned of his son's death. The metaphorical description of the whole world seemingly "crashing about his head" suggests that when he first learned of his son's death, he felt as if the whole world had ended. The overall implication of these metaphors is that, upon hearing the news of his son's death, the boss felt as if his life had been reduced to rubble, was beyond repair, and was not worth carrying on with.
We are also told that in the months following his son's death, the boss would often be "overcome by such grief that nothing short of a violent fit of weeping could relieve him." The words "overcome" and "violent" emphasize the extent of the boss' devastation. During the months immediately following the death of his son, the boss also felt convinced that his grief would never lessen. He believed that he would always feel as devastated and broken as he did in these months. Indeed, his "Life had come to have no other meaning" beyond his son. The boss had also built his company for his son to inherit from him, but with his son gone, he felt as if his efforts and his life had been stripped of all meaning.