In Katherine Mansfield's story "The Fly," both Woodifield and the boss lost sons during World War I. The story takes place about six years after the war. Woodifield's daughters have gone to Belgium to visit their brother Reggie's grave. Woodifield is pleased because the cemetery is well cared for, and there are flowers and good paths.
Woodifield notes that the grave of the boss's son is near that of Reggie. The girls saw it. The boss does not reply. When Woodifield leaves, the boss allows himself to fall into memories of his son. He recalls the boy, thinking of him "lying unchanged, unblemished in his uniform, asleep for ever." Yet for some reason, this time, the boss does not weep at this image. Instead, he reflects on how he had built his business for his son, planning that the boy would take over for his father. The young man had even been learning the business already when the war broke out. Everyone had loved him. He would be the perfect new boss someday.
Then the war came, and one day, a telegram arrived. The boss's son was dead, killed in the war. The boss remembers how the news had "brought the whole place crashing about his head." He felt broken, like his life was "in ruins." Even though that happened six years ago, it feels like yesterday. Yet the boss is not feeling the same intensity when he thinks about it, not even when he looks at his son's picture. He appears to be moving into a new phase of grieving the results of the war.