Beginning in the first paragraph its possible to understand how much Mr. Woodifield had lost, actually he doesn’t even say about his son. He lost his freedom, his capacity of work, he lost his dignity and I believe, part of his memories. His son died just like many others, but for him is just another lost. He regrets much more having only one day to enjoy alone and outside home than having more time with his son. Even when he remember to tell the boss about the grave of theirs sons, he cares more about the price of the jam his wife and daughter paid at the hotel, then the pain they felt visiting the grave. I imagine that some parents if they had the opportunity to choose, they would choose just don’t remember how strong is the pain of loose your own son, someone you love this much, just like it happened with Mr. Woodifield.
For the boss is completely different. He had great expectation for his son, he probably dreamed about it many times. He feels so much his lost, that he tries to don’t put attention to a photo, just to don’t talk about it. It’s hard to believe that so many years had past, and thinking in everything that he expected broke his heart and his mind. He can’t visit his son’s grave, just think that he is just there forever, with nothing he can do about it, this will never change, his boy will be there, using the uniform and never coming back. When you read the part that says “In the past, in the first few months and even years after the boy's death, he had only to say those words to be overcome by such grief that nothing short of a violent fit of weeping could relieve him.” It’s possible to understand how this broke him, how it will always be a part of his life, because he knows he will never forget that pain.
Right after the boss remember all his pain, how he suffered, how all that memories are so hard to him, the fly shows in his desk, and he start to push it. He try to do with the fly what he would like to do with his son, show that life is not easy, but you can always get out alive of it. He