What did you learn from your Volunteer Family Guide?
When I came to work at Threads of Life, among the first members I met were two terrific
women named Eva and Patti. Eva’s son was killed when he fell from the roof of a 60-foot building on a construction site in 2006. Eva is a trained Volunteer Family Guide, and she had been paired with Patti, whose son was also killed on the job in 2010. It was moving to see the bond between these two women. Patti has gone on to become a volunteer guide herself.
The Volunteer Family Guide program pairs people who
have experienced a workplace tragedy, with trained volunteers who have been through a similar experience. If you have had support from a Volunteer Family Guide, would you like to share a bit about what that meant to you? You can type your response in the “comments” form below. Your comment won’t be published right away – we will review and post it. Here are comments from Patti and two other Threads of Life members:
When I finally realized that VFG existed (a year after my son’s workplace incident) I jumped at the chance to talk to another mom. Don’t get me wrong, friends and family were great but I feel that they were as close to the situation as I was. I was still feeling the shock, confusion and was not able to comprehend this nightmare. The first time I spoke to my VFG, I felt very comfortable. She listened to me, she made it all about me that day. She knew the feelings. She was very compassionate and she was always honest with me. As each and every stage of the horrific ordeal came up, the honesty was definitely welcomed. She gave me strength and courage to get through. With those anticipated phone calls every week or two, I knew I wasn’t crazy with all the thoughts and fears I have. I decided to also become a VFG and did the training. I knew that I wanted to help other families, if and when needed. Eva, thank you for all those phone calls, your wisdom, honesty and compassion. I really could not have done it or come as far as I did at that without you! –Patti
My Volunteer Family Guide was an integral part in supporting me through my husband’s inquest. Her insight provided me with an outline of what would occur during an inquest, and most importantly, how my voice could be heard. Her wisdom, guidance and warm heart offered clarity in a confusing legal system made up of paper pushing and jargon. I was able to get through this with her unwavering support. Thank you Elizabeth! -Fran
When I was teamed up with my VFG, I didn’t even know he was a Volunteer Family Guide. I was new to Threads of Life and knew very little about the organization or the programs it provides. I received a letter from the man I later learned was my VFG and he told me all about his son. It happened that our sons were both named Greg, they were both young men, both were engaged and both had a wonderful love of life. We corresponded for three years before meeting in person and when we did meet, I felt that I was hooking up with an old friend whom I hadn’t seen in a long time. We shared our stories and memories of our sons, realizing that we had so, so much in common. Gil helped me move forward and for that, I am eternally grateful. -Geraldine
This article originally appeared in the spring 2015 edition of our free quarterly newsletter,Threads. For more personal stories, news, and information from Threads of Life and our family members, subscribe here.
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Her background is in journalism, public relations and health and safety.