The family forums are an opportunity for families to come together to share, to learn and most importantly, to heal. These weekends provide a safe place with others who understand. They get it!

I always try to prepare new families for what to expect at their first forum. It is a little overwhelming and truly is an event unlike any other. To help ease that apprehension, as a reminder for returning families and because I really like lists, here are some tips to help you get the most out of your weekend.

  1. Plan in advance.Two weeks before the forum, you will receive more details about the weekend. There will be a session selection sheet with the times and titles. If you are curious about any of the sessions and would like more information just let me know. The full printed program will be provided on the Friday when you arrive.  And please know that it is ok to change your mind during the weekend.
  2. Take off your mask. At the forum when someone asks ‘how are you?’ you can be honest; completely honest. You don’t have to give the normally expected reply of ‘fine’ when you aren’t fine. And you can be assured that whoever has asked the question truly cares and wants your honest answer. You can truly be yourself.
  3. You are not alone. We have all had that feeling of thinking that no one understands what we are experiencing and how our lives have changed. This weekend you will meet others who do understand because they have been there too. We are on this journey together.
  4. Sharing heals. One of the Threads of Life values is sharing because we have learned that it heals. Hearing others’ stories and telling your own can be hard. However there is hope and strength to be gained through the sharing of ourselves with others.
  5. Build in time to rest. It is an emotional weekend and that takes a toll on your body. You need to make sure to look after you. Self care, whether it is reading a book, a soak in the hot tub, a nap, yoga, a quiet chat with another family member or a stroll to clear your head, is so important and will allow you to get the most out of the weekend.
  6. Be prepared for tears. There will always be tissues available but no one will ever tell you that you need to stop crying. Tears are accepted here. Tears are healing. You should also be prepared for some laughter. Many times I have heard someone say incredulously “I laughed for the first time!” Laughter is healing too.
  7. Reach out to others. You will meet some amazing people. You will make new friends. You will probably give and receive a lot of hugs! By the end of the weekend I hope you will feel like you have gained a second family. Another one of our values is caring. Caring both helps and it heals.
  8. Honour your loss. Please know that everyone is here together. Although each journey is unique, we all share a depth of loss that bonds us. Our lives have been forever changed. This is one weekend when you can be open with your grief and your loss. It is safe here.

Returning families – I am sure you have some good advice too! You can share your words of wisdom in the comments below.

You can find more information on the upcoming family forums here! Please contact us at contact@threadsoflife.ca with any questions or to request to attend.

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Kate Kennington

Kate Kennington is a Threads of Life family member and was a valued colleague for 10 years. During her time as staff, Kate served in a variety of development roles, including Family Support Manager.
Kate Kennington
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