When lives change due to a workplace tragedy – whether a fatality, a life-altering injury or an occupational disease – we grieve so many losses, from little things like the Mother’s Day card we’ll never receive to big ones like the shared future that will never be lived. These are the million private losses that accumulate over the weeks, months and years.

It’s said that grief is what we feel inside, while mourning is expressing that grief to the outside world. For those who’ve experienced a workplace tragedy in their families, National Day of Mourning, April 28, is a day they can remove their masks and mourn publically. It means a great deal to them to know that compassionate supporters are mourning alongside them on that day.

This year for Day of Mourning, Threads of Life asked three family members what they miss most about their loved one. They shared their responses in short videos.

“What I miss most about my brother is the things that I can’t tell him,” says Alex – all the exciting developments in a young man’s life. Virginia misses the sound of Paul’s heartbeat, and Terri misses her son’s “huge smile”. For each of them and so many others, April 28 is their day of mourning.

And it’s a Day of Mourning for all of us because we all miss out on what the thousands of Canadians injured or killed at work, would have given to us all as a community and a country. That’s why it’s so important to take a moment to pause and reflect on those losses, even if we’re not affected personally. On April 28 Threads of Life will host a brief virtual ceremony. You can light your own candle at home or work, and share, in the chat, the name of someone you’re honouring on this day. If you’d like to join us, please register here to receive the Zoom link before the ceremony.

Threads of Life family members and supporters will also be participating and sharing their stories at dozens of in-person ceremonies across the country.

Pausing together on Day of Mourning gives us a chance to look back and honour those affected by workplace tragedy, and also an opportunity to look ahead to a day when those tragedies no longer devastate individuals, families and communities. Together, we will realize Threads of Life’s vision of leading and inspiring a culture shift as a result of which work-related injuries, illnesses and deaths are morally, socially and economically unacceptable.

Susan Haldane