chalk boot prints on sidewalk #MyWhyMyWay

As my first full week of social distancing in response to the rapidly evolving threat of COVID-19 came to a close I couldn’t help but think that March is traditionally a very happy time of year for me; the noon day sun is high and the days are getting longer, buds are beginning to form on the trees, and spring vegetation is starting to poke up through last year’s brown grass. The cold winter months are almost in the rear-view mirror and spring is right around the corner.

The first day of spring came on Thursday March 19th this year, the earliest it’s been in the last 124 years and I didn’t even realize it had passed by until the end of the next day.  Although I neglected to even mark it on the first day of “Spring 2020” with the COVID-19 pandemic on every channel and our daily lives so greatly affected, this spring will most likely stand out among my springtime memories and will surely stick with me for a very long time.

As I approach the one-year anniversary of my employment with Threads of Life I reflect upon joining the Halifax Steps for Life planning committee a few years ago and the friendly smiles and warm welcomes from volunteer committee members at my first meeting.  The meeting began with a round table introduction with each member sharing who they were and the reasons why they joined the committee.  Some members were health and safety workers and/or students in training programs, some were local business owners and employees, and some of them were also Threads of Life family members.

When Threads of Life family members shared their personal stories and their experience of how their lives have been affected and forever altered by workplace tragedy, I noticed a trend of them including the date of occurrence and some were very specific about the location, the type of job, who else was there, weather conditions, the month and year, day of the week, etc.

It made me realize that when tragedy occurs those dates and specifics, conditions, incidents and circumstances can easily overpower our thoughts and befuddle our focus. It’s not always easy to stay positive and to continue pushing forward when we have lost someone or a part of ourselves that we may never get back. Don’t forget to celebrate life’s successes, to recognize the milestones and honour life’s achievements in the face of adversity and to find and embrace your new normal.  This is something that I’m sure you’ll agree is easier said than done.

This made me realize why the work that Threads of Life does is so important.  Threads of Life provides peer-based support programs and services to help Canadian families heal through a community of support and to promote the elimination of life-altering workplace injuries, illnesses and deaths.  Our Threads of Life’s partners, sponsors and supporters, and our tremendous volunteers are a key component to bringing awareness and prevention to our communities, and to our success in receiving the continued support needed to provide these programs and services to our Threads of Life families.

As the decision to alter plans for the 2020 Steps for Life event has been made and there will be no traditional community gathering for Steps for Life 2020, our Threads of Life staff and our dedicated volunteer Steps for Life planning committee members are working diligently to assist you in any way that we can as you join us for Steps for Life 2020 as a do-it-yourself style event.  We all look forward to hearing your stories and seeing the pictures with your yellow shirts and/or attire as you find your way to honour and support Canadian families affected by workplace tragedy.

Steps for Life 2020 will be a chance to do something positive for your own health and wellbeing, and for your community. You can choose any activity you like, from art to Zumba, as long as it complies with your area’s health guidelines. Register online – we’ve now waived registration fees – and your participation counts toward your community’s totals. No Steps for Life community page for your town? Visit our virtual walk page – any activity, anywhere. Then share your plans with your family and friends!