September of 2014, I had been a critical care nurse in a busy neuro-trauma intensive care unit for 22 years. I had been with many families over the years whose loved one was going to have life-altering injuries or was going to die from their injuries/illnesses. Being relatively naive and uneducated on the long-term effects of grief, I just assumed that they would be sad for a while but eventually their lives would return to normal. I have learned that karma has a nasty way of showing you reality and on September 26th, 2014 I got the hardest lesson of my life when my 17-year-old son Adam was tragically killed at the end of his first week as a co-op student in an auto recycling facility.
Poem on healing from grief … meant to be read slowly with reflection
One of my sons works as a registered nurse in the emergency room of a hospital in Ottawa. In the past, when I thought about the risks of his job, infectious disease didn’t really enter my picture, but it sure has now.
In a normal Steps for Life year, Memory Lane is one of the most meaningful parts of the event. It looks a little different in every community, but this is one of the ways Steps for Life-Walking for Families of Workplace Tragedy can introduce the faces behind the workplace tragedy statistics. Each sign tells a story, even though we know that the few sentences on that sign are just a tiny fraction of the life of the individual and the family it represents.
COVID-19 flipped the script for all of us, including the hundreds of volunteers who were planning 29 Steps for Life walks across Canada this April and May. Our traditional in-person Steps for Life events won’t be happening, so instead we’re encouraging you to design your own activity and share it online using the hashtag #MyWhyMyWay.
Day of Mourning, marked on April 28, began with Canadian labour unions which wanted to emphasize and recognize the many workers who are killed, injured and made ill in workplaces. For Threads of Life families, April 28 is one day when their personal, intimate story becomes a universal story; when they can join with others to acknowledge publicly the toll that workplace tragedy has taken on their lives.
All of us at Threads of Life are honoured to take this time to recognize the efforts of our volunteers. We are humbled by you and all that you contribute to Threads of Life. We are grateful to you, and grateful for you.
Recently, I went through a series of job interviews for a senior HSE position in Calgary. As it turns out, I didn’t land the role and was disappointed to hear that the organization felt I was “too passionate” about safety. Too passionate.
“Is he dead or alive?”
Six simple words. Six words which had the
power to affect the lives of Vance and others.
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 amount of information circulating has reached a certain level of overload in my brain. I took last weekend to re-group, re-prioritize, and make a list of the new things I am grateful for, things that I have learned in the last two weeks.
Farm Safety is an integral part of our family farm life. As my husband Bruce is self-employed, we cannot afford to lose his work hours due to illness, injury or the loss of his life due to a farm workplace incident. His death would be devasting for our farm family.