Woman with dark hair and glasses smiles while reading from screen of an open laptopThis year’s Family Forums take place online; a blend of the new and the familiar. Our virtual Family Forum will begin as always with a Reflections Ceremony – a chance for each participant to honour their experience of workplace tragedy. Learning sessions will include Diving into Grief and Loss, Supporting Mental Wellness Through Grief and Trauma, and Giving Gratitude and Finding Your Hope in Loss, plus a closing session. Register for free online, and participate via Zoom. No matter where you are in Canada, we’ve tried to provide sessions that will fit your needs and schedule.

How to learn more: On the Threads of Life web site you can find the full agenda, descriptions of the sessions, biographies of the facilitators, and the link to register. Go to www.threadsoflife.ca/forum2020.

How to register: When you visit the web site, you’ll see a button that says “Register to attend now”. Click and you’ll go to a form that will ask your name, contact information, and a bit of background about the tragedy that has affected you. You can also register other people in your household who will be attending. After you submit your registration (click the “Submit” button at the very bottom of the form) you will receive a confirmation by email.

How to choose your sessions: You can decide to attend only one session, or all of them. It’s all free for Canadians affected by workplace tragedy. We will send you an email with more information, and a form to help you choose. Two sessions – the Reflections Ceremony at the beginning and the closing session at the end – are only offered once. All other sessions are offered at three different times to try to suit peoples’ schedules and time zones. You can just click buttons on the form to tell us which sessions you plan to attend. Once you have registered for a session, please make sure to write it on your own calendar! We have limited space, so we ask everyone who registers to please be sure to participate at their chosen time. Let us know if you become unavailable as we will have a wait list.

How to prepare for the NVFF: When you attend a Family Forum in person, you have to take time away from your regular life. We try to build time for rest and reflection in to the schedule as well. With the NVFF, while each session may only take a couple of hours out of your day, we recommend you build in some self-care if you possibly can. Be mindful that the discussions can take an emotional toll and we suggest you leave time for reflection afterwards.

How to prepare for the NVFF part 2: The National Virtual Family Forum is being offered through an online app called Zoom – it has become very popular these past few months and Threads of Life has been using it for staff and board meetings. To participate fully, you’ll need a desktop or laptop computer or tablet with camera and microphone, and reasonably reliable internet. A cell phone can work, but the small screen makes it hard to see the workshop visuals. You can download Zoom in advance.

How to join a session: After you have chosen your sessions, we will email you a specific invitation, containing a link and a meeting ID number. The link will be different for each NVFF session. We recommend leaving yourself 15 minutes before the session starts to get online, particularly if you haven’t used Zoom before. Click the link in the email. A box will appear that asks something like “Do you want to allow this page to open “zoom.us”? Click “Allow” and then click to allow the program to access your video and your microphone. You’ll be placed in a virtual waiting room and the Threads of Life host will let you in before the session begins.

Once you’re in the workshop, you can see other participants, talk to them, and use a chat box to type in comments. The facilitator may mute everyone’s microphones during the session to limit background noise. We recommend your microphone be muted at all times unless you’re talking.

It may sound complicated, but you can take it step by step. If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact Threads of Life by email at [email protected] or by phone at 888-567-9490.

We look forward to seeing you at the Forum!

Kelley Thompson