2020 National Virtual Family Forum

Coming together, even when we’re apart.

Various dates from October 17 through November 21, 2020

blue mug of coffee rests on table beside an open laptop with a grid of faces on a videoconferenceWhen you are coping with a life-altering injury that happened on the job, an occupational disease, or the aftermath of a workplace fatality, you may be feeling very alone. No one understands what you’re going through. Friends and family think you should get over it, get on with your life, get back to normal. But your normal is gone. We get it.

Threads of Life (Association for Workplace Tragedy Family Support) offers families affected by a workplace tragedy the opportunity to attend an annual forum, where they can share, network, and ultimately, heal. By attending the National Virtual Family Forum, you will gain:

  • Greater understanding of your loss and its impact
  • Strategies for coping and healing
  • A new network of individuals across the country who have had similar experiences
  • The assurance that you’re not alone!

Why a Virtual Family Forum
In the past, Threads of Life family forums have been held regionally, in person. For 2020, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, we will host a national online event. The opening and closing sessions will be held only once. All other sessions will each be offered three times, within one week. Each participant can sign up for any combination of sessions.

Who should attend
Anyone whose family has been affected by a work-related fatality, or has had a life-altering injury or occupational disease affect themselves or a loved one. Sessions are recommended for family members 14 years of age and older, who are emotionally ready to heal, share their grief and hear others’ experiences.

How to register
Registration is free for family members, thanks to fundraising from Steps for Life – Walking for Families of Workplace Tragedy and our grants and sponsors. The number of spaces are limited, so please register early. Participants will be confirmed on a first-come basis. If you are then unable to attend, please let us know as there may be others on the wait list. If you require assistance, please contact us.

The Program and Schedule

The National Virtual Family Forum will be offered as several sessions spread out over a 5 week period. The Reflections Ceremony and Closing Session will each be held only once. The three other sessions will each be offered at three times within each one week period. Click/tap on the session name to check times and learn more about the session being offered.

Reflections Ceremony: Honouring our Families (October 17, 2020)

Hosts: Shirley Hickman and Karen Lapierre Pitts
October 17, 2020  — Start: 12pm PT / 3pm ET / 4pm AT (2h)

One of the most moving and impactful features of a Threads of Life Family Forum is our Reflections Ceremony. It is here that we collectively honour our loved ones, injured family members and those living with occupational disease. We take time out of our busy lives to reflect on past and present, so families can move further into their futures.

Diving into Grief and Loss (Week of October 24)

Facilitator: Darren Parkin (1h 35m)
October 24, 2020  — Start: 12pm PT / 3pm ET / 4pm AT
October 27, 2020  — Start: 9am PT / 12pm ET / 1pm AT
October 29, 2020  — Start: 5pm PT / 8pm ET / 9pm AT

​Grieving a loss can change who we are and leave us wondering what’s next. In this session we will discuss the basics about grief and loss, coping skills, and how to move forward from here; discovering meaning and purpose out of tragedy.

Supporting Mental Wellness through Grief & Trauma (Week of November 1)

Facilitator: Karen Simmonds (1h 35m)
November 1, 2020  — Start: 12pm PT / 3pm ET / 4pm AT
November 3, 2020  — Start: 9am PT / 12pm ET / 1pm AT
November 5, 2020  — Start: 5pm PT / 8pm ET / 9pm AT

When we experience trauma our feelings can often make us feel like we are going crazy! Symptoms of grief, anxiety and depression can present themselves in many similar ways. With an understanding of the similarities and differences between these and strategies to help support yourself, you will leave the workshop with a clearer mind.

Giving Gratitude and Finding Your Hope in Loss (Week of November 8)

Facilitator: Johanna LeRoux
November 8, 2020  — Start: 12pm PT / 3pm ET / 4pm AT
November 10, 2020  — Start: 9am PT / 12pm ET / 1pm AT
November 12, 2020  — Start: 5pm PT / 8pm ET / 9pm AT

​Finding meaning in loss can simply be “that one little thing” each day to help us through when our hearts are shattered. Love and pain coexists in our hearts when we are grieving. Gratitude can be a powerful tool to help healing and find a connection to hope again.

Closing and Next Steps (November 21)

Hosts: Shirley Hickman, Karen Lapierre Pitts and Kelley Thompson
November 21, 2020  — Start: 12pm PT / 3pm ET / 4pm AT

As they begin to heal emotionally, many people affected by workplace tragedy want to give back – to help others affected, and to prevent future tragedies. This session will discuss ways to do that, and also recognize the many volunteers who give their time and energy to make Threads of Life’s programs work.