Published by Threads of Life — an association that offers support for families affected by a workplace tragedy — Forget Me Not offers a glimpse into the what a family or loved one goes through following a workplace accident or the diagnosis of an occupational disease.
The book features more than 20 stories of workers who were touched — in various devastating ways — by a workplace-related injury or illness.
Jim Dahmer, one of the workers featured in the book, was diagnosed with Mesothelioma at the age of 63. He was likely exposed to asbestos as a teenager working with asbestos pipes and old boilers. In those days, asbestos was everywhere and asbestos protection was virtually non-existent.
An excerpt from the book has Heather, Jim’s wife, telling about what they and how they felt after finding out her husband may only have a few months to live: “Once you get over the initial shock from the diagnosis, you start making lists. You see the lawyer, you see the accountant. You get your papers in order and then what? You scramble to spend time with the people most important to you. So, we went to see all the kids.”
Then there’s the story of Michael Fisher, 22, a roofer who died after falling from the top of a ladder in 2006. Johanna Fisher, Michael’s mother narrates in the book her family’s struggle to face the reality of Michael’s death, and how each of them had different ways of coping.
“The hardest thing from that period that I have to live with is that I didn’t notice Jasmine (the youngest child) cutting herself,” Johanna narrates in the book. “She saw my pain and helped me, but I wasn’t seeing hers.
“It took about a year before I started coming out of the fog and realized that Jasmine hadn’t worn shorts or T-shirts the entire summer before. Fortunately, she was able to stop once we started talking about her grief.”
I met Johanna two years ago, when we were filming our young worker safety video documentary. Since Michael’s accident, Johanna has dedicated her life to promoting young worker safety awareness and is now a speaker for Threads of Life.
The unforgettable stories in Forget Me Not will touch anybody’s heart — whether you’re a parent, son, daughter, brother, sister or friend to someone who goes to work everyday. It’s a dose of reality for those who take their safety at work for granted.
Forget Me Not may be purchased through Threads of Life (www.threadsoflife.ca) for $19.99, plus shipping and handling. All proceeds from the book sales go directly to support Threads of Life programs and services for families of workplace tragedy.
Mari-Len De Guzman is the former editor of Canadian Occupational Safety magazine and www.cos-mag.com.