Monday was Family Day in Alberta and in many other provinces in Canada. This is our fifth Family Day since our son, Tom passed away.
As a parent who has lost a child to suicide, Family Day has a different meaning. You look back at past memories and are thankful for the happy ones. Your heart aches for those who are also experiencing an empty place in their home because of mental illness and loss.
As a co-founder and spokesperson for SILA Skills, I talk about our son Tom every time I share DBT skills. I tell people that it's like a gift wrapped in barbed wire. If Tom hadn't been ill and we hadn't been so desperate for help, we would never have learned about DBT skills. I will forever be thankful that we were introduced to them five years ago. They gave us peace in our home for the first time in years.
I am thankful that I have these skills to continue being the kind of mom, wife and grandma that my little family needs.
I sometimes ask my husband and my daughter if skills have changed me and they always say yes. They comment that I'm not as emotional as I used to be and I'm not as easily offended. I'm not perfect by any means and there are still moments when I struggle, but the skills give me the ability for 'do overs'. And for that I am forever grateful.
So for this Family Day 2023, I encourage you to put down the phone and shut off the TV and pull out a board game or just sit and talk. Family is the greatest gift we will ever have. I'm thankful that there is a day in Canada that is set aside for it.