To Grieve, a Family Creates a Selfless Memorial
This past January, David White and his family received the news you never want to hear. His son, Ricardo R. Oliveira, a 22-year-old construction worker, had fallen 25 feet while working at a job site. A few days later, Ricardo passed away, leaving David and loved ones heartbroken and in shock.
“The loss of our son Ricardo has brought into sharp focus the pain felt by others who have lost a loved one through tragic work accidents that could have been easily prevented by training and employer common sense,” said David.
After addressing the crowd gathered to observe Workers Memorial Day on the devastating toll of unsafe jobs, David and his wife, Rosane Nascimento White, and his son Christopher White, wanted to contribute to the movement and honor those who have lost their lives on the job. Finding inspiration in a memorial quilt for individuals who, like Ricardo, donated their organs after their death, the Whites dedicated themselves to creating a quilt made up of individual memorials to remember those lost on the job.
“It’s not a lot, but it’s something I can do,” says Rosane White.
The White family is working with MassCOSH to collect pictures of those lost on the job to create Massachusetts’s first-ever Workers Memorial Day Quilt. MassCOSH encourages those who have lost a loved one on the job to contact the organization to forward pictures of the deceased so they can be included in this moving tribute.
While the quilt is one way to connect families who want to be sure their loved ones are never forgotten, David has a message that he hopes will resonate with all families.
“If you have a loved one going out to work in the morning, make sure you hug and kiss them and tell them you love them,” says David. “That’s the one thing we didn’t get a chance to do, and we kick ourselves for it all the time.”