Three women united by a common thread gathered for a conversation in Winnipeg Thursday night.

Priscilla de Villiers, Lesley Parrott and Wilma Derksen are all mothers of women who were murdered.

They were brought together by Mediation Services Winnipeg to share their stories at a roundtable discussion.

The main message at the forum was that there is life beyond tragedy.

“If anybody had told me before losing Allison that I could not only survive but actually thrive, I would never have believed them,” said Parrott whose 11-year old daughter was raped and murdered in southern Ontario in 1986.

She shares her story because she thinks it is important to teach other crime victims how to grieve.

“It’s hour by hour. It’s day by day. It’s accepting help.”

Derksen’s daughter Candice was killed in Winnipeg in 1984 and since then she has dedicated herself to developing support systems for victims of violent crime.

“We need to explore better ways to help victims heal,” she said, “Because in some ways, if they don’t heal they themselves become offenders. They become angry with society.”

She said sharing her story with others also helps with her own healing journey.