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Practical Insights for Busy Caregivers

Coping with grief: a free expert resource


June 20, 2016, by Pat Morden, Caregiver Exchange

Everyone’s grief is different Shelly Cory, Executive Director of Canadian Virtual Hospice, will never forget one question received at the site’s anonymous “Ask a Professional” section.

A woman wrote to say that her husband had died a year earlier, and she still wasn’t eating properly, sleeping or going out with her friends. Her family, she said, was getting irritated with her, telling her that she needed to get on with her life. Her question: “Can you die of a broken heart?”

That question and many others about grief inspired a new resource, “There aren’t a lot of grief supports out there,” explains Cory. “Some of them require paying a counsellor, which not everyone can do.” was developed by a team of national and international grief experts, and by Canadians who have experienced significant loss. The goal of the site is to help people understand grief, work through it in positive ways, and recognize when they need more help.

The site is organized into nine modules:
  • Grieving an expected loss
  • Understanding grief
  • How has this loss affected me and my family
  • Moving through grief
  • Making sense of intense emotions
  • Managing difficult situations
  • Caring for yourself
  • Do I need more help and where do I find it?
  • When life starts to get better
The modules contain educational materials and videos of people dealing with grief in a variety of different relationships. “The videos are honest, very personal accounts,” says Cory. “It’s important for people who are working through grief to hear that someone has experienced the same thing, that they’re not alone.”

“Everyone’s grief is different,” says Cory, “and it’s rarely linear.” Users are welcome to work from beginning to end on the site, or simply to dip into specific modules and pick the information that’s most appropriate for their situation. A log-in enables users to pick up where they left off whenever time allows.

Cory recommends that users begin by clicking into the “How to use” section (on the right side of the homepage) to get started. If anything in the modules brings up strong emotions, she says there are places users can go, including discussion forums and the “Ask a Professional” section.


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Deliberately choosing to care for my dad over 14 years, in our home, then retirement residence and a Long Term Care home was as comprehensive a life-time education physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually & financially I could never have received through any other life/formal educational experience. I was challenged "simultaneously" in all the above human dimensions in ways I had never experienced & did not know one could - I found both and "virtual hospice" websites wonderful companions that guided & coached me whenever I needed assistance, day or night. In my own time and space of my choosing I was supported. I could read, re-read, pose questions, and contemplate the support available and use what I needed to see me through these 14 years. It was indeed a privilege, honour and gift to be able to provide my dad with a "quality life. Since dad's death I have become an advocate for other seniors & caregivers, a role I find very rewarding. I hope these 2 websites will be promoted to assist others as they have assisted and continue to assist me. Thank you.