It is always difficult to cope with a death of a loved one and can be even more challenging supporting a child who is dealing with grief. In an effort to ease this burden, Canadian Virtual Hospice has created MyGrief.ca, a website designed to support people grieving a death or an expected death.
The website was launched early May with nine modules intended to help adults understand and work through grief. These include grieving an expected loss, understanding and moving through grief, and managing difficult situations. It offers advice on ways to manage common family dynamics, how to adapt to life after the death, and how to face situations with greater confidence. They provide expert advice for families as well as professionals and caregivers. All the information on the site is accessible for free (people just need to register with an email address on the website). Development of the website was funded by the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer.
The upcoming expansion of MyGrief.ca will focus on how to support a child who is grieving and is being funded by the Canadian Internet Registration Authority (the organization that manages the .ca country code top-level domain).
Andrea Warnick, who is a Virtual Hospice team member and national children’s grief expert, is leading the development of the project. She says that the hope is to provide research-based information about how to best help children through their grief.
“There is a lot of literature about grief and children that hasn’t reached the front lines of our hospitals or educators, so a lot of families are left in the dark about how to support their kids,” Warnick explains. “We want to bridge that gap.”
This aspect of the site will cover how grief manifests in children, how to talk about dying and death in an age-appropriate manner, how to prepare children for funerals and memorials and how to recognize signs that children need more help. “This is important because children’s grief can be so different from an adult’s grief that often it gets missed altogether,” she says.
Warnick says all this information, which they hope will be up next spring, will be free to parents, educators, childcare workers, and others who interact with children. For those who are currently supporting a child grieving, they can sign up for a monthly KidsGrieve2 Q&A, a free online forum where they can ask questions and receive expert advice. The next one is on Sept. 13 at 1 p.m. To participate, email KidsGrieve2@virtualhospice.ca.
For more information, visit MyGrief.ca.