Grief and Bereavement Resources
Your relationship with SickKids does not end once your child has died. Please explore this section to learn more about the ways that we can continue to support you and your family.
Of particular note, please feel free to print off resources from the GriefWords Library. These one page handouts offer ideas and support around grief in varying circumstances. You are welcome to share the link with your friends and family to help them understand as well. PACT has ensured that this resource is available to you through our donated funds that are received through the SickKids Foundation.
If you find more information that would be helpful for other families, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org to share it with the Grief Support Coordinators. We will review and share any appropriate documents and links that are available.
Pathways Grief Support Program
Pathways Grief Support Program is housed within the Paediatric Advanced Care Team (PACT) at SickKids. All bereaved families who have experienced the death of a child who was cared for at SickKids are offered the opportunity to receive services and support from Pathways. Two Grief Support Coordinators are available to help you Monday-Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Together in collaboration with PACT they can help you gain the resources and support that your family requires. You can also contact us to learn about resources if you aren't a family and we will attempt to put you in touch with other organizations. To reach the program please email: email@example.com.
Pathways Grief Support Coordinators, along with the PACT Consult Service are available to sit with you and help with you while you grapple with difficult decisions and possible outcomes. We are honoured to be able to work with families who are both hopeful and grieving at the same time.
Grieving parents often are uncertain about what to do about their breast milk when their infant is dying or has already died. The following link contains information to support grieving parents as they decide about cessation of breast milk production (PDF) or to consider donation – whether it is donation of milk already pumped or to continue to pump milk for other infants in need.
If you are looking to consider this option, please contact the Rogers Hixon Milk Bank to find out if you can donate and begin the process. If you have stored Expressed Breast Milk at SickKids and want to consider donating, please contact the Rogers Hixon Milk Bank ASAP via their website, as the milk can only be stored for 30 days after your child's death. You will require at least 5 Litres of saved milk for donation. This gift will assist premature and ill babies in hospitals. After this point it will be respectfully discarded.
For more information about our program, please click on the Pathways Grief Support Program brochure (PDF).
What can memory making look like?
- Photography. Either with a Grief Support Cart Camera and SD card provided or through contacting a community/hospital photographer who offers professional photography at no charge (you can also find out if community photography is available for your family through the Grief Support Coordinator)
- Going online and creating a Song of Love for your child – The song is created for your infant/child/teen with their likes and favourite things by a songwriter and is then sung by an artist just for your child. It can be marked urgent if you anticipate your child's death within the next few weeks but the CD will usually arrive 4 to 8 weeks after submission via online or fax. You can request a certain style of music and they will do their best to help that happen. Visit the Song of Love website to learn more about the nonprofit organization or find the app, available for Apple and Android.
- 3D molds made with family and child: (see Instructions for Care of 3D Mold [PDF] after they are made)
- Model Magic molds
- Sound disks to capture a heartbeat or the sound of a child's or parents' voice (10 seconds)
- Painted hands/feet on art boards
- Thumb print trees
- Lip prints
- Hugs from child to family and from family to child for when you are not able to be together (you can use a strip of fabric the length of your arms and chest decorated with loving memories)
- Butterfly Bravery Bead – this is for families to complete their Bravery Bead chain after the death of their child. It is sent by their clinical team with their first bereavement card. If you did not receive one in the first few months after your child's death, please contact the Grief Support Coordinators.
- Memory Boxes – to place the items in, which can be decorated by the child or siblings/parents as a safe place to store their valuable memories
- Creation and work towards fulfillment of a Bucket List, with the child who has a life limiting condition or on their behalf if they can't participate fully
Specific written resources to support families are also available on the Grief Support Cart for:
- special circumstances (single parents, death of a twin, same sex couples, etc.)
For parents of infants (under 1 year) who have died, there is an American group called: Mollys Bears who will make matching-weighted teddy bears for parents who are grieving the death of their infant.
A hand-made memory box: there are many organizations and artists who create hand-made memory boxes. The Grief Support Coordinators know of some organizations, but if you know of others, please let us know. Other legacy makers include: Donations (monetary, volunteering or gifts) to a charity of choice; Having a fundraising event to encourage community to support a charity (see SickKids Foundation if you want to work with them on fundraising); Creating a memento space: a cabinet, a shelf or another safe place where legacy items created earlier can be placed.
Made with clothes and blankets of the loved one
Contact your local quilters guild to see if anyone is willing to work with family to do this, or you may have a family member who quilts who could make one with love. A hand-crafted teddy bear can also be created out of clothing as a memory item. We have some names of local quilters in the area for parents who want to try to have this done. There is likely a cost for this option. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested.
How to remember your child on their birthday
The Pathways Grief Support Program sends first birthday remembrance cards to our grieving families and are getting thankful feedback from parents who have shared their thoughts with us.
Anniversaries of your child’s birthday can be a time of anxiety and sadness for those who have lost a child. The images of birthday celebrations may leave you feeling alone and isolated. While the world around you seems to rejoice, how can you manage the pain and navigate this incredibly difficult time? Try to acknowledge that your child’s birthday may be a very difficult time for you. Together, as a family, create new birthday traditions. If you have other children, ask them what they would like to do. Then, as a family, decide the best way to spend this day.
Look for ways to include the memory of your loved one. Here is a selection of ideas which you may find helpful:
- Make a card or purchase a special gift appropriate for the age your child should have been and donate to someone in need (such as a children’s charity or Children’s Aid).
- Spread kindness and perform a random act of kindness in honour and memory of your loved one. This beautiful movement has helped thousands of families to heal.
- Write a poem to your child.
- Make a donation to a charity that is meaningful to you and your child.
- Giving something of yourself to others can be healing during this difficult time. Volunteering your time to help others can be a beautiful way to honour your child’s memory.
- Plant a tree or special plant.
Look for ways to honour your child throughout the year. Many families visit their child’s final resting place on special occasions such as the anniversary of the child’s birth and death and special holidays. Parents find a sense of peace knowing that their child is always with them in spirit. Give yourself permission to feel your heartache. Your memories of your child will help you cope.
We encourage you to share your ideas with us at email@example.com.
The Grief Support Program has relationships with several programs and resources in the community (ie. Support Groups, Funeral Planning etc.). Families can be referred to programs in their community by contacting one of the Grief Support Coordinators via email.
If you are looking for appropriate reading materials as a grieving person, please visit Robert's Press, a Canadian bereavement resource organization based in St. Catherine's. Resources purchased through Robert’s Press can be mailed anywhere in the country and the organization is accessible for community education.
PACT events are hosted by trained professionals and volunteers, and are opportunities for bereaved families to meet one another, learn about community resources, participate in grief exercises with their children, and celebrate their deceased child. Past events have included picnics, activity afternoons and candle lighting ceremonies. We are currently offering all of our support, educational and memorial opportunities via Zoom for parents and some for extended families. Please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
- Coffee Klatches: we will continue to host Coffee Klatches online (Zoom) once a month for new grievers and a second session per month for all grieving parents. Contact us for details. Please register by sending an email to email@example.com and a Zoom link will be sent out the day before the event.
- PACT Family Picnic: Our next PACT Grieving Family Picnic and Butterfly Release will be held on June 24, 2023. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for details and to register.
- Our 10th Annual Candle Lighting Service -will be held virtually (and maybe some in person) in early November. Please contact email@example.com for details about this event for 2023.
Unit Based Memorial Services
Several inpatient units within the hospital host memorial services each year. This is a time to reconnect with staff who cared for your child, and to honour your child’s memory. Units who have held these services in the past are: Haematology/Oncology, Cardiology, Paediatric Medicine and the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.
Haematology/Oncology Program: will be held online (Zoom) in May 2023. Please note that families have been invited to join us. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
For the following unit events, contact Lori Ives-Baine.
- Paediatric Medicine (7 B, C and D): This event is on hold at the moment.
- Neonatal Intensive Care Unit: will be held on April 22, 2023.
- Cardiology Program (CCCU and 4D): was held in February 2023 .
When children grieve, whether they are siblings, cousins or good friends, we tend to be less aware of the impact grief has on their lives. Here are some options that can be helpful. Further down the page you will find some great websites.
- Scrapbooking: To tell the child’s and family’s story, and each family member can have their own. Products are available at the Dollar Store once a book is obtained.
- Creating a Legacy Shelf: Families can place important things to remember their loved one in a special place.
- My Good Grief Journal for Kids: This app is only available on iPads but allows children (with adult supervision if young) to tell the story of their loved person, whether it be a brother or sister or parent/grandparent or pet. It also includes a journaling space for kids who want to reflect on their feelings not just memories.
- Temporary tattooing: Families can choose to create a tattoo of their loved child (from a photo or hand/foot print) to keep them connected.
- Giving an item from the deceased person to a sibling/family member: This keeps the story alive in many families and the items can be very precious.
- Charity fundraising/donation: This can be very therapeutic for grieving families and does not have to be large amounts of money. A small gift on birthdays or “angel days”/death days can be therapeutic and make a difference.
Accessing children's grief programs
Expand the sections below to learn about each program.
There are many resources for grieving children and you can find a comprehensive list on the Canadian Alliance for Children's Grief website. This space is constantly being updated – check back regularly to take advantage of these reviewed resources.
In the Oakville area, Lighthouse Peer Support groups are facilitated by professional staff and trained volunteers with years of experience in grief education and child/youth development. Support groups meet on weekday evenings, every other week for 90 minutes during the school year. There are breaks in the summer and for school holidays.
2322 Rebecca St. Oakville, ON L6L 6N8
Phone: (905) 337-2333
Since 1995, Seasons Centre for Grieving Children has been providing peer to peer support for children between the ages of 4 and 24 years who are grieving the death or life-threatening illness of an immediate family member.
The Centre is founded on the belief that every child deserves the opportunity to grieve in a supportive and understanding environment. There are no fees for our services. Children are able to attend programs regardless of their family’s financial situation. Seasons Centre for Grieving Children receives no government funding and relies on the generous support of our community.
38 McDonald St., Barrie, Ontario
The wonderful Children and Youth Grief Network organization provides online resources for anyone in the country, including information on supporting children through the death of any loved family member. They have included an educational video series that we encourage you to review as it will provide great resources for you and your family.
Several of their Beareaved Families of Ontario affiliate sites offer sibling grief groups. Please check out what is available in your local community.
Mutual Support Groups: Children’s Program
A free* drop-in program for children who have experienced the death of a loved one. This is currently undergoing updates, so please check out their website for more information.
The drop-in program consists of:
- Small groups for children ages 6-12 meeting twice a month
- Groups run by trained volunteers
- Groups based on art and activity
- Caregivers who attend an educational support group at the same time which provides information on how to help your child(ren) cope with the death
Where: The group will be held at the BFO - Toronto Offices (will be online)
- 250 Merton St. Suite 202 (Yonge and Davisville). Parking and TTC accessible
*Groups are free but any donation is appreciated!
Note: please check their website to find what is currently available. Centre for Grief and Healing, we offer support for children and youth who have experienced the death of a loved one. We support ages 6 and up through individual and group sessions.
Children Services (Ages 6-13)
Individual Sessions: Our professional and trained staff work together to create a safe, caring, and non-judgmental space to provide each child with the opportunity to learn, share, and engage in conversation that will help reflect upon and work through their grief. This is done by creating a powerful atmosphere of connection and support through their journey towards a new normal. In each individual session, a peer support worker will have a themed, art-based activity set out for each child to work on throughout the session.
*There are no groups for children currently.
Youth Services (14-18)
Individual Sessions: Our professional and trained staff work together to create a safe, caring, and non-judgmental space to provide each individual with the opportunity to learn, share, and engage in conversation that will help reflect upon and work through their grief. This is done by creating a powerful atmosphere of connection and support through their journey towards a new normal.
Group Sessions: The Art Expression Grief Support Group is a mixed loss group that provides youth with an opportunity to share their story with others who have also experienced the loss of a loved one. This group incorporates different types of art into discussion around common topics related to grief in a safe and confidential space.
For more information please contact:
Centre for Grief and Healing (Bereaved Families of Ontario - Halton/Peel)
A: 610-33 City Centre Drive, Mississauga, ON L5B 2N5
Rainbows for All Children Canada is the largest international non-profit organization committed to helping children and teens grieve and grow after loss. Rainbows has served with more than 2.7 million youth since 1983.
Rainbows forms partnerships with schools, faith communities and social service agencies so they may establish grief support groups and help vulnerable children. Rainbows builds the confidence and self-esteem of hurting children, improves communications, prevents destructive behaviours, and improves academic performance. We have developed seven age-appropriate curricula and extensive, interactive training for the sites' volunteers delivering our services.
Preparing for your child's funeral
In crisis, many families do not have the opportunity to think about how to plan a funeral. For families experiencing this hardship and pain, there are resources available to help navigate the process.
Please speak to your social worker, nurse or one of the Grief Support Coordinators to access information to help you. If funding for your child’s funeral is a challenge, please speak to your social worker prior to contacting a local funeral home.
If you are looking for information on local funeral homes please ask your social worker, nurse or one of the Grief Support Coordinators to provide you with some local information. This map of the province's funeral homes can help families find funeral homes near where they live or the location of a local cemetery.
If you are a funeral home provider and would like your information to be updated, please email email@example.com.
Find important information about this process and various options, below.
- Unless time constraints are enforced through religious or family concerns, you can take the time you need to plan for your child’s funeral. If your child's body is at SickKids and you anticipate needing more than 1-2 weeks, please contact the Grief Support Coordinators at firstname.lastname@example.org so that we are aware of any timeline changes.
- Funerals can be expensive if you are not aware of how much you can afford to spend.
- If you have a loved one who has been earth buried, it <I>might</i> be possible to place an infant’s casket or the cremated remains of an older child’s body with the loved one who is buried. Every cemetery has different rules, so please check before making plans. You will need permission from whoever is the grave’s owner to allow this to happen, and the costs associated will include opening and closing the grave as well as any other service costs but you will not have to pay for the grave itself.
Some families want to have opportunities to reduce the impact on the environment with chemically reduced burial options.
- CINDEA - Canadian Integrative Network for Death Education and Alternatives. This website connects people to books and resources with the intention of moving away from traditional funeral home-based services, towards more natural options. If you are looking for natural alternatives, this resource may be useful to explore.
- Thumbies - Your funeral home can help you capture a memory of your loved one through a Thumbprint, or hand/foot print. Please make sure you get one if you haven't done them before. If you have captured them before, you can make a photocopy and use that to send to the company to purchase personalized jewelry.
Many parents are unaware of this loving option. If you are able to consider it, the cost is much less than a traditional burial (which includes grave plot, opening and closing fees). However, cremation requires more thought and a potential cost to ensure you have a place to visit your loved one’s cremains (scattering garden/niche/a private place in your home are possibilities). This can also be helpful for families who are not planning on staying in a certain area, as it can be very difficult to move and leave your loved one’s grave behind.
Some families choose to do a couple of other things with their child's ashes;these examples are by no means extensive and new options occur all the time. Please understand that all have costs associated and you need to be thoughtful about planning.
- Tattoos - Some families have identified that a quality tattoo artist can help them if they choose to have one made in their child's memory. A tiny amount of the cremains can be safely added to the ink (it has been sterilized by burning at a very high temperature for a long time) keeping the connection close to your child forever.
- Cremation jewelry - Funeral homes can provide these options but you can also find them online for much less.
- Artful Ashes - The idea of taking a small amount of cremated ash and creating a beautiful memorial orb/heart may feel right to some families. Please contact the website for details and more information.
Books and internet resources on coping with serious illness, grief and bereavement
Some of these books listed below are older, but still very valuable. If you are looking for a resource or have one to share, please email email@example.com and we will respond. These can be purchased through many venues, just search for the name/author of the book.
- Davis, D.L. (1996). Empty cradle, broken heart: surviving the death of your baby. Golden, CO: Fulcrum Publishing.
- Fitzgerald, H. (1992) The Grieving Child- a parent’s guide. A Fireside Book: New York.
- Gunkel, V. (1999) Helping Children Understand Death. Ontario Funeral Services Association: Toronto.
- Ilse, S., Hammer Burns, L. and Erling Martinez, S. (1996) Sibling Grief. Wintergreen Press: Maple Plain, MN.
- Johnson, J. & Johnson, M. (1998). Children Grieve, too- helping children cope with grief. Centering Corporation.
- Kuebelbeck, A. & Davis, D.L. (2011). A gift of time: continuing your pregnancy when your baby's life is expected to be brief. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press.
- Leitao, Vince (2015). Jonathan, Do you know me?
- Morash, Shari (2014) Loving your baby- a gentle and practical guide to parenting through miscarriage, stillbirth and infant death. Guelph, Ontario, Canada: Loving Your Baby Books.
- Nussbaum, Kathy (1998). Preparing the children: information and Ideas for families facing terminal illness and death. Gifts of Hope: Kodiak, AK.
- Wolfelt, A, D. (1990) A Child’s View of Grief- A guide for caring adults. Service Corporation International.
- Woodward, J. (1999) The Lone Twin- Understanding twin bereavement and loss. Free Association Books: London.
- Grollman, E.A. (1990). Talking about death: A dialogue between parent and child Beacon Press: Boston, MA.
- Turner, M. (1998). Talking with children and young people about death and dying: A workbook. Jessica Kingsley Publishers:London & Philadelphia.
- Mellonie, R., & Ingpen, R. (1983). Lifetimes: A beautiful way to explain death to children. Bantam Books: New York ,NY.
- Maple, M. (1992). On the wings of a butterfly: A story about life and death. Parenting Press: Seattle, WA.
- Talbot, K. (2002). What Forever Means After the Death of a Child Transcending the Trauma, Living with the Loss. Brunner-Routledge: London, England.
- Bereavement Services RTS (1998). Talking with Children about Perinatal Loss. Bereavement Services: La Crosse, WI.
- Blanford, C. (2010). My baby Big Sister. Ananda Press: Western Springs, IL.
- Blanford, C. (2008). Something Happened- a book for children and parents who have experienced pregnancy loss. Something Happened: Western Springs, IL.
- Boritzer, E. (2000). What is Death? Veronica Lane Books: Santa Monica, CA.
- Boulden, J. &Boulden, J. (1995). When Death Happens. Boulden Publishing: Weaverville, CA.
- Buscaglia, L. (2002). The Fall of Freddy the Leaf- A Story of Life for All Ages. Slack Incorporated:Thoeofare, NJ.
- Butler, S. (2008). A Letter from Heaven. AuthorHouse: Bloomington, IN.
- Butler, S. (2009). We Do Remember You. Enheart Publishing: Charlotte, NC
- Coleman, P. (1995). Where the balloons go? Centering Corporation: Omaha, NE.
- Cressman, A.S. (2014). I think of you every day. Canada: Amanda Cressman
- Dernederlanden, C. (2000). Where is Robert? Roberts Press: St. Catherine’s Ontario.
- Erling, J. (1998) Our Baby Died-Why? A journal and workbook for children. deRuyter-Nelson Publications, Inc.: St. Paul., MN.
- Foster-Morgan, K. (1995) Sunflower Mountain. Sunflower Publications: Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
- Grollman, E. A. (1990) Talking about Death- a dialogue between parent and child. Beacon Press: Boston.
- Gryte, M. (1999) No New Baby- for siblings who have a brother or sister die before birth. Centering Corporation: Omaha.
- Hansen, W. (1997) The Next Place. Waldman House Press, Inc.: Minneapolis.
- Heegaard, M. (1988) When Someone Very Special Dies- Children Can Learn to Cope with Grief.Woodland Press: Minneapolis, MN.
- Heegaard, M. (1991) When someone has a very serious illness- Children can learn to cope with loss and change. Woodland Press: Minneapolis, MN.
- Heegaard, M. (1991). When something terrible happens- children can learn to cope with grief.Woodland Press: Minneapolis, MN.
- Johnson, J,.and Dr. S.M. (1998). Children Die, Too. Centering Corporation: Omaha.
- Johnson, J. (2001). The Very Beautiful Dragon. Centering Corporation: Omaha, NE.
- Johnson, J. & Grollman, E.A. (2001). A child’s book about burial and cremation. Centering Corporation: Omaha, NE.
- Johnson, J. & Grollman, E.A. (2001). A child’s book about funerals and cemeteries. Centering Corporation: Omaha, NE.
- Johnson, J. and S.M. (2005 reprint). Tell me Papa- answers to questions children ask about death and dying. Centering Corporation: Omaha, NE.
- Johnson, M. (2003). Where’s Jess? Centering Corporation: Omaha, NE.
- Josephson, K.B. & Sourkes, B.M. (1995). My Life is feelings. (English and French). University of Pittsburgh Press: Pittsburgh, PA.
- Karst, Patrice (2014). The Invisible String. DeVorss & Company: Camarillo, CA.
- Krasny Brown, L, and Brown, M (1998). When Dinosaurs Die- A Guide to Understanding Death.Little, Brown and Company: Boston.
- Keough, P, (2001). Remembering Our Baby: a workbook for brothers or sisters whose baby dies before birth. Centering Corporation: Omaha, NE.
- Klicker, R. L. (1988). Kolie and the Funeral. Thanos Institute: Amherst NY.
- Lewis, A. (2005). When someone you love has cancer- a guide to help kids cope. One Caring Place: St. Meinrad, IN.
- Mills, J.C. (2004). Gentle willow- a story for children about dying. Washington DC: MaginationPress.
- Mills, J.C. (1992) Little tree: A story for children with serious medical problems. New York:Magination Press
- Munoz-Kiehne, M. (2000). Since My Brother Died. (English and Spanish together) Centering Corporation: Omaha, NE.
- Myers Trunz, D. (2001/2004) Laughter in the Wind. Cheerful Cherub Press. Lakewood, CO.
- Old, W.C. (1995). Stacy had a little sister. Albert Whitman & Company: Morton Grove, Ill.
- Peterkin, A. (1992) What About me? When brothers and sisters get sick. Magination Press: New York.
- Posen Young, R. (2001) Samantha’s Unicorn. Temmy Latner Centre for Palliative Care: Toronto.
- Posen Young, R. (2003) Jamie’s Rainbow. Temmy Latner Centre for Palliative Care: Toronto.
- Samuels, V. (2005) Always My Twin- for young children who have experienced the death of their twin sibling. Trafford Publishing: Victoria, BC
- Schwiebert, P. & DeKlyen, C. (1999). Tear Soup. Grief Watch: Portland, OR.
- Schwiebert, Pat (2003) We were gonna have a baby, but we had an angel instead. Grief Watch: Portland, OR.
- Schwiebert, Pat (2007). Someone came before you. Grief Watch: Portland, OR.
- Shibley Abbott, Susan (1996) Lessons. Centering Corporation: Omaha, NE.
- Silverman, J. (1999). Help me say goodbye- activities for helping kids cope when a special person dies. Fairview Drive: Minneapolis, MN.
- Silverman, P. R. (2000) Never Too Young to Know- death in children’s lives. Oxford University Press: New York.
- Sims, A. (2011). My Always Sister - coloring book. St. Paul, MN: deRuyter-Nelson Publications Inc.
- Stickney, D. (2004). Water bugs & dragonflies- explaining death to young children. The Pilgrim Press: Cleveland, OH.
- Stillwell, E. (1998). Sweet Memories- for children and adults... to create healing and loving memories for holidays and other special days. Centering Corporation: Omaha, NE.
- Thomas, M.W. (2005). What does “died” mean? (Navajo) Salina Bookshelf, Inc.: Flagstaff, AR.
- Vogel, R. H. (1994) The Snowman- A book about children and grief. Centering Corporation: Omaha.
- Wolfelt, A. D. (1996). How I feel- a coloring book for grieving children. Batesville Management Services: USA.
- Wolfelt, A. D. (2001). Healing your grieving heart for kids- 100 practical ideas- simple advice and activities for children after a death. Companion Press: Fort Collins, CO.
- Wolfelt, A. D. (2001). Healing your grieving heart for teens- 100 practical ideas- simple tips for understanding and expressing your grief. Companion Press: Fort Collins, CO.
- "Fausse couche Vrai deuil" by Manon Cyr and Isabelle Clément for losses in the first trimester up to 20 weeks of pregnancy.
- "Les rêves envolés" by Suzy Fréchette-Piperniis is a good resource for perinatally bereaved parents.
- For children, my favorite book is called "L'histoire de minuit, la chatte dont le frère nouveau-né est mort"
- The Courageous Parents Network - a wonderful website that is family friendly and helps families and caregivers to think about their child with a significant illness.
- KidsGrief.ca - a brand new (November 2017) grief resource for families helping grieving children. This resource is Canadian!
- The Sibling Connection - this website has some amazing resources to help parents to help their kids, and provide a great context for parents who are trying to understand their children’s grief.
- The Dougy Centre - The Dougy Center provides support in a safe place where children, teens, young adults, and their families grieving a death can share their experiences. We provide support and training locally, nationally and internationally to individuals and organizations seeking to assist children in grief. We are supported solely through private support from individuals, foundations and companies. The Dougy Center does not charge a fee for its services.
- Loving Your Baby - This website was created to provide a Canadian context to perinatal and pediatric grief. The author has developed a book and workbook for grieving families and is currently working on an updated version to the book to support families whose children have died. It is a great resource.
- Forever Heart Publishing - This website has a wonderful online book you can purchase written by Michelle, mother of Tyler who died unexpectedly after surgery for hypoplastic left heart syndrome. I will Hold You in My Heart Forever-A Baby Book for Little Angels was created to provide Michelle and other parents and families a scrapbook to tell the story of their child who died, just like a baby book for healthy children. Each page isPDF'd so you can print it out yourself (only $5.00 to print) and only use the pages you need. It is designed to fit into a standard binder so that you can continue to add to your child's story whenever you need to. If you are looking for a scrapbook that is appropriate for older children who have died, she has added pages that you can purchase in hard copy, if you contact Michelle directly (firstname.lastname@example.org).
- Men's Grief by Tom Golden - this website was created by therapist Tom Golden who offers books, web seminars and wonderful resources for people who want to have a greater understanding of the masculine grief experience. His book "Swallowed by a Snake" is excellent and he continues to write from his clinical work in ways that empower grieving dads and others to access the support that they need.
- Jonathan- Do You Know Me? - Written by father, Vince Leitao, this book is a reflective expression of a father's journey through his son Jonathan's cancer and subsequent death. Vince's website speaks to his experiences of "journeying through" grief.
2023 Camps for Families
For more information on any of the camps listed below please contact the camps directly. Contact information is available through the links provided.
Welcome Friend Association’s Rainbow Camp
For those who are transitioning, 2SLGBTQ+ and the losses associated with their gender identity. This camp is available for young people and their allies struggling with their self-image- please reach out if looking for information to help a beloved child/young person. Learn more about Rainbow Camp.
Grief camps for kids or for families
- Campfire Circle: formerly Camp Ooch and Camp Trillium, this camp is set up for kids with cancer and they have a family camp for bereaved haematology/oncology camps as well as bereaved families. There are a few bereaved family dates (see lower on the page). They also have a bereaved sibling week.
- Camp Erin Toronto: this is a program where children and teens ages six to 17 attend transformational weekend camp that combines traditional fun camp activities with grief education and emotional support free of charge for all families. Registration for camp in 2022 is closed but you can get your child/children on the list for 2023.
- Camp Keaton Hamilton: This is run by Dr. Bob Kemp Hospice in the Hamilton region. This is a weekend camp with lots of opportunities for play and connection. This year's camp is running June 9-11. Please register early.
- Camp Kerry: This camp is available for bereaved children as well as families.
- Camp Skein: This camp is run by Camp Maple Leaf. Session 4 (Sunday, July 20-28) is the current camp time. This camp is held with another couple of groups but the focus for these campers will be to connect with others who are experiencing and living through the death of a family member, including a sibling.
- Coping Adventure Camp: Please call, the groups are run by a wonderful community in the Kitchener-Waterloo/Cambridge area.
- Hope House Grief Buster’s Camp: This camp is returning live instead of online.
- Grieving Kids Day Camp (Doane house Hospice): Free Children's Grief Art Therapy Camp in Newmarket area. Sponsored by the Children's Grief Foundation of Canada. Dates are July 20, 21 and 22, 2022. Half days for young children (6-9) and for older children (10-12). Email email@example.com or call 905-967-0259 to speak to Katherine. Registrations will be accepted until Monday, June 27, 2023.
See a list of other bereavement camps across Canada.
If you hear of other camps and want to share, we would love to know about them. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org.