(Help Us Understand Grief)

Loss is painful, and it is a part of life. Usually, by the time we experience loss, we have the emotional growth and brain development to cope. For children, it’s different.

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The death of a parent or sibling has been found to be one of the most stressful and traumatic life events that a child or youth can experience. Our HUUG program is a developmentally appropriate support and education program available in Mississauga and beyond, thanks to its adoption by other Ontario hospices.

Children and youth require an age-appropriate understanding of death, dying, and grief, and they need specialized counselling and coping strategies to support their ongoing bereavement and grief journey.

The long-term effects of grief can lead to difficulties with emotional regulation and behaviour. Reactions can range from sadness, anger, confusion, guilt, anxiety, and fear. Some children may withdraw socially, experience changes in eating or sleeping patterns, or show signs of regression.

Engaging in creative, age-appropriate activities and rituals, along with support from parents, caregivers, and teachers can help them understand their emotions and integrate their grief in a healthy way.

Image of a person sitting in their room with a play button overlaid on the image.

Watch Isaac’s story on YouTube

Isaac shares his experience of becoming a young carer after his Mom was diagnosed with cancer. Isaac shares advice for others in similar situations who may also be grieving the death of a loved one.

How HUUG supports young people

  • Have open, honest, and age appropriate conversations
  • Understand grief, illness, dying and death
  • Identify and express feelings, and address worries and fears
  • Express hope and wishes
  • Identify support systems, and develop coping strategies
  • Create memories, legacy projects, and adapt to their new normal

“She please continue to support my child in grief…it has changed his life…he is more comfortable talking about my mom now.”

“HUUG has been a great resource to make me feel confident that my child is ok and that I am doing and saying the right things to help her through her dad’s death.”

“She understands the grieving process better and has more coping strategies that I wouldn’t have been able yo teach her.”

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