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Hospital  >  Care Programs  >  Odette Cancer Program  >  Patient & family education  >  Grief and Living with Loss Pathfinder

Grief and living with loss

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What is grief?

Grief is a normal reaction to the loss of a loved one. It can also be a reaction to the loss of relationships, physical ability, opportunities or future hopes and dreams. Grieving is not a single emotional experience but a process where we learn to live or cope with the loss of someone in our lives. Both bereavement and mourning are part of grieving.

Living with loss

Everyone grieves differently. There is no right or wrong way to grieve. Here are a few suggestions that may help you during this difficult time to live with your loss:

  • Take one day at a time. There is no set time period for grieving.
  • Know your needs and limits.
  • You are not alone. Do not be afraid to ask for help if you feel you need support.

If you are supporting someone who is grieving:

  • Remind them that you are there for them
  • Express your feelings to show them that it is normal to feel sad and grieve

Adapted from Canadian Cancer Society and Bereaved Families of Ontario – Toronto



Go to to listen to podcasts from people who share their experiences.

TED Talks
Go to to watch people tell their stories on grief and loss.


Information Brochures (Bereaved Families of Ontario)
Go to

Coping with Grief (University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health)
Go to

Support services

Odette Patient & Family Support

Telephone: 416.480.4623
Location: TG-230 (T-wing, ground floor)
Support services for caregivers and family who are living with grief and loss.

Sunnybrook Spiritual & Religious Care

Non-Urgent Telephone: 416.480.4421

Free spiritual care to families and caregivers, of all faith backgrounds as well as those with no religious affiliation.

Bereaved Families of Ontario

Telephone: 416.440.0290

One-to-one sessions, telephone support and mutual support groups.

Soaring Spirits International

Phone: 1.877.671.4071

Canadian Virtual Hospice


Canadian Cancer Society

Toll-free: 1.888.939.3333
Free services include peer support, support groups, online communities, and a cancer information telephone line.

Dr. Jay Children's Grief Centre

Telephone: 416.360.1111

Gilda's Club Toronto

Telephone: 416.214.9898
Location: Toronto


Telephone: 1.877.499.9904
Location(s): Several including Westerkirk House (on the Sunnybrook campus)
Free programs and services including peer support and a bereavement support group for caregivers and family.

While this information may be useful, it is intended for educational purposes only. Please continue to ask your health care team if you have questions or concerns. For any other inquiries, please contact us at


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