What is HUUG?

The Help Us Understand Grief (HUUG) Program provides short term supports and counselling to children, youth, and families living with serious illness, dying, death, and grief. Like all of our services offered at Heart House Hospice, HUUG is available to families at no cost.
Identify Support Systems
Address Worries & Fears
Do Legacy Work
Identify & Express Feelings
Understand Death & Grief
Express Hopes & Wishes
Develop Coping Strategies
Live With A New Normal

What parents said about HUUG...

Click or hover on each box to reveal the AFTER effect that HUUG had.


"She doesn't talk much about her father and may be keeping her feelings inside. To me sometimes it seems like she doesn't care that her father passed which breaks my heart.


"I am very happy with the program, it 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."


"He has a lot inside of him that he is not communicating and is sad a lot."


"Please continue to support my child in grief...it has changed his life...he is more comfortable talking about my mom now."


"Because she is still young I worry about finding the right time to help her understand that her daddy will die from cancer."


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


"He is stuck in anger. Can't process his feelings or understand death."


"It helped my son know his feelings were ok and normal."

Many adults feel apprehensive or unprepared to speak to young people about illness, dying, and death, often due to a desire to protect them from the pain of grief. However, children have expressed their desire to be informed about a family member’s diagnosis, treatment, prognosis, end-of-life care, and death. Many children and youth wished to be told the truth as fully and as soon as possible, to be included in rituals following a death, and to be recognized as grievers alongside adults.

Communicating with children about dying, death, and grief can be very challenging, but having honest, early, and open communication can benefit a child by:

  • Making illness, death, and grief a safe, rather than taboo, subject
  • Reducing the likelihood of hearing the news accidentally or from people less informed
  • Lessening the likelihood of imagining scenarios that leave them more anxious and fearful
  • Inviting children to ask questions and be open with people they trust
  • Helping children understand the physical or emotional changes they may be seeing
  • Inviting them to think about how they would like to be involved with the person who is ill or dying
  • Giving children the chance to say goodbye in a way that is right for them

For more information on the benefits of facilitating early and honest conversations with grieving children, please visit: www.kidsgrief.ca

Our HUUG counsellors provide support to:

  • Families living in Peel (Brampton, Mississauga, Malton) and Halton (Georgetown, Acton, Milton, Oakville, Burlington)
  • Children aged 0-18 years old
  • Children who have a family member who has a serious or terminal illness
  • All bereaved children and families, regardless of the time since the death
  • Referrals from any source, including self-referrals.
  • Children with a serious or terminal illness

Our HUUG Counsellors work in the home of the grieving child, youth and family. The average number of visits they provide is 6-8 but the number of visits and schedule will be planned with focus on child and families needs.

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

Ally is a HUUG counsellor at Heart House Hospice. Ally works with our families in Mississauga, Milton, Malton and Oakville. Ally is an Early Childhood Educator and a Certified Child Life Specialist. Ally also has her Master’s in Education. Ally uses books, games and art to address and discuss the big topics and feelings that illness, dying and death raise.

Kimberly is a HUUG counsellor at Heart House Hospice. Kimberly supports our families in Acton, Brampton, Burlington and Georgetown. Kimberly has a BA in Psychology and Child and Youth Studies, an ECE diploma and a MC in Counselling Psychology. Kimberly is a Registered Psychotherapist, a Certified Child and Youth Worker, and a Certified Play Therapist. Kimberly has created and learned numerous different ways to engage and help children, teens and families to identify, talk and share on some very tough topics.

Download our helpful postcards

Past Activities and Events

These events were part of our HUUG (Help Us Understand Grief) program.


Music can be a great way to express your feeling.


We also take the opportunity to celebrate mothers and fathers on their special day


A family weave to initiate reflection and sharing of memories. A beautiful keepsake filled with inspiration and messages for each other.


Special cloths, colours, fabric and mementos can remind us of our loved ones. Some of our activities build legacy pieces with some of our and our loved ones favorite things.


We made special ornaments for the tree with memories and love. This serves to remind us of past memories, special moments and their continues presence.


Kintsugi is a traditional Japanese art that acknowledges breaks and repairs as part of the history of an object, rather than something to disguise.