Module overview


I knew my friend for 32 years, from my childhood. She was a very special person in my life, but when she died, it was hard to explain it to people. There's no word for a grieving friend or for someone who's “like family.”

This resource has been designed to help you understand and care for yourself as you grieve. It was developed by the Canadian Virtual Hospice in collaboration with national grief specialists and people who have grieved the death of a friend. We are grateful to those who shared their wisdom and experiences. 

About this module: When your friend has died

The death of a friend can mean significant loss, which may not be recognized or acknowledged by those around you. Others who knew your friend will also be grieving, but perhaps in ways very different than yours. This can mean that some of your usual sources of support are less available to you.  

Whether your friendship was a very close bond or one that was sometimes troubled, your grief will reflect losses unique to your relationship. You may be experiencing a range of thoughts and feelings that can change as time passes.

Getting started

We recommend that you review the nine Grief Basics modules found on our site:


As you read through this information…

You might be reading this shortly after your friend died, or sometime down the road. We encourage you to revisit these resources often as you may only be able to absorb so much at any one time. What you find helpful may change over time. You might recognize your experiences or find that some of them aren’t reflected here. If there is content you believe should be added, please tell us about it in the survey at the end.

As you read this, you may have strong emotions or feel uncomfortable. It’s okay to step away from it for a while, or it might help to talk with a trusted family member or friend. Canadian Virtual Hospice provides online Discussion Forums where you can connect with others who may have experienced similar losses. You can also ask our healthcare team a confidential question at Ask a Professional. You will receive a written response within three business days (not including Canadian statutory holidays).