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The Violet Heart

Recipient of the 1999 AMA Community Service Award

JofH Ethics LogoThis website follows the HON Code of Conduct Leaving Site, the AMA's Guidelines for Medical & Health Information Sites on the Internet Leaving Siteand the eHealth Code of Ethics Leaving Site.

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You are invited to join the journey of recovering from losses and significant life changes. This is a process that does not occur over night, it may take weeks, months, years, or even a life time-- depending on the person and the type of loss. One doesn't just "get over" loss. There is no "perfect" or "right" or "correct" way to process a loss. Each person's experience, like each grief experience, will be unique. Journey of Hearts (tm) was designed to be a Healing Place with resources and support to help those in the grief process following a loss or a significant life change.

Tidal WaveGrief is a tidal wave that over takes you,
smashes down upon you with unimaginable force,
sweeps you up into its darkness,
where you tumble and crash against unidentifiable surfaces,
only to be thrown out on an unknown beach, bruised, reshaped...
Grief will make a new person out of you,
if it doesn't kill you in the making.
Stephanie Ericsson

Loss is a common experience that can be encountered many times during a lifetime; it does not discriminate for age, race, sex, education, economic status, religion, or nationality. Unrecognized, unprocessed, and untreated acute depression or the grief response following a significant loss can result in personal anguish, multiple somatic complaints, functional impairment, strained relationships, clinical depression, and a risk of suicide.[1] The losses referred to on this site can be acute or long- standing and can result in feelings of grief, stress, depression, loneliness or helplessness.

At Journey of Hearts (tm) a person is educated about the "normal" grief response, including what to anticipate in the transformational process that occurs following a loss. In addition, the grieving person is encouraged to draw upon or discover their internal source of strength in the midst of crisis, to help them get through the shock and the grief reaction as well as being taught healthy ways of coping with the loss.

This website is designed to be a place for resources and support to help those in the grief process following a loss or a significant life change. This website contains a variety of different Grief AIDEs including information, techniques for coping, resources, and links to other websites. More than just a bandaid that covers and protects a wound as it heals, griefaides help in the healing process. Grief AIDEs help people understand and work through the grief process to get through the shock, the loss and the grief reaction and ultimately emerge transformed. They are also provided to serve as online aides in times of life crisis or life savers on the Internet, helping visitors keep afloat until help arrives or they are able to paddle into shore.

Journey of Hearts is a life saver on the Internet, providing a way to keep afloat on troubled waters,
until help arrives, or you paddle to shore.
Dr. Ololade Reis
Life Preserver

Journey of Hearts (tm) is resource to use, available at any time 24/7, even in the middle of the night. It is always available as a "virtual shoulder to cry on" or a "virtual hand holding." This site has already helping thousands of people around the world to survive rough, lonely nights. It is a place to discover more about the grief process, part of the normal responses to loss and hopefully come to understand that:

Tear Tear Tear

Grief is a powerful, universal feeling, but it is survivable.

Kirsti A. Dyer, MD, MS, FAAETS

Each of person travels on his or her own unique journey in experiencing of the loss. Each person's experience of loss will have subtle nuances that will make it unlike any other loss, but the commonality--the grief response--with the intense feelings of loss, anger, depression, loneliness, fear, frustration, desperation, these are emotions that others will have also felt, endured and survived. What we have in common is that the grief response is felt most intensely by the heart. There is a common "language" those who have experienced grief speak, one that can often be understood without words. Many times all that is required to let someome know you have been there, that you understand their grief is just a understanding look, a gentle touch on the arm, a reassuring hug or a heart-felt note.

It is in the sharing of the losses of many hearts that our own heart begins to heal. This site is here to remind visitors that we are not alone in our losses or our feelings of grief, that someone else will have experienced similar losses (or worse) and survived. As the grieving person recognizes that others have lived through loss and survived he or she will begin to realize that he/she can survive their own loss.

Sharing the losses, telling the grief story or expressing the feeling in writing or other creative endeavors, no matter how painful, is important in the healing process. Healing will be recognized when the grieving person is at a point of being able to share with those earlier in the process. With this knowledge the heart grows stronger, more sensitive and more understanding of the suffering of others. The quotation by Dr. Robert Schuller sums this up:

Three Gifts
Our grief always brings a gift.
It's the gift of greater sensitivity and compassion for others.
We learn to rise above our own grief by reaching out
and lessening the grief of others.

May this site be a haven of hope and a place of peace for the grieving Internet community.

Join us on the Journey as often as needed, in bad times and also in good.

Kirsti A. Dyer, MD, MS, FT, FAAETS, NCBF
Physician - Internal Medicine, Health Educator, Professor
Fellow, Thanatology - Death, Dying and Bereavement, ADEC
ADEC - Association for Death Education and Counseling

Fellow, American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress
Board Certified Expert in Bereavement Trauma, AAETS
Board Certified Expert in Traumatic Stress, AAETS
Nationally Certified Bereavement Facilitator, AAB
Professional Sequence in the Study of Loss and Grief, UC Berkeley Extension
Domain Creator - Journey of Hearts (tm) Website

1. Dyer, KA. Thompson CD. Journey of Hearts: From Idea to Reality A Website for Web-education on Grief and Loss. ITCH 2000 (Information Technology in community Health)Conference Preceedings. University of Victoria, School of Information Health Sciences Originally at: Now located at: Leaving

Never bear more than one kind of trouble at a time.
Some people bear all three--All that they have had, All they have now,
and All they expect to have.
Edward Everett Hale

See the Emergency 911 Page for links to immediate resources
if you are feeling helpless, hopeless, overwhelmingly depressed, or suicidal.

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person to find our Online Healing Place.

A Healing Place | Loss & Grief | Emergency Pick-Me-Ups | Condolence & Sympathy
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About this Site | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy

Information on this site is designed to support, not replace, an existing physician-patient, provider-patient relationship. We regret that we are unable to answer any specific medical, mental or health related emails. Please contact your health care provider if you need specific questions answered. Terms of Use and Privacy Statement.
All material, unless otherwise specified, is © 1997-2010 by Kirsti A. Dyer, MD, MS of Journey of Hearts A Healing Place in CyberSpace. Information on this site may be shared with others, but not in for-profit ventures without permission. For more information see our full Copyright

To contact the Griefdoc regarding the website or to use materials on this website send email to (To send a message remove -at- and replace with @)
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Updated May 12, 2010