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~ Articles about Journey of Hearts ~
Journey of Hearts
Spiritual Sisters of the Internet Cafe
Volume One Issue Three
October 14, 2000

The Journey of Hearts website,, is a web sanctuary for those dealing with the many facets of the often unrecognized areas of grief and loss. It is an example of one physician’s vision to create a web resource to educate her patients and help others. The site was created in part, to heighten public awareness of grief and loss, while providing education and resources, in the hope of removing some of the social stigmas associated with those who are grieving.

The website started as a brainstorm idea of physician Kirsti A. Dyer, MD, MS, FAAETS. The idea to create the website originated after many informal discussions with other primary care, internal medicine and emergency physicians. We discovered we were all seeing more people ultimately diagnosed with depression, stress, or grief, and having less time to spend per patient. Often these patients only revealed the information after many medical problems had been eliminated and then they were unable or unwilling to seek counseling. The social stigma of admitting to a diagnosis of depression, grief or anxiety may contribute to the reluctance to seek further treatment. We decided what we needed was a resource to which we could refer patients, friends, colleagues and other health care providers for information, resources and support in dealing with the issues of grief and loss.

A site such as Journey of Hearts is one that doesn't just "happen" over night. The idea to create a website devoted to the topic of loss was the culmination of many different influences--people, patients, events, practicing medicine, or not being able to and several life loss experiences. The initial influences behind the creation of the site were frustration with the current state of medicine, the fact that the areas of loss and grief were being overlooked by most physicians within the medical field, and the deaths of a Princess and a Saint.

In the summer of 1997, Dr. Dyer watched the world wide grief response [and the Internet response] to the deaths of Princess Diana and Mother Teresa and knew she needed to do something. That something, ultimately became creating the website for dealing with loss and healing. Taking her experiences as a physician, her own losses, the losses and experiences of many colleagues, friends, and website visitors, Dr. Dyer created and designed an integrative web resource. It is a combined effort of those who have experienced many different types of losses, blended into Journey of Hearts. She calls it a "labor of love," devoting over 3,000 hours to research, create, write, design, organize and maintain the 600 + pages of the site over almost three years.

Medicine, psychiatry, poetry, prose and images are combined to provide medical and non-medical resources, support, inspiration and education for those who visit the site after experiencing a life-changing loss. By combining these various disciplines with images and color we have developed a new style of medical website, one that can be "experienced" as much as accessed for medical information. What results is a medical website that is part medical, part psychiatric, part art, part literary, and part self-help, which can be used as an adjunct to medical treatment.

Everyone has certain deaths that impact them. In addition to the loss of several young friends and many patients, Dr. Dyer was particularly impacted by the deaths of John Lennon, Harry Chapin, Karen Carpenter, John Denver, Phil Hartman, Dr. Leo Buscaglia, John F. Kennedy Jr., the Columbine Tragedy and many of the Air and Natural disasters, Kosovo…and the list continues. These losses are reflected in the Journey of Hearts Website.

A website such as Journey of Hearts would not have come into existence without the contributions and the collective experiences of those friends, family, colleagues, patients, patient's family members, and visitors to the site-- who are all united by loss. From this diverse group, along with Dr. Dyer’s own researching come the resources—the articles, the poems, the quotes, the pictures, the photos, and the stories that comprise Journey of Hearts.

This voluntarily produced website is a free on-line resource, a "virtual hand-holding" for those who may not have access to services and provide a safe place for people to visit in the middle of the night, when friends and family are not available. Through the use of Internet technology, visitors to the site are empowered with knowledge to help themselves, friends and family through the often devastating, potentially fatal experience of loss, and improve the quality of their health. With nearly 170,000 visitors since April 1998, this multi-award winning website is providing Internet grief aid to American and international web communities, filling a void in the treatment of depression and grief by providing web-education and resources, and serving as an adjunctive Medical Internet resource that is available at anytime.

Our original hope was to help even just one person to heal their losses. By the responses to the site, one realizes that the site has helped thousands. It is impossible to assess the full impact that Journey of Hearts may have because of the ripple effect on others. For every person the site reaches, it ultimately helps even more by helping those around them. Each person that visits the site becomes a spark of hope, that people can sustain losses and survive.

Kirsti A. Dyer, MD, MS, FAAETS
Fellow, The American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress
Journey of Hearts,
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Spiritual Sisters of the Internet Cafe,, is a place of spiritual rest and spiritual renewal, a place of spiritual healing and spiritual celebration, for all, in a very real world in a very real way--between friends. The site was created to enlighten, encourage, educate and empower women in transitional life situations.

Never underestimate the energy of one person’s dream, or the light from one tiny candle.
That tiny candle may light the way out of someone’s darkness.

Kirsti A. Dyer, MD, MS

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

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All material, unless otherwise specified, is © 1997-2003 by Kirsti A. Dyer, MD, MS of Journey of Hearts. Information on this site may be shared with others, but not in for-profit ventures without permission.
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Last update July 20, 2002