About Us

 Healing Broken Hearts is a not-for-profit bereavement conference in the Ottawa-Gatineau region. Founded in 2018, the first conference sold out with over 200 attendees. The day is designed to be shared by those on a bereavement journey as well as the important caregivers and professionals who support them. 

History of Healing Broken Hearts

When our son Tom died suddenly in Nov 2016, our life stood still…for months. He was the glue of happiness, hope and unconditional love. We were and still are devastated, yet thankfully we had no regrets as he always knew how much we as a family loved and cared for him, and we knew every day how much he loved all of us. What we didn’t realize was just how big an impact he made on the world, and to other people’s lives. The outpouring of thoughts and love that came our way was comforting. Tom always lived up to our family motto of giving back and paying it forward.

In 2017, things still looked very bleak. The emotional pain of not having Tom physically with us any more was hard for Tom’s twin brother, his three older siblings and his dad, my husband Eric. . It was a dark place… I had experienced several losses before – in fact, I was a bereavement counsellor many years ago supporting others through tough times. I knew I had to source as many different options to support my family through the grief journey because everyone does it differently – the needs are all different. I went looking for a bereavement conference and could only find one in Utica NY – a three-hour drive away. It was a tremendous day and a half in June 2017, and Eric and I went, and it truly helped us in the healing process. And why was that? Because people gathered as a community – a diverse community. Both those that were grieving and those that were supporting them. A time of no judgement, just caring and sharing. On the way home, I said to Eric, one day, I am going to do that in Ottawa. So an idea became a dream and a dream became reality.

On June 9th, 2018 we had gracious sponsors, a great line up of workshop presenters, dedicated volunteers, two inspiring speakers to lead and end the day to a sold-out crowd of 200 participants. Through much positive feedback and input from partners, we are back again on Nov 7, 2020 to continue to support the community.

Sue Kavanagh