Tag Archives: grieving

National strategy needed to address grieving process ‘distorted’ by pandemic, coalition says

Tasha Jory, 37, struggles with what she calls “suspended grief” over her father’s death. 

Dale Hunter, who lived on a southwestern Manitoba farm near Belmont, died suddenly at home from a heart attack on April 20.

He was 60 years old.

Jory, who has lived in British Columbia for the past 12 years, got the news over the phone from her dad’s sister, a nurse in Brandon, Man.

“I keep having this running track in my head of memories, or just constantly thinking about him. Replaying that phone call back in my head when my aunt told me he was gone. So many sleepless nights in the beginning,” said Jory.

She spoke with her sister in Grand Prairie, Alta., trying to figure out how they would hold a funeral during the COVID-19 pandemic, during which large gatherings have been restricted.

They also knew they couldn’t travel back home to Belmont, even though that is what they desperately wanted.

We are social beings who crave social contact, human contact. These are being blocked during the pandemic and there will be fallout.– Paul Adams, Canadian Grief Alliance

Jory’s grandmother is self-isolating in her condo, and her grandfather, who is in a Brandon personal care home, can’t have visitors.

“A family member was unable to tell my grandfather his son died until my aunt, the nurse, was able to see him before a medical procedure,” said Jory.

“My grandparents couldn’t even be together to grieve. We couldn’t be with either of them…. We just felt helpless.” 

They considered holding a very small service for five people, or even gathering on Zoom. In the end that didn’t feel right. Her grandparents don’t have computers.

“There is a reason why we have funerals. I find it hard to get any type of closure,” said Jory. 

No ritual of funeral

She knows other families across the country are having a similar experience. 

“This is new ground we really don’t know how to tread,” said Jory.

Dr. Harvey Chochinov says her story illustrates what he calls “distorted” dying and grief caused by the pandemic — and he’s part of a new organization that says Canada needs a national strategy to deal with that grief.

Chochinov is a distinguished professor of psychiatry at the University of Manitoba. He is also the co-founder of the Canadian Virtual Hospice — an online resource on issues related to death, dying and bereavement that connects with more than 2.5 million people every year.


Winnipeg psychiatrist Harvey Chochinov is the co-founder of the Canadian Virtual Hospice — an online resource on issues related to death, dying and bereavement. (CBC)

“As a result of the physical distancing and public health restrictions upon visiting and holding funerals, the process of dying is being distorted. As a psychiatrist, what we are seeing and what we anticipate is that the process of grieving is also distorted,” said Chochinov.

He says not only has COVID-19 affected patients who have been infected with the illness and died, but the pandemic has also affected the process of dying for tens of thousands of people who are facing death from other causes.

Alliance born out of COVID

In response, the Winnipeg-based Canadian Virtual Hospice formed the Canadian Grief Alliance, gathering 36 leaders in grieving and bereavement from across the country. The group includes psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers and researchers.

In a proposal released earlier this month, the coalition asks the federal government to invest $ 100 million over the next three years for a national pandemic-related grief strategy — including specialized supports for front-line health-care workers and first responders suffering grief-related trauma.

Paul Adams is the spokesperson for the alliance. He says having a support network of family and friends around you is critical in moving through grief leading up to a funeral and in the days after. 

But now, people finding out about the death of their loved one when they can’t be physically present, he notes. They may be alone in an empty home when they get the news.

“We are social beings who crave social contact, human contact. These are being blocked during the pandemic and there will be fallout,” said Adams.

Jory is experiencing that first-hand.

“I found it more difficult to grieve, and kind of be able to get the emotions out that I know need to come out. I am struggling to fully grieve without being able to see my sister,” she said.

“It’s bizarre.… It’s a weird feeling.”

Grief ‘hangover’ coming

Chochinov says there is a price to pay emotionally and psychologically for not being able to be at the bedside of a dying loved one.

That leaves mourners unable to follow what he calls “the path of least regret.” They don’t know if their loved one died in pain, for example, or if someone wearing a latex glove held their loved one’s hand when they took their last breath.

“Those are the things that we feel need to be done for the people we love. None of that is available,” because of COVID-19, said Chochinov.

There are other layers of grief too, says Adams, such as health-care workers leaving the bedside of a deceased person, having to isolate from their own families at home and being expected to “suck it up” on the job.

“There is a limit to how much those on the front lines can hold in terms of grief, and I think there is going to be a hangover,” he said.

Grief manifested 

In addition to a national grief strategy, the Canadian Grief Alliance is also calling for a public awareness campaign focusing on coping strategies such as the Canadian Virtual Hospice’s MyGrief — an online resource that aims to help people work through the grieving process — and KidsGrief, which offers resources for parents helping a child dealing with death.

The group is also calling for $ 10 million dollars for research. Chochinov says because we are in unprecedented times in terms of grief and mourning, research needs to be done to determine the best way to address it in the wake of COVID-19.

Both Adams and Chochinov say if grief support isn’t available, the consequences could be devastating.

“Grief may be more protracted,” Chochinov said.

“It may be grief that becomes complex, meaning that some people may become depressed.”

That might manifest as anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, substance abuse or even thoughts of suicide, Chochinov said.

“There is a kind of train that starts moving if grief isn’t dealt with. It can turn into a mental health issue and down the road affect someone’s physical health,” said Adams.

In a written statement, Health Canada has confirmed it has received the Canadian Grief Alliance’s proposal.

It says the government’s recently rolled out $ 25-million Wellness Together Canada Portal — which provides online access to a range of mental health and substance abuse supports — can be used to help people work through their grief of losing a loved one.

Adams, though, says the federal government’s latest funding for mental health does not include money for grief support services.

“Mental health services do not see grief as their mandate,” he said.

Channelling grief

Tasha Jory says she suspects there are many others who need support in dealing with their grief.

“I am constantly replaying what has happened in my head. Missing my dad, who was so well known and loved in the community,” as well as a lifelong baseball fan and player, who was inducted into the Manitoba Baseball Hall of Fame in 2008.


Tasha Jory says her dad, a lifelong baseball player and fan, ‘was so well known and loved in the community.’ (Submitted by Tasha Jory)

Dale Hunter was cremated a week after his death. Jory and her family are waiting for the go-ahead to hold a memorial when everyone can meet at his farm to celebrate his life.

In the meantime, she has found a way to channel her grief.

“I sat down and wrote a letter to my sister. She did the same. We both wrote letters, which was super therapeutic. And then we shared our letters together.

“We kind of found our own way of working around the pandemic.”

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Grieving dad calls for change to mental health system after son sent home from ER

A grieving father is calling for the government to fix Nova Scotia's "failed mental health system" after his son was told it would take months to access mental health services.

Stephen Nauss's 20-year-old son, Anthony, had a history of mental health issues and previous suicide attempts. Last fall he went to the ER at the Halifax Infirmary because he was feeling suicidal.

Anthony's father told CBC's Maritime Noon that his son was told to go home and make an appointment with the province's mental health services department, which didn't have an available appointment for him for three months. 

"My son didn't have three months to wait and should have been helped then," Nauss wrote in a letter sent to Premier Stephen McNeil and all of Nova Scotia's MLAs. 

"But instead he was sent home to die and that's exactly what happened a week later." 

Anthony Nauss took his own life on Nov. 3.

"I would have expected if somebody went to the hospital saying that they were going to kill themselves that they would be kept at the hospital," Nauss, a Bridgewater carpenter, told Maritime Noon.

"If you went there with a heart attack they'd take you and treat you and keep you there 'til you were better enough to go home — not send you home midway through your heart attack. I feel it's the same thing.

"If you're going there thinking that you're gonna die, you should get help. Not sent home and told to make a phone call."

Calls for politicians to act

In his letter, Nauss called on politicians to take action on the problems facing access to mental health services in Nova Scotia.

"My son fell through the cracks of a failed mental health care system. This province is in a crisis not only with mental health but health care in general, it's time for ALL of you to step up and do something about this instead of denying there is a problem," Nauss wrote.

In his letter, Nauss also takes issue with a letter Nova Scotia Health Authority CEO Janet Knox posted March 8.

Her letter, titled "Trust in providers is essential to care of mental illness," reads, in part:

"The suggestion that every day people seeking help are being sent away from hospitals and told to make their own decisions is not only false — it is dangerous."

Nauss responded in his letter: "Well I'm sorry, Janet Knox, but it is very true. My son was sent home on several occasions and the only thing dangerous about this is that it's true."

Anthony Nauss went to the ER last fall looking for help and was sent home and told to call mental health services to make an appointment. (Submitted by Stephen Nauss)

In a statement to CBC News, the NSHA said "we are shattered at hearing Anthony's story."

"It illustrates the terrible effect that mental illness has on the patients and families we serve," wrote NSHA spokesperson Carla Adams. 

"In spite of the thousands of people that we are able to successfully help through their mental illness, the times where the best efforts of medicine fail are devastating."

'The best kid anybody could ask for'

Nauss said his son was a good friend and wanted to help people in need. Anthony was living in Dartmouth, N.S., when he died and was studying to be a paralegal and working as a shift supervisor at Starbucks. 

"He was the best kid anybody could ask for. Very caring and compassionate. Loved life, " he said.

Nauss said parents should not outlive their children.

"I can't bring my son back but rest assured I will try and do everything I can to make sure another parent doesn't have to go through the pain and heartache that I have to live with every day."

Canada Suicide Prevention Service is available to anyone thinking about or affected by suicide. Call toll-free 24/7 at 1-833-456-4566 or text 45645 between 5 p.m.-1 a.m. AT.

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'My world went silent,' says grieving father who lost 5 family members as they flew from Toronto to Nairobi

Paul Njoroge gently tucked five long-stemmed white roses in a mound of flowers near the crash site, one for each of his family lost in the Ethiopian Airlines crash last Sunday.

"Everyone's telling me to be strong," he said quietly, painfully eking out the words. "I can't be. How can I be strong? How can I even live on? My family is my life." 

Njoroge's wife, Caroline, 34; his children, Ryan, 7, Kerri, 4, and baby Rubi, nine months; and his mother-in-law, Ann Wangui Karanja, were en route from Toronto to Nairobi on Flight 302. He was to join them later, visiting family in Kenya.

"I booked their flights," he said, wincing at the memory. "I tracked the flight" until 1 a.m. ET, when they landed in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to transfer on to a Nairobi-bound connection. Then he went to bed.

"When I woke up Sunday, the first thing I saw was a Bloomberg alert that Flight 302 had crashed. I knew that was the flight I had booked.

"It broke my heart. I lost all my strength. My world went silent."

Hundreds venture to crash site

On Friday, Njoroge travelled with other family and friends to the crash site to see where the airliner smashed into the ground, 65 kilometres southeast of Addis Ababa. There were 157 passengers and crew on the flight, from more than 30 nations.

One week since the crash, hundreds of family and friends from dozens of countries are now coming to the Ethiopian capital to venture out to the crash site, which is quickly growing into a permanent memorial. Wreaths of flowers ring a large rose-covered archway where mourners kneel and pray, or wail, in wrenching sobs.

Ethiopian Airlines has organized convoys to the site, which is cordoned off with yellow crime scene tape. Officials guide families as they step over the tape, allowed to approach the exact place where the plane "was swallowed up by the earth," according to one eyewitness.

All lost. Mother Caroline Karanja, kids Ryan, Kerri and Rubi, and grandmother Ann Karanja flew together to Africa from Toronto last Sunday. They transferred in Addis Ababa to Ethiopian Airlines flight 302 which went down six minutes after takeoff. (Quindos Karanja via Canadian Press)

Eighteen Canadians were on the flight, but Canada's Embassy staff in Addis Ababa have been not only supporting the families of citizens lost but also an expanding circle of Canadians connected to ET Flight 302.

"As we're obtaining more information about each story, each individual, we're finding more and more connections to Canada," said Antoine Chevrier, Canada's ambassador to Ethiopia and Djibouti.

"This is important because we need to be supportive to a wider group than the original 18. Canada is very connected to the continent [Africa]," he told CBC while visiting the site Friday.

'They must have cried out to their daddy'

Paul Njoroge's family had Kenyan passports. His wife and children were living in Canada, applying for permanent residency while Paul finished up his work in Bermuda. His baby daughter, Rubi, was born in Canada and therefore listed as one of the 18 lost. She was the youngest casualty.

On Friday, Njoroge was physically supported by other family as he walked unsteadily to the ridge of a crater, caused when the plane plunged into the ground. Search teams have been clearing the site all week, mounding up plane parts, now covered by tarpaulins.

"When I think of that plane coming down…" he trails off, remembering his wife of 14 years, "what she thought about? She must have thought about me, and how I'm going to live, and the kids, you know. They must have called their mommy, they must have cried out to their daddy, so it breaks my heart. It will never leave me."

Njoroge's wife was an accountant, part of a growing generation of educated, outward-looking young people in Kenya. She grew up in rural Kenya, her parents scraping together enough funds to send her to university in Nairobi where Caroline met Paul. He was 19, she was 20.

"We've walked a long way," Paul said, reflecting on their life together.

'We had so many plans'

They married and moved to Bermuda, where Paul worked at Butterfield Bank. He was to resign from the bank next week to join his family in Canada. He and Caroline were house hunting in Hamilton.

"We had so many plans," he said, anguished. The kids were travelling to Kenya to visit with their grandparents on spring break.

John Karanja's son, brother-in-law of Paul Njoroge, sits at the crash site mourning the loss of his sister Caroline, and his mother Ann, both killed in the crash. (Susan Ormiston/CBC)

"When I'm with people, out here, it's easier. When I'm alone, my world is so silent.

"I want to hear my kids talk to me. I miss them telling me about school. I want to hear their cries. I want to hear their laughter. I want to hear my daughter Kerri singing to me. She would sing to me every day, 'Hold me close and never let me go.'"

'I would have sacrificed myself'

The loss is also acutely felt by his father-in-law, John Quindos Karanja, who also visited the site on Friday, from Kenya. Karanja was at the Nairobi airport Sunday, waiting for his wife, his daughter and his three grandchildren.

"My wife was a teacher. She is more than a wife or a mother; whatever we achieved it is through her," he said, tears welling up in his eyes.

Watch: 2 fathers visit site where they lost loved ones

Meet the man who lost five family members in the Ethiopian Airlines crash, including some who had settled in Canada. 4:20

His wife retired in July and had gone to Canada to help their daughter with the kids. Caroline had sent her money for the plane ticket.

"I am a Christian," said Karanja, standing near the edge of the crash site. "I know I'll meet them in Heaven. We'll talk and I'll tell them what happened when they went," he said.

"But I wish to know of God, why he took them so soon, especially my grandchildren. I would have sacrificed myself for all of them."

Scooping up dirt from the crash site

Both fathers, Paul and John, carried small bags with them into the crash site. They scooped up handfuls of dirt, tying off the tops of the bags.

"This is soil from the area," Karanja explained, showing the bag. "So in case that even out of the DNA nothing will be gotten, I carry this to be a remembrance of the people I love."

From left: John Quindos Karanja, his son and another family member lay a wreath for their loved ones, as they question why so many in one family were taken. (Susan Ormiston/CBC)

Ethiopian Airlines is dealing with a growing sense of frustration amongst families who want to know how they can bring home their families' remains. Saturday, the airline began giving out sacks of earth, from the site, a kilo per family so that families have something to bury.

A mass memorial service is planned for today at the Kidist Selassie or Holy Trinity Cathedral in Addis Ababa.

'We want to go home with them'

More Canadian families arrived over the weekend, but don't know how long they should stay or whether they can even retrieve any of their families' remains to bury.

"We do understand there is some tension and frustration related to a lack of information," said Ambassador Chevrier.

"This will be a long process. We are here to support families, even if they want to go home and travel back when there is more precision on identification and repatriation."

All week, villagers near the crash site have come and stood silently watching the investigation. Friday they broke their silence, mourning with a funerial dance for the lives lost in their field. (Susan Ormiston/CBC)

But for the time being, tragically, there is nothing families can do, except wait for more news from Ethiopian Airlines.

"I want them to get me the bodies of my mother-in-law, of my wife, of Ryan and Kelly and Rubi," pleaded Njoroge. "We want to go home with them. That's the only way we can have closure."

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'If they don't make it, Lord, take me too': Grieving mother recounts panicked moments as duck boat sank

"Grab the baby!" Those were the last words Tia Coleman recalls her sister-in-law yelling before the tourist boat they were on sank into a Missouri lake, killing 17 people, including nine of Coleman's family members.

A huge wave hit, scattering passengers on the amphibious vessel known as a duck boat into Table Rock Lake near Branson, Coleman said. When the Indianapolis woman came up for air, she was alone. She prayed.

"I said, 'Lord, please, let me get to my babies,'" she told reporters from her wheelchair Saturday in the lobby of a hospital where she's recovering after swallowing lake water. "'…If they don't make it, Lord, take me too. I don't need to be here."'

Tia Coleman describes what it felt like to be on sinking Missouri boat 0:45

Coleman recalled spotting the rescue boat and managed to reach it, "somehow." Earlier, from her hospital bed, she recounted to television station KOLR her sister-in-law's last words.

Coleman's husband and three children, ages nine, seven and one; her 45-year-old sister-in-law and two-year-old nephew; her mother-in-law and father-in-law and her husband's uncle all died Thursday night in the deadliest accident of its kind in nearly two decades.

Others killed included a Missouri couple who had just celebrated a birthday; another Missouri couple on what was planned as their last extended vacation; an Illinois woman who died while saving her granddaughter's life; an Arkansas father and son; and a retired pastor who was the boat's operator.

Unanswered questions

None of the 31 passengers on board was wearing a life jacket, according to an incident report released Saturday by the Missouri State Highway Patrol.

State and federal investigators were trying to determine what sent the vessel, originally built for military use in the Second World War, to its demise. An initial assessment blamed thunderstorms and winds that approached hurricane strength, but it wasn't clear why the amphibious vehicle even ventured into the water.

Coleman said the crew told passengers they were going into the water first, before the land-based part of their tour, because of the incoming storm. The area had been under a severe thunderstorm watch for hours and a severe thunderstorm warning for more than 30 minutes before the boat sank.

A duck boat sits idle in the parking lot of Ride the Ducks, an amphibious tour operator in Branson, Mo., on Friday. The amphibious vehicle is similar to one of the company's boats that capsized the day before on Table Rock Lake. (Charlie Riedel/Associated Press)

Suzanne Smagala with Ripley Entertainment, which owns Ride the Ducks in Branson, said it was the company's only accident in more than 40 years of operation. The company hasn't commented on Coleman's account of the tour, which usually begins with a land tour of downtown Branson, known for its country shows and entertainment, before the vessel enters the lake for a short ride on the water.

Th company's president, Jim Pattison Jr., said the boat captain had 16 years of experience, and that the business monitors the weather. Ripley Entertainment is owned by the Jim Pattison Group, headquartered in Vancouver.

Twenty-nine passengers and two crew members were aboard. Fourteen people survived, including two adults who remained hospitalized Saturday. Coleman and her nephew, 23, were the only of the 11 members of her family who boarded the boat to make it out alive.

'It's just heartbreaking'

Another survivor was 12-year-old Alicia Dennison, of Illinois, who says her grandmother, 64-year-old Leslie Dennison, saved her from drowning. Alicia's father, Todd Dennison, told the Kansas City Star that his daughter recalled feeling her grandmother below her, pushing her upward after the boat capsized.

Another young survivor was 14-year-old Loren Smith of Osceola, Ark. She suffered a concussion, but her father, 53-year-old retired math teacher Steve Smith, and her 15-year-old brother, Lance, died.

Others killed included William Bright, 65, and his wife, Janice, 63. The couple had recently celebrated their 45th wedding anniversary and had talked about Branson being one of their last big trips, recalled neighbour Barbara Beck.

The couple moved to Higginsville from Kansas City, Mo., three years earlier to be closer to a daughter and grandchildren and quickly embraced small-town life.

William Bright's final public Facebook posting noted the wedding anniversary and how happy he was with his wife, three kids and 16 grandchildren. Life, he wrote, had "been a lot of fun."

Emergency workers patrol Friday near the spot where the duck boat capsized the night before. (Charlie Riedel/Associated Press)

Another Missouri couple killed in the accident were William Asher, 69, and Rosemarie Hamann, 68. The St. Louis-area couple had been celebrating Hamann's birthday earlier in the week. In a final Facebook photo posted by Hamann, he's sticking his tongue out and she's smiling.

"I can only imagine what they were going through. They were so in love. It's just heartbreaking," said friend Russ McKay, who said talked to Hamann the day before the accident.

1 of 2 drivers died

McCay says Hamann told him the couple had just gone on a paddle boat and were planning to go again. He doesn't know why they chose the duck boat instead.

Chance also brought the Colemans aboard the doomed vessel.

Tia Coleman said her family initially lined up for the wrong tour so they had to switch out their tickets for the 6:30 p.m. ride.

She says the crew showed passengers where the life jackets were but said they wouldn't need them.

Pastor Bob was a prince of a man, loving, kind, and generous, whose loss to our family is incalculable.– Jeffery Williams, victim's son in law

The company's website had been taken down by Saturday, save for a statement that its operations would remain shuttered to support the investigation and allow time for families and the community to grieve.

Investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board and U.S. Coast Guard were hoping a video recorder recovered from the boat would help provide some explanation on why it sank. NTSB member Earl Weener said winds were 3 km/h short of hurricane force at the time.

While the boat's driver on water, 51-year-old Kenneth McKee, survived; its driver on land, 73-year-old Bob Williams, did not.

Branson Mayor Karen Best said Williams was a "great ambassador" for the city. Williams' family in Rhode Island, where he'd lived for decades before retiring to Branson, remembered him as a deeply religious man who founded a local church.

"Pastor Bob was a prince of a man, loving, kind, and generous, whose loss to our family is incalculable," said Williams' son-in-law, Bishop Jeffery Williams, who now leads King's Cathedral in Providence.

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TFC determined to make grieving Toronto happy in Champions League final

Toronto FC was 4,000 kilometres away in Mexico Monday when a rented van plowed into pedestrians with deadly results.

But coach Greg Vanney said the horrific attack was deeply felt by his team in Mexico as it prepared for Wednesday’s return leg of the CONCACAF Champions League final with CD Guadalajara, known as Chivas.

“I think our group, probably as much or more than any group I’ve ever been around, really genuinely loves where they are and loves Toronto and all it has to offer and its people,” said the former U.S. international. “There isn’t anybody on our team that isn’t super-happy and excited being in Toronto. And everyone feels safe.”

Captain Michael Bradley called Toronto “one of the best cities in the world.”

“We’re going to step on the field (Wednesday night) and play in a way where everybody back home in Toronto is proud,” said the U.S. national team skipper.

Vanney also hopes the MLS champions can give something back to the city when it looks to erase a 2-1 deficit from the first leg. Because of Chivas’ away goals, a 1-0 win won’t be enough for Toronto. TFC will need to win and score at least two goals on the night. A 2-1 victory, however, would send the game to extra time and possibly penalties.

Chivas Guadalajara scores one of its two goals in a win over Toronto FC on April 17 in the opening leg of their CONCACAF Champions League final.(Graig Abel/Getty Images)

“We’ve got to be smart,” said Vanney. “We can’t just give away goals. But at the same time we know it’s incumbent upon us to go score at least two.”

TFC has a large contingent in Guadalajara, having sent 11 starters to Mexico late last week. All but two or three of the reserve squad Toronto fielded in a 5-1 loss in Houston on Saturday continued on to Mexico.

The team had 20 players in training Monday, allowing Vanney to essentially field two full squads in training.

Fullback Justin Morrow and defender Chris Mavinga flew in Tuesday afternoon. Morrow has been ruled out through injury. While Mavinga will undergo a fitness test, he is considered unlikely to take part in the game.

Spanish playmaker Victor Vazquez, who has been sidelined by a nerve issue in his back, has trained. Vanney says barring a setback, Vazquez will be available “to play some role (Wednesday).”

Toronto FC is looking to become the first team from MLS to win the CONCACAF Champions League in its new format. The winner will secure a berth in the FIFA Club World Cup.

Chivas Guadalajara defeated Toronto FC 2-1 in the first leg of the CONCACAF Champions League final.1:37

A Toronto victory would complete the MLS champion’s trophy case after a 2017 season that saw the franchise win the Canadian Championship, Supporters’ Shield and MLS Cup.

Toronto disposed of the Colorado Rapids and Mexico’s Tigres UANL and Club America en route to the final.

“I like the mindset of our group going into this game,” said Vanney. “Obviously we would have preferred to come down here in slightly different circumstances score-wise but it is what it is.

“What we have as we arrive is clarity. Whenever you get into these second legs you know what the outcomes are that you have to play for … I think once this team has clarity, it can set its mind towards the mission for the night and guys will commit to it and they’ll work and they’ll run.”

Chivas will be bolstered by the return from suspension of goalkeeper Rodolfo Cota and defenders Jair Pereira and Edwin Herrera.

The side currently languishes in 17th spot in the 18-team Mexican league with a 3-7-6 record. Toronto, which has focused all of its resources on the CONCACAF Champions League, is last in the Eastern Conference with a 1-4-0 mark.

Toronto is only the third club in MLS history to appear in the final. Real Salt Lake (2011) and the Montreal Impact (2015) both lost to Mexican opposition.

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