Living with Loss Retreats

(Page updated 8th June 2021)

With the ‘roadmap’ out of lockdown announced, I hope the dates for retreats below will work out – although, like everything to do with the pandemic – there is always a chance that the dates can change again.

If you would like to attend a retreat and don’t see one on the programme that suits you, please fill in this form to register your interest. (It should only take about 2 minutes). This is without obligation. 

If you’re looking for a safe space to explore your grief in the company of others who are also grieving, then you may find it helpful to come to one of the Living with Loss Retreats that I am leading.

These are gentle events for people of all ages who have suffered loss through bereavement. This is a led retreat with sessions, discussions, craft activities and time for personal reflection. We want to support you as you cope with your life-changing loss. Most retreats are small with around 9 – 15 participants.

We explore some of the spiritual, emotional and practical challenges of grief, and then look at ways of making the best of life as it is now. There is a simple service of remembrance that is a highlight for many of the participants. The retreat is an opportunity for companionship among others who are also grieving, which might be particularly important at this time if you have been isolated due to the pandemic. The goal is to walk away with a bit more hope as you continue your life’s journey.

The retreats are suitable for adults age 18 and over, no matter how bereaved: widows and widowers, bereaved parents and siblings, those who have lost parents or close family members, or those who have suffered multiple losses. Those who have lost loved ones during the pandemic – either through Covid-19 or from other causes – are most welcome. There is some gentle Christian content, but no theology. Those of all faiths and none are welcome, provided you are comfortable with this type of content.

Retreats are residential, with all meals and snacks provided, plus retreat materials to take away with you. Workshops are day events.

(Sometimes small bursaries [discounts] are available to help with costs if this will help make it possible for you to attend.)

If you are unsure whether an event like this is for you, then I invite you to contact me and/or keep reading below, as well as follow the links, to find out more details. If you do get in touch, I’ll be happy to call you back and tell you more about it and answer any specific questions you might have.


The Living with Loss project is a member of the National Bereavement Alliance. We hold around 10 events a year around the UK.



at Cloverley Hall in North Shropshire

A follow on retreat. This event is now fully booked

  • Monday 12 – Friday 16 July 2021
  • Week retreat (Monday afternoon to Friday morning – 4 nights)
  • Cost: £325 (plus optional £28 for ensuite)

This is an annual event, open to everyone who has already been to a Living with Loss retreat or workshop. It is a follow on and is more relaxed than a normal retreat. (This event was postponed from 2020.) Please visit the link for details.


Coping with grief follow unexpected or ‘out of order’ bereavement

  • 6 – 8 August 2021
  • Retreat near Battle in East Sussex, England
  • Cost: £195 (non-residential) or £295 (residential)

This small retreat (maximum 8 participants) is intended for those who are grieving following an unexpected bereavement, such as due to Covid-19, suicide or other causes, or an ‘out of order’ bereavement such as the loss of a child or younger sibling.

This retreat is a safe space to explore how to cope with the pain of your grief and find a way forward in your life. There will be led sessions and discussions, a service of remembrance and hope, and opportunities for quiet reflection and other activities.

Penhurst is a lovely property with a comfortable meeting room and a separate chapel. Arrival 3-4 pm on Friday, departure at 2 pm on Sunday.

Penhurst Retreat Centre is a small, friendly Christian retreat centre, situated in an area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, just 10 miles from the coast in the Sussex High Weald. The beauty, peace and comfort of this place create an ideal setting to relax and reflect. This retreat will be small with a maximum of 8 guests. (Some small bursaries are available if you need some support in order to attend.) 

Phone: 01424 892088

3-6 September – LAUNDE ABBEY – Leicestershire

Living with Loss – Coping with Life-changing Loss following Bereavement  

  • 3 – 6 September 2021
  • Long weekend retreat: Friday 4 pm to Monday 11 am 
  • Costs: £375

This is a Living with Loss Part 1 retreat, suitable for anyone (age 18+) looking for grief support following bereavement from any cause.

Launde Abbey is an atmospheric house set in beautiful parkland of 450 acres on the borders of Leicestershire and Rutland. The property includes extensive cultivated gardens and a wonderful twelfth century Chapel (part of the original Augustinian priory). We usually hold most of our retreat sessions in the Oak Room and have a service of prayer and hope in the Chapel. The retreat will begin with a brief introduction before the evening meal on Friday, and finish after morning coffee on Monday morning.

Details and booking here

Or contact Launde Abbey directly: 

8 – 12 November – LEE ABBEY – Devon


  • 8 – 12 November 2021 
  • 5 day retreat in Exmoor, Devon 
  • Cost: £225

A supportive week retreat of activities, led sessions, discussions and quiet reflection. This “Living with Loss” retreat is for anyone struggling to cope with bereavement from any cause. This retreat is suitable for those who have lost husbands or wives, children, close family members or friends, or multiple people. It is open to anybody over the age of 18 who is grieving. Please note that it will be held in the Beacon Centre of Lee Abbey, not in the main house.

This is Living with Loss Part 1. See below for the Part 2 course in spring 2022.

Lee Abbey is large property set on a 280 acre estate in Exmoor National Park on the West Devon coast. It’s an area of outstanding beauty with woodlands, streams, fields, and a private beach.

Find out more and book here. Alternatively contact Lee Abbey by email or phone 01598 752621.

28 February – 4th March 2022: Cloverley Hall, Shropshire


  • Monday 28 February – Friday 4th March 2022
  • Week retreat (Arrival 3-4 pm on Monday afternoon to Friday mid-morning – 4 nights)
  • Cost: £285 (all rooms ensuite)

We are delighted to be running the Living with Loss Part 1 retreat in a new venue. This is Cloverley Hall, a spacious property set in its own grounds in Shropshire, not far from Whitchurch. Facilities include an indoor heated swimming pool and a games room.

This retreat is for anyone aged 18+ who is grieving following the death of loved ones, friends or other significant people, no matter the cause or circumstances. We will host up to a maximum of 21 participants.

As with all Living with Loss events, we explore grief and finding the way forward through a variety of led sessions, discussions and activities. There is Christian content and a service of remembrance and hope. There will also be some craft activities. The programme will have enough time in it so that you can also rest, walk and enjoy the facilities that Cloverley Hall offers.

Contact Cloverley Hall to book your place:

View Cloverley Hall online

21 – 25 March 2022 – LEE ABBEY – Devon


  • 21 – 25 March 2022
  • 5 day retreat in Exmoor, Devon 
  • Costs: (To be announced)

This is the second in a series of supported retreats for those coping with life-changing loss following bereavement, and is again a gentle environment in which to explore grief in the company of others. We will continue themes from the first retreat, including understanding grief and the mosaic of life, and delve further into what could be obstacles to our journey forward, looking at topics such as guilt and anger. There will be a range of activities, led sessions, discussions, crafts, and times of reflection and remembrance.

(Please note that this retreat is a follow-up and only open to those who have already attended a Living with Loss retreat led by Abi May. (You could have attended a retreat or workshop anywhere in the country, not necessarily Lee Abbey.) T

Lee Abbey is large property set on a 280 acre estate in Exmoor National Park on the West Devon coast. It’s an area of outstanding beauty with woodlands, streams, fields, and a private beach.

The booking link is not yet live on Lee Abbey website.



Grief following bereavement can feel overwhelming, particularly if we have lost a partner or child, or if our loved one’s passing was sudden or traumatic, or if we have suffered multiple losses. The aim of this supported retreat is to better equip us to deal with our life-changing loss. The focus of our retreats is on making the best of our life in the present. We will face up to some of the spiritual, emotional and practical challenges of our grief, and then look at ways to cope with our life as it is now.

We have 2-3 led sessions every day, depending on the duration of the retreat. These include explanations, reflection prompts, craft & creative activities, discussions, times of reflection and prayer, and listening to music or inspirational readings.

Besides the led sessions, there is time for personal reflection, handouts to work on individually, as well as the opportunity for participants to have individual prayer with retreat leaders if you wish. A selection of relevant books are made available to read during the retreat.

The topics we cover (depending on the duration of the retreat and the needs of the participants) include:

  • Understanding grief, the physical, practical and emotional impact of loss, and a Christian perspective on grief.
  • Living with loss, models of recovery, complicated grief, crises of faith, dealing with our emotions.
  • Honouring the memories of our loved ones, reflective activities, digital legacy.
  • Survival strategies for our life today, being kind to ourselves, getting through difficult times.


RETREAT FAQs – visit this link


This post from our retreat at Launde Abbey in February 2018 gives a fairly good idea.


It wasn’t what I thought it would be – it was BETTER.

The sessions were very helpful and gave me hope.

“I thought Abi led the sessions with sensitivity and compassion. It was obvious she had ‘been there’. I liked how she shared her story.

The sessions were well researched, delivered and well paced.

This was a first class retreat which I found extremely helpful. I will definitely do part 2.

A bit of crafting – with a focus on process rather than product.

The view from our meeting room at Lee Abbey. Spectacular!
Candlelighting remembrance and prayer
The reason for these cups becomes evident during the retreat


It is possible that any of the following retreats may be repeated in the following year, depending on demand. So if you see a topic and/or location that you’d like to visit, drop us a line and we can add that into our decision-making about further retreats.


A Living with Loss retreat at the Greenhouse Christian Centre, Poole, Dorset that took place on 18 – 20 January 2019

LAUNDE ABBEY – Leicestershire

Living With Loss week events (Monday – Friday) took place on 18 – 22 February 2019 and 17 – 21 February 2020



This workshop took place on 29-30 June 2019

‘Tea room Gathering Retreat” at THE HOUSE OF THE OPEN DOOR – Cotswolds

This retreat was held from 20 – 23 August 2019

21-23 May – Briery Retreat Centre, Ilkley, West Yorkshire


Living with Loss – Coping with Bereavement  

This was a weekend retreat for those who are struggling with grief from any cause or no matter how long ago.

The Briery Retreat Centre is a lovely quiet property on the edge of Ilkley in West Yorkshire. We have the use of the spacious dining and meeting rooms, with plenty of space for holding a Covid-secure event.  Visit the Briery online

For further information or to make a booking, contact: or call 01943 607 287

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