Living with Loss Retreats

(Page updated 10/07/18)

You are invited to a Living with Loss Supported Retreat

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

These are gentle retreats for people of all ages who have suffered loss through bereavement. They are faith-based from a Christian perspective. The goal is finding courage and hope as we continue our life’s journey.

The retreats are suitable for widows and widowers, bereaved parents and siblings, those who have lost parents or close family members, or those who have suffered multiple losses. Most retreats are small with around 9 – 15 participants.

The content of each retreat follows the same theme, but differs slightly according to the duration, and the interests and needs of those who attend.

There are three different retreats listed below: (1) Living with Loss, and (2) Living with Loss Part 2, only open to those who have already attended a Living with Loss retreat. (3) is a new retreat in 2019 for Christians bereaved by suicide.

If you are unsure whether a retreat 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.

Places are limited. (See below for more on this, and the possibility of bringing a companion.)

QUICK LINKS

NEW: Read reviews from those who have taken part in Living with Loss retreats


Please note that all events are subject to sufficient numbers of people booking, so if you’re thinking about attending,  please don’t wait too long to get in touch!

2018

THE BRIERY RETREAT CENTRE – Ilkley, Yorkshire

LIVING WITH A LIFE-CHANGING LOSS THROUGH BEREAVEMENT

  • Friday 27 – Sunday 29 July 2018 
  • Weekend retreat (Friday late afternoon-Sunday afternoon) in Ilkley, Yorkshire
  • Cost: £155

A supportive weekend retreat of activities, led sessions and quiet reflection.

LIVING WITH LOSS PART 2: THE JOURNEY ONWARDS

  • Friday 7 – Sunday 9 September 2018
  • Weekend retreat  (Friday late afternoon-Sunday afternoon)
  • Cost: £155

This retreat is only open to those who have attending a first “Living with Loss” retreat, either at the Briery or elsewhere. It is a smaller event (maximum 9 participants) with a flexible programme, delving into some of the deeper areas of grief such as anger, guilt, regret and complicated grief.

The Briery Retreat and Conference Centre is in a beautiful location in Ilkley, in the Yorkshire Moors. (The Centre is run by Catholic sisters, however the retreat is a non-denominational event and Abi is not a Catholic.) 

Briery brochure download
BOOKING INFORMATION FOR THE BRIERY  or contact: briery@btconnect.com

NICHOLASTON HOUSE – near Swansea

LIVING WITH LOSS FOLLOWING BEREAVEMENT 

  • 2-4 November 2018
  • Weekend retreat near Swansea. Our first retreat in Wales
  • Cost: £149 – £219

A supportive weekend retreat of activities, led sessions and quiet reflection.

Nicholaston House, standing in its own grounds overlooking Oxwich Bay, is set in Britain’s first designed Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty with open moorland, sloping hillside and cliff-top views just a short walk away.  Facilities include a Celtic chapel, games room and arts and craft studio. Nicholaston House is a member of The Quiet Garden Movement and you can view the wild bird garden from the conservatory.

♦ Link to this event at Nicholaston House, with booking information

LEE ABBEY – Devon 

LIVING WITH LIFE-CHANGING LOSS FOLLOWING BEREAVEMENT

  • Monday 12 – Friday 16 November 2018 
  • 5 day retreat in Exmoor, Devon
  • Cost: £199 (some discounts available)

A supportive week retreat of activities, led sessions and quiet reflection.

Lee Abbey is set on a 280 acre estate in Exmoor National Park on the West Devon coast. The estate includes woodlands, streams, fields, and a private beach. Lee Abbey is a vibrant busy place, with lots going on besides our retreat. In order to have peace and quiet, we will be housed and running the retreat in a separate building away from the main house. 

◊ Link to this event at Lee Abbey, with booking information

2019

LAUNDE ABBEY – Leicestershire

Living With Loss

  • 18 – 22 February 2019 
  • 5 Day retreat in the East Midlands
  • Cost:  £405.00 – £425.00

Launde Abbey is a Christian Retreat House and Conference Centre in the East Midlands. Set in beautiful parkland of 450 acres on the borders of Leicestershire and Rutland, the Abbey has 39 en-suite bedrooms which can accommodate up to 78 people; full conference facilities; comprehensive dining facilities; extensive cultivated gardens and a wonderful twelfth century Chapel (part of the original Augustinian priory).

Phone: 01572 717254
Email: info@launde.org.uk
♦ Link to this event at Launde Abbey, with booking information

 

CHRISTIANS BEREAVED BY SUICIDE

A Living with Loss retreat

  • Summer 2019 – dates and location to be confirmed later.

The death of a loved one to suicide is widely acknowledged as being one of the most difficult bereavements to cope with. This retreat will follow the usual Living with Loss themes, but with specific emphasis on those who are grieving following the loss of a family member or friend as a result of suicide.

If you think you might be interested in this event, please visit this link for a short survey. Thank you.

 

WHITCHESTER CHRISTIAN CENTRE – near Hawick 

LIVING WITH LOSS FOLLOWING BEREAVEMENT

  • Late June or September 2019 – dates to be confirmed later. 
  • Weekend retreat in Hawick, in the Scottish borders just north of Carlisle. 
  • Cost:  £135. (There will be some possible bursaries)  

A supportive weekend retreat of activities, led sessions and quiet reflection. There is space for a maximum of 12 people on this retreat.

Whitchester Christian Centre   is a peaceful 18th century property set in beautiful countryside. Facilities include an art-room, conservatory and the possibility of walks in the 2 acre landscaped grounds or beyond. 

Contact Whitchester Christian Centre for booking and further information:  email – enquiries@whitchester.org.uk  or website

PENHURST CHRISTIAN CENTRE – Sussex 

LIVING WITH LOSS FOLLOWING BEREAVEMENT

  • October 2019 – exact dates to be confirmed later. 
  • Weekend retreat in Sussex, south of England
  • Cost:  £TBA. 

A supportive weekend retreat of activities, led sessions and quiet reflection. There is space for a maximum of 12 people on this retreat.

(More details about this location coming later)

 

THE HOUSE OF THE OPEN DOOR – Cotswolds

Living with Loss Part 3: Gathering

  • Summer 2019 – dates to be confirmed later
  • 4 day retreat in the Cotswolds.
  • Cost:  £250  (Discount of £30 for each of those sharing a room)

This retreat is only open to those who have already participated in a “Living with Loss” retreat and will be a small event, with up to 9 participants only. There will be a flexible programme exploring ongoing issues related to loss. Anyone interested in attending should contact Abi.

The House of the Open Door is an ecumenical Christian Community and Retreat Centre in the Cotswolds, a beautiful 17th Century property set in quiet countryside. 


More dates  in 2019 will be added later. Please note that due to family commitments, we will not be holding any retreats from April – June 2019.


bench

MORE DETAILS ABOUT THE CONTENT OF THE RETREATS

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. We will face up to some of the spiritual, emotional and practical challenges of our grief, and then look at practical and creative ways to cope with our life as it is now, as well as the courage that our faith can give us as we go forward in our lives.

The focus of our retreats is on making the best of our life in the present. We have one or two led sessions every day. These include explanations, reflection prompts, 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 will 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

WHAT HAPPENS AT A RETREAT? 

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

 

IS THIS RETREAT SUITABLE FOR ME?

Generally, we recommend that by the time of the retreat, it will have been at least six months since your bereavement, although this is not a hard and fast rule.

There is no upward limit; a loss from even decades ago isn’t a barrier.

It is natural to feel nervous before attending a retreat on such personal topics. Please be assured that your privacy will be respected, and all activities are voluntary. If you’d rather step out of the room or skip a session, you are most welcome.

HOW RELIGIOUS IS THIS?

There are Christian elements to the retreat but it is gentle. There are some Bible-based readings and reflection activities but it is low-key. There is an assumption that the participants identify as Christian, whether or not they are churchgoers. We take a non-denominational approach.

If you take a look at my book “A Valley Journal” or browse through my blog at www.avalleyjournal.co.uk, you will be able to catch the tone of the retreat: there is a thread of Christianity throughout, but the focus is on the practical and emotional aspects of our life being lived in the present.

 

WILL I BE THE ONLY ONE WHO…? 

Everyone is different and we all have unique life stories, losses and current circumstances. At the same time, one of the benefits of an event such as this is discovering we are not completely alone in how we are feeling. The details of our own lives may be different, but as we meet and talk with other people, we discover we have more in common than we expected. It is common to form lasting friendships during our time together.

WHAT IS THE MOOD OF THE RETREAT? ALL TEARS? 

As it says in Eccelesiastes, there is a time for everything, a time to mourn and a time to weep, but also a time to laugh… Tears are not uncommon as we explore the sadness of our loss, but we also try to approach some subjects in a lighter way. Not every activity is serious and not everything we do is deep and meaningful. Life is a mixed bag of emotions and experiences, and so are our retreats.

I’M LIVING WITH LOSS! BUT NOT THROUGH BEREAVEMENT. CAN I COME TO THIS RETREAT? 

There are so many kinds of losses – such as life-changing injuries or illnesses, loss of home or livelihood, loss of relationships  – and these might be part of our life’s journey alongside  bereavement. Although we take these other losses into account during our retreats, the focus is primarily on loss through bereavement .

I’M A BIT NERVOUS ABOUT ATTENDING. CAN I BRING A FRIEND?

Space is limited at the retreats; usually everyone who attends is someone who has direct experience of loss. However, if the idea of coming alone is stopping you, then we could consider any requests to bring a companion, whether they are a family member or friend, provided there is room at the retreat. If this is what you would like, then please get in touch with me (Abi) to discuss it (please include your phone number if you would like me to call you or your companion back.)  Contact me here

 

IS THERE ACCESS FOR SOMEONE WITH LIMITED MOBILITY OR OTHER  NEEDS?

Every location is different and we recommend you visit their website to find out their access facilities. There has never been a problem catering for different dietary  requirements.

ARE ALL RETREATS RESIDENTIAL? DO YOU RUN ANY DAY EVENTS? 

I am able to run non-residential  “Living with Loss” Support Days, and if your church or social group is interested in this, please get in touch with me about it.  It will most likely depend on location.

As I hope you can see, we try to keep the Living with Loss programme flexible and avoid any barriers that would prevent someone who wishes to from attending.

 

COMMENTS FROM PREVIOUS PARTICIPANTS

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.

Click here for more comments from participants

 

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

img_20171030_1624171579341773.jpg

The view from our meeting room at Lee Abbey. Spectacular!

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Candlelighting remembrance and prayer

dav

The reason for these cups becomes evident during the retreat


PAST EVENTS, May 2018 onwards

THE HOUSE OF THE OPEN DOOR – Cotswolds

Living with Loss Part 2: The Journey Onwards

  • Tuesday 22 – Friday 25 May 2018
  • 4 day retreat in the Cotswolds.
  • Cost:  £250  (Discount of £30 for each of those sharing a room)

This retreat is only open to those who have already participated in a “Living with Loss” retreat and will be a small event, with up to 9 participants only. There will be a flexible programme exploring ongoing issues related to loss.

The House of the Open Door is an ecumenical Christian Community and Retreat Centre in the Cotswolds, a beautiful 17th Century property set in quiet countryside. 

Download details here: LivingWithLossPart2.Details
Please contact Abi directly to enquire or make bookings for this retreat:  abi@mayihelp.co.uk.  Downloadable booking form: LivingWithLossPart2.Booking
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