(Page updated 22 July 2022)
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 our Living with Loss Retreats. Most retreats are small with around 6 – 18 participants.
These are gentle events for people who are struggling with grief following bereavement. Each retreat includes a variety of activities, with led sessions, moderated discussions, craft activities and free time for personal reflection, reading or going for a walk. There is a simple service of remembrance that is a highlight for many of the participants.
During our time together, we explore some of the emotional and practical challenges of grief, and then look at ways of making the best of life as it is now. 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 that “yes, I can do it” as you continue on with your life’s journey.
The retreats are suitable for adults age 21 and over. You are welcome whatever your relationship – whether the one(s) who died was your spouse or partner, your child of any age, your parent, sibling, close friend, or if you have suffered multiple losses. Those who have lost loved ones during the pandemic – either through Covid-19 or from other causes – are most welcome.
Those attending will have lost loved ones in different circumstances. Some deaths might have followed a long illness or it could have been a sudden event, such as an unforeseen health emergency, an accident or suicide. We occasionally run retreats for specific types of bereavement such as suicide – see the list below for details.
All of our retreats have some gentle Christian spiritual content, including short reflections. Those of all faiths and none are welcome, provided you are comfortable with this type of content.
Retreats are residential and full board, with all meals and snacks provided, plus retreat materials to take away with you. Workshops are day events.
Weekend retreats have a fuller schedule; week retreats are more relaxed. Booking is through the retreat centre (unless otherwise noted). The price is fixed by each retreat centre.
If you need financial help in order to attend a retreat, please ask. We cannot promise to be able to help but we do have a small bursary fund.
Keep reading below or follow the links to find out more details. You are welcome to contact me with any questions.
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. I also run Zoom groups online.
- Quick overview calendar
- Retreat FAQs
- Read about what happens at a Living with Loss retreat
- Reviews from those who have taken part in Living with Loss retreats
- Artist and author Jola describes her experience at a Living with Loss retreat [new]
The Living with Loss project is a member of the National Bereavement Alliance. We’ve been running Living with Loss retreats since 2016.
“A Living with Loss retreat is a safe place to talk about your grief and your loss, where everyone is accepted and welcomed and allowed to be themselves. … These retreats offer gentle support to encourage you to keep on living.” –Retreat participant
Weekend retreats in West Sussex at Penhurst Retreat Centre
Unfortunately due to circumstances beyond our control, both of our retreats scheduled for September at Penhurst have been cancelled.
17-20 October 2022 – “Tearoom Gathering” at Cloverley Hall
- 3 nights/4 day retreat at Cloverley Hall in Shropshire
- Arrival 4 pm Monday 17th October, 2022. Departure after lunch Thursday 20th October.
- Price: £255
This event is a follow on, and only for those who have already been to a Living with Loss retreat.
The theme is ‘The Changing of Seasons.’ There will be plenty of opportunities during the retreat to interact, try out crafts and go for walks. There are a maximum of 30 places. All bookings for this retreat should go directly through Abi (and not Cloverley Hall).
Find out more here, including booking form to be downloaded: Gathering 2022: “The changing of seasons” – Living With Loss Events (wordpress.com)
14-18 November 2022 – “Living with Loss” week retreat at Lee Abbey, Devon
- 4 nights/5 day retreat at Lee Abbey in Devon
- Arrival 4 pm Monday 14th November
- Departure after breakfast Friday 18th November
- Price: £225
- Book directly with Lee Abbey: Details and booking here
A supportive week retreat of activities, led sessions, discussions and quiet reflection. This “Living with Loss Part 1” retreat is for anyone struggling to cope with grief following bereavement from any cause. This retreat is suitable for those who have been bereaved of husbands or wives, partners, children, close family members or friends, or multiple people. It is open to anybody 21 or over. Please note that the retreat will be held in the Beacon Centre at Lee Abbey, not in the main house. Up to 18 participants.
Contact Lee Abbey by email email@example.com or phone 01598 752621
We will be running this event again at Lee Abbey from July 24 – 28th 2023
13-15 January – “Living with Loss” weekend retreat at Launde Abbey, Leicestershire
- 13-15 January 2023
- Weekend retreat: Friday 4 pm to Sunday 4 pm
- Price: to be confirmed
- Booking: Direct with Launde Abbey (booking is not yet open)
A supportive weekend retreat of activities, led sessions, discussions and quiet reflection. This “Living with Loss Part 1” retreat is for anyone struggling to cope with grief following bereavement from any cause. This retreat is suitable for those who have been bereaved of husbands or wives, partners, children, close family members or friends, or multiple people. It is open to anybody 21 or over.
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 afternoon coffee on Sunday afternoon.
Contact Launde Abbey: firstname.lastname@example.org
13 – 17 March – “Living with Loss” week retreat at Cloverley Hall, Shropshire
- Week retreat: Arrival 3-4 pm on Monday 13, departure mid-morning Friday 17 March
- Price: £320 (Early bird £300, if booking and paying before 31st December)
- Optional ensuite: £28 extra
- Booking and enquiries should go to Abi [email@example.com]. Download the booking form here:
This retreat is for anyone aged 21+ who is grieving following the death of a spouse, a child, other loved ones, friends or other significant people, whatever the cause or circumstances.
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.
Cloverley Hall is a spacious property set in its own beautiful grounds in Shropshire. Facilities include an indoor heated swimming pool and a games room. All meals are provided (cooked breakfast, and two courses at lunch and the evening meal) plus snacks, plus retreat materials to take away with you.
July 24-28th – “Living with Loss Part 1” week retreat at Lee Abbey, Devon
This is a repeat of the retreat being held on 14-18 November 2022. See above for details.
4 – 8 September 2023 – ‘Tearoom Gathering’ week at Cloverley Hall
- 4-8th September retreat at Cloverley Hall in Shropshire
- Price: £325
- For more information and booking details, please visit here
This event is a follow on, and only for those who have already been to a Living with Loss retreat.
The theme is ‘Thresholds.’ There will be plenty of opportunities during the retreat to interact, try out crafts and go for walks. There are a maximum of 30 places. All bookings for this retreat should go directly through Abi (and not Cloverley Hall).
13-17 November 2023 – “Living with Loss Part 2” week retreat at Lee Abbey, Devon
- 5 day retreat in Exmoor, Devon
- Price: to be confirmed – possibly around £225
- Booking is not yet open for this retreat – you can register your interest by calling Lee Abbey or writing to Abi.
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.
The retreat will be held in the Beacon Centre, not the main house.
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 at Lee Abbey.)
MORE DETAILS ABOUT THE CONTENT OF THE RETREATS
Grief following bereavement can feel overwhelming, particularly if you have lost a partner or child, or if your loved one’s passing was sudden or traumatic, or if you have suffered multiple losses. The aim of our retreats is to help you feel better equipped to deal with your life-changing loss. We explore some of the spiritual, emotional and practical challenges of grief, and then look at ways to cope with life as it is now. There is some gentle Christian content, but this is about life in the present rather than the life beyond.
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.
There are 2-3 led sessions every day. Sessions include a range of activities including discussions and personal reflection. There are other relaxed sessions with craft and music, plus a candlelighting remembrance service.
Besides the led sessions, there is time for personal reflection, handouts to work on individually, as well as the opportunity for participants to have a chat and/or prayer with retreat leaders if you wish. A selection of relevant books are made available to read during the retreat.
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.