Living with Loss Retreats

(Page updated 13 September 2021)

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 – 12 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. Sometimes small bursaries (discounts) are available.

Events are run in a Covid-secure way, according to the current requirements. There is sufficient space in the meeting rooms for the numbers that are permitted to attend.

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 LINKS

The Living with Loss project is a member of the National Bereavement Alliance. We’ve been running Living with Loss retreats since 2016.


2021

“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

8 – 12 November – LEE ABBEY – Devon

LIVING WITH LIFE-CHANGING LOSS FOLLOWING BEREAVEMENT

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

This retreat is now fully booked

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, partners, 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 the retreat will be held in the Beacon Centre at Lee Abbey, not in the main house.

This is Living with Loss Part 1. See below for the follow on 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. It really is a beautiful location with lots of walking possibilities. The Beacon Centre is a warm and friendly space. We will be the only group there.

Find out more and book here.

Alternatively contact Lee Abbey by email relax@leeabbey.org.uk or phone 01598 752621.

(View or download the draft programme here. It’s subject to change, but at least it will give you a general idea of what to expect)

“There are a great variety of activities on the programme: social, sacred, teaching and workshops. As I go home I feel encouraged and thankful and ready to make a change, however little, in some aspect of my life. There is a new energy to live positively and also to be alongside others.”

Retreat participant

2022

28 February – 4th March 2022 – Coping with Grief – Living with Loss – Shropshire

LIVING WITH LOSS FOLLOWING BEREAVEMENT

  • 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)

There are plenty of places available. We will host up to a maximum of 20 participants.

We are delighted to be running the Living with Loss Part 1 retreat at Cloverley Hall, 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.

This retreat is for anyone aged 18+ 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.

View this event on the Cloverley Hall website

Contact Cloverley Hall to book your place: office@cloverleyhall.org or 01948 890 688

View or download the draft programme here. It’s subject to change, but at least it will give you a general idea of what to expect:

“Compassionate, loving and well-informed leadership by Abi – and an amazing opportunity to share your grief journey with others, be helped by them, and maybe help others too. … More of God’s people who have been bereaved and who know this overwhelming grief should have access to this kind of oasis.

Retreat participant

21 – 25 March 2022 – LEE ABBEY – Devon

LIVING WITH LIFE-CHANGING LOSS FOLLOWING BEREAVEMENT – Part 2

  • 21 – 25 March 2022
  • 5 day retreat in Exmoor, Devon 
  • Costs: £320 (£380 ensuite)

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 at Lee Abbey.)

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. This retreat will be held in the Main House.

Find out more details and BOOK HERE


Living with Loss weekend retreats in September 2022

Details of these events are still to be confirmed. There will be a maximum of 7 residential guests at each retreat.

  • 9 – 11 September 2022 – “Bereaved by Suicide” Living with Loss weekend
  • 16 – 18 September 2022 – “Coping with Grief” Living with Loss weekend  


14-17 October 2022 – ‘Tearoom Gathering’ at Cloverley Hall

Hearts filled with love – prayers offered – for those who are gone, and for those who are still with us.
  • Arrival 4 pm Friday 14th October, 2022. Departure after lunch Monday 17th October.
  • Cost: £255 (Includes all meals, snacks and retreat materials)

This event is 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 will be a maximum of 25 places.

All bookings and arrangements for this retreat should go directly through Abi (and not Cloverley Hall). Bookings are now being taken.


bench

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 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.

RETREAT FAQs – visit this link

PREVIOUS RETREATS


WHAT HAPPENS AT A RETREAT?

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

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.

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!
Candlelighting remembrance and prayer
dav
The reason for these cups becomes evident during the retreat

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