A 21-Day Online Contemplative Retreat for Widows
Exploring Faith and Grief Through Writing
When I lost my husband, Rob, I felt overwhelmed with sorrow. Suddenly, my life was shattered. Rob’s death felt like the death of me too.
Blinded by grief, I longed for a companion in sorrow, a friend who really understood. As I searched, I discovered how hard this was to find, among my family and friends, in my community, even in the church. A committed Christian, I desperately needed relationships and a space where I could grieve honestly and openly and ask the hard questions of faith, the kind that arise when a woman comes face to face with the death of her husband.
As I searched, I discovered secular resources that affirmed my pain but denigrated my faith. The grave was the end, they assured me. An easing of my earthly pain was the best I could hope for.
I also found spiritual resources that felt like empty platitudes avoiding the very real pain of my loss. Somehow, they said, Rob’s presence with God should erase my sorrow, should eliminate the need for mourning.
I felt stuck. Alone. Distraught. Lost.
I needed support but I couldn’t find the help I needed.
I designed Together in Grief to fill this gap. Together in Grief is a 21-day online contemplative retreat that offers widows what I needed and what I’ve come to understand many women need as we struggle to comprehend the loss of our husbands.
A PLACE to let the ugliness of death and pain of grief be voiced without judgment.
A SPACE to honor our loss as valid, even when it’s complicated.
A COMMUNITY of supportive women who understand what it means to lose your partner and maybe even fear you’ll lose your faith.
An OPPORTUNITY to process the questions we carry with us about God’s presence in suffering, about life’s purpose, about the hope which sometimes feels terribly dim in the midst of sorrow.
What does the course look like?
In this 21-day online contemplative retreat, you will receive weekly emails from me with daily writing prompts, Scripture, prayers, poetry, and music that allow you to explore your grief creatively in the context of your Christian faith. Whether you’re believing, struggling, questioning or ready to just give up, you’re welcome here. This course is for you.
Your daily writing prompts will allow you to lean into your grief and speak about your faith honestly. You can talk about your grief freely here. No need to censor it for sensitive relatives or downplay it for unsympathetic friends. You can also press into your faith here. Ask the questions you need to ask, the ones for which there may be no earthly answers. No need to worry that your pastor or Bible study group will blush at your questions.
As a participant in the online retreat, you also will receive access to a private Facebook group where you and other retreatants can connect and enjoy community together throughout the 21 days. Here you’ll enjoy daily connection with me as well as encouragement and support from my absolutely fabulous co-facilitator, spiritual director Sheli Oberbeck. Upload your daily writing to the Facebook group for affirmation in this no-critique, no-judgment zone, or simply discover the joy of a community of widows who support your grief and faith journey, no matter how it looks. Participate as little or as much as you feel comfortable.
Each online retreat is limited to 30 participants to ensure that each woman receives the attention and care she deserves. Once an online retreat reaches capacity, we maintain a waiting list for available spots.
How will this help me?
This course will help you …
- Talk about your grief honestly and openly with women who understand
- Explore your grief freely in the context of your faith
- Find support as you experience life after the loss of your husband
What does it cost?
The cost of the 21-day Companions in Sorrow retreat is $119.95.
When you register you’ll receive a beautiful hand lettered print (downloadable) from artist Joy Madison, designed just for you.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Can I attend this online retreat if I am not a Christian?
Yes! While this online retreat is designed specifically to meet the needs of women who identify as Christians, all widows are warmly welcome! If you are committed to honest, charitable discussions about faith, please join us.
- How do you define widow? Do I have to be a widow to participate?
For simplicity’s sake, we define a widow as a woman who was legally married to her husband when he died. We acknowledge that this definition is narrow and does not reflect the breadth of other committed relationships women enjoy with their partners. For safety and privacy, only widows are invited to participate in Together in Grief.
- Do I have to share my writing?
While we encourage you to write daily as a contemplative practice using the email prompts, you are under no pressure or obligation to write each day or to share your writing. If you decide to share your writing with our private Facebook group, you will be met with affirmation, love and grace.
- Do I have to participate in the Facebook group?
Participation in the Facebook group is not required, but you’ll find it’s where the beauty of connection happens. You are welcome to interact as much or as little as feels comfortable to you.
- Is what I share private?
The Facebook group is a private one where your comments and your writing will be honored and kept in confidence. We ask that all members of the online retreat are committed to confidentiality and are willing to guard one another’s vulnerabilities in love.
- Is the cost refundable?
The $119.95 is a nonrefundable fee.
- What happens when the retreat is over?
We hate when good things end! We hope you’ll make deep connections over the 21 days, friendships that will sustain you as you walk your own grief journey. We encourage you to connect and maintain those relationships after the retreat is over.
After your retreat session ends, come back and join us anytime at a discounted rate of $79.95. You’ll enjoy the same set of daily email prompts, discover new things in your writing, meet a new group of women and continue to grow through your grief.