Sunday, October 21, 2012

Safe Place Weekend

I told Peggy Sweeney, who also writes a bereaved parent newsletter, I would help her out with her special announcement about the Safe Place Retreat Weekend being held Nov. 9-11, 2012.

Safe Place is a retreat for bereaved parents at Presbyterian Mo-Ranch Assembly outside of San Antonio, Texas, where individuals will find others willing to hear them tell their stories. Led by other bereaved parents and supported by professional counselors, the retreat will involve time spent in listening groups and/or individual conversations. The main goal is to provide a safe, spiritual environment where participants feel free to talk about their bereavement, share what has helped them cope, and discuss continuing needs.

The price of $228 includes your sleeping quarters for two nights (you do not have to share a room) and meals Friday evening, all day Saturday, and Sunday breakfast. Also included is the programming and all materials for the retreat. Scholarship assistance is available to make this experience possible for those with financial needs.

“When your child dies, there are no words of consolation. There are no words to help you understand, to make you feel better. At this retreat, I was with a group of people who understood this. We didn’t try to make each other feel better. We listened, we talked, we cried together for the loss of all the children whose families were there. I found the group worship and prayers, the opportunity to be heard by those who understand, and to just BE there with those who have shared my same heartache were all healing experiences for me. I highly recommend this retreat to any bereaved parents. It really is a safe place,” said Ruth Hinson, previous participant.

Even if you can’t attend, you may know someone who can, so you are encouraged to pass along this information to them.

“My husband and I attended this retreat about five months after my only child, his wife and their baby were killed in an accident. The weekend was emotionally draining, and yet as we were driving home, we both realized we felt much lighter of spirit than we had thought was possible. Looking back that weekend was a pivotal point in our healing. Although we are still sad, and we know that things will never be as they were before the accident, the experience at Safe Place gave us hope to move into the future. We have even found times of joy, unimaginable before this. The Mo-Ranch setting is calm and beautiful and the people you meet are able to offer the support that only those who are also in the unfortunate club of having lost a child can offer,” said Ellen Dortch, participant.

If you have questions, Peggy suggests contacting her at 830-377-7389 or Sue Endsley, hostess for the weekend, at 800-460-4401 x 226 for a registration form to be sent to you with additional information on housing and what clothes to bring.

If you have been struggling and looking for a different experience, this may just be what you need.

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