This is a selection of feedback I have received after the Living with Loss Retreats and Grief Companion Training Courses. I’m posting this here so that those who are considering attending or hosting one of my events might have an idea how participants have responded.
(Feedback is anonymous and there are no names included, except when permission was given. Some feedback is general and some is in answer to specific questions.)
References and endorsements are also available on request, from participants including Canon Roger Knight, and other church leaders and individuals who know me.
“If someone was thinking about attending a Living with Loss event, what would you tell them?”
It is well worth (attending a Living with Loss retreat) no matter what your experience, or the length of time since your bereavement. You will not be pressurised in any way or at any time and you will find yourself in an environment which is supportive and kind, and where you can just be yourself. It will undoubtedly be helpful for you.” (Annette from Surrey)
Don’t put off coming on this course. Don’t hesitate. You will benefit enormously. You will be treated with love, care, respect, gentleness and kindness. You will be heard.
I would say, it is emotional, stay with it and I can assure you that you will feel so much better after (this time) in Abi’s care and her teaching.
Definitely consider it! Seeing the journey we have been on (for the past 5 weeks), everyone has learnt something and moved forward in coping with grief.
I would advise them to contact Abi and Do it!
I would definitely encourage them to come. This Retreat has been inspiring and a step forward into all that God has for us in the years ahead – a life worth living and enjoying.
I felt that Abi was just right to lead this retreat because I felt she knew from her own experience just what we were going through.
“What did you learn or gain from the event? What was most helpful?”
I was surprised to find that others had experienced things that I thought were peculiar to me.
(I have now) recognised that feelings and emotions that I experience are normal, so accept them, and not feel selfish.
…To be gentle with myself. Not to feel guilty about my ***’s illness.
(Mostly helpful:) The (sessions) which affirmed me and my place on my journey of grief, and the advice to carry on one step at a time.
The fact it is a journey. It’s not just one thing, we won’t get it right straightaway. One step and then another.
(I now plan) to take hold of new experiences and live with thankfulness. Remember friends and give out to them.
…That we all grieve in our own way and that was good to hear.
(It was most helpful:) Permission! To think about oneself – and in my case to change churches without guilt. “Our grief is as individual as our lives.” “Depth of grief does not reflect loss of faith.” Seasons of grief, adapt to seasons.
The content of the bereavement sessions was excellent and the approach varied, interactive and all very clearly presented.
This is the first time I had the opportunity to talk with others who were bereaved and also wanted to talk about it.
“What were your highlights from the retreat?”
The sessions were very sensitively presented, giving me time to think that all that I was feeling was okay. We were in lovely comfortable surroundings, and the group of people were so lovely. I loved Abi.
I found the session with the candles* most moving.
Sharing and listening to others who have experienced the same loss as I have. The Candelit reflection* was very moving. Life Strategies on the final morning was very useful for the onward journey.
I found the group to be very friendly. The quiet times and venue very helpful.
Sessions – making us work through thoughts and emotions – listening to others – learning from others.
I loved the inclusion of music and the Prayer Session.* Also to learn how similar our feelings were within the group. I am not ‘odd’ in my experience.
Discussion formal and informal with others, what experiences we had in common. I am not alone in these feelings.
(I was surprised to learn)…the need to be ‘me’. I can grieve in the way I want to.
Quiet times of reflection.
It was all good. We were able to laugh which was good.
Handouts were very helpful, information given too, as one can only take in so much at the time and it was good to have practical things to do. Abi’s illustrations and anecdotes were always relevant and illuminating. The sessions went by very quickly for me. At first I didn’t think the afternoon ‘craft’ / workshop type activities would work but I’m glad I joined in. There was a good atmosphere throughout – confidentiality respected, opinions valued, everyone was accepted. I was grateful for an opportunity to be prayed for.
The quiet, tranquil surroundings.
Really appreciated how varied each day’s content was.
*The “candle-lighting” evening was a time of prayers, reflections and songs of remembrance of our loved ones, and hope for the journey ahead.
“Any other comments?”
I am very pleased that I came. The group were very open, supportive and friendly and I felt comfortable. Abi, you created a safe/sacred place that enabled people to speak their truth without hesitation or fear of criticism or judgement. Thank you!
It hurt like hell, but it was truly beautiful. Thank you so much.
I thought Abi led the sessions with sensitivity and compassion. It was obvious she had ‘been there’. I liked how she shared her story.
Abi – you have been a wonderful, warm and insightful leader.
Thank you so much for a balanced mix of info, discussion, craft, symbolism, etc.
As I look for a new place to live, a new church, etc, I will know that others have done this and will feel encouraged.
This was a first class retreat which I found extremely helpful. I will definitely do Part 2.
I had no idea, really, what to expect this week. I am returning home feeling assured that I will survive and continue to take ‘small steps’ on my journey.
I am always concerned when running the retreats and training courses that those who participate go away satisfied with the experience. Along the way, we do lots of different activities, and by the end, there has been quite a variety. The following statistics don’t give a full picture, but they can give at least some idea of the levels of satisfaction expressed by those who participate, and it is very good.
Based on the 19 feedback forms I have received from the most recent events, with answered graded from “strongly agreed” to “strongly disagreed”:
Everyone agreed that “I enjoyed taking part in this course / I’m glad I attended the retreat”. In fact, 16 strongly agreed with this statement.
As far as presentation, again there was a high level of satisfaction, with everyone agreed that the retreat was well-organised/well-presented. This time 17 strongly agreed.
When the question was asked, “would you recommend this training /this course to others”, there was again unanimous agreement.
(Page updated 7/6/18)