RESPITE is a weekend for married couples to spend unhurried time with other couples who understand the devastation of losing a child. We gather to learn from each other, encourage each other, and experience renewed hope for the future.
Respite is for couples with strong marriages, and for those whose marriages are struggling under the load of grief. It’s for those whose faith has grown through this loss, and for those who have hard questions. It’s for those who want to talk about their experience and their child, and for those who are tired of talking. It’s for couples whose loss is fresh, and for those who’ve been walking down this road for a while.
What do you do at the retreat?
We share our stories with each other and pray for each other. Over the weekend, we talk about:
grieving together though we may be grieving very differently
helping our other children through grief
dealing with fractured friendships and family relationships
finding meaning and purpose in our loss, and joy in spite of our loss
coming to terms with lingering questions about God’s role in our loss
The weekend is not a conference or workshop. It’s not a group therapy session or a secular support group. It's a mixture of directed large-group conversation, enjoying meals together, and opening up God's Word together in search of perspective and hope that can only be found in Christ.
Who Comes to Respite Retreat?
We’ve been hosting four to five retreats per year since 2009, and in that time, we've had couples come from all over the country, as well as from outside the U.S. We've had couples who lost a child only a month prior to attending, couples whose loss was fifteen years prior, and everywhere in between. Our goal is to help couples take steps toward healing from wherever they are. We usually have a wide range of ages represented in the children who have died, from infants born still to young adults in their twenties or thirties, as well as a wide range of causes of death.
Where is it held?
All meals and sessions are held at our home on the west side of Nashville (unless we head over to the nearby park for one session when the weather is nice). A block of rooms will be reserved for couples to stay at a nearby hotel.
How much does it cost?
Registration for Respite Retreat is $350 per couple, which includes all of the sessions as well as all meals and snacks from dinner on Friday night through breakfast on Sunday. Registration is non-refundable, but it is transferable to another retreat if cancellation is made in enough time for us to fill the spot at the retreat with another couple. Reservation and payment for hotel is separate.
How do we register?
To ask for information or to gain access to the online registration form, send us a message via the contact button below. Registration for each retreat is limited to the first 10 couples that complete the online registration application, send the requested photographs, and pay the registration fee via mailing or check or sending money via Venmo. Once we have received all three—completed application, requested photographs, and registration payment—we will send you a confirmation.
When is the next retreat with openings?
Our next retreat with openings will be April 17-19, 2020. There’s no need to e-mail to see if there is still space as dates are removed from this page immediately when retreats become full. Once a retreat is full, we do not keep a waiting list. If a spot becomes available due to cancellation, we offer it to couples already registered for the next retreat in the order in which they registered.
We will be hosting a Respite Retreat near Belfast, Ireland May 22-24, 2020. For more information about that retreat go to: respiteretreatireland.com.
Here are some things Respite Retreat attendees have said about their experience:
“I’ve been afraid to believe it is possible that God can heal my heart. I leave with a bit more faith that he can do that.”
“Grief has been lonely, like nobody gets it. Being here with people struggling but clinging to God helped me not feel so alone.”
“I was afraid it would be heavy and exhausting dredging it all up. I’ve cried, but it hasn’t been heavy; it’s been good.”
"I came in wondering if I could still trust God and I feel like I’m leaving with, ‘“Where else could I place my trust? I’ve exhausted my ideas.”
“This has been good for our marriage. It has enabled us to talk about our grief in a constructive way."
and a few more . . .
"This has re-calibrated our grief and propelled us forward. We have felt adrift, and this gave us direction. "
"It was great to be able to talk about our son and his death and not feel judged."
“I can't believe the closeness and ease I feel after less than 48 hours together in a situation that could have been so awkward. This is the easiest group situation I've been in since my child died."
“I went to a support group that was me-centered. It is so good to be at something that helps me with the grief that is Christ-centered.”
"My husband and I have taken different routes in our grief and this weekend has brought us back together to common ground."
“This is like the worst summer camp ever, and I still don’t want to go home.”