The one word that comes to our minds most frequently, after 21 Spark of Life Grief Recovery Retreats, with over 300 grievers coming from 27 states and Canada, with various losses and backgrounds and belief systems is …
Courage comes in many forms of course. I once thought I understood courage, that it was easy to identify – the firemen who daringly go back into the burning building, or the soldiers who risk their lives for their country, etc. These are indeed people who are courageous.
But since 2009, when we began this journey of working with those who have experienced heartbreaking losses, ‘Courage’ has taken on a much broader meaning to us. We see courage in every person who decides to attend a Spark of Life Retreat.
Each of these precious people are heartbroken when we meet them. They have lost children, spouses, parents, brothers and sisters, and a host of other losses. Many have experienced their children or spouses taking their own lives, or dying with a deadly disease or a horrific accident. Their stories are each unique, experienced in the context of many other losses and life situations.
When we meet them and hear their stories, we are amazed that they had the energy to come to a retreat, and amazed at their courage to face their pain in a vulnerable and open way. We are astonished that though they have certainly had moments when ‘give up’ seemed to dominate them, none of them had really given up, because they were there, at a retreat, desperately trying to find anything that will help them ‘live forward.’
We are asked frequently how we who lead these retreats ‘do it.’
How can we deal with all the pain of so many people who are hurting so deeply?
There are many answers to that question, but one is this: those who come with all their hurt and pain encourage us! They are the real heroes, for they refuse to give up. They are our inspiration.
They are the courageous ones.