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GRIEF RECOVERY ESSENTAIL #3: Recovery from Any Loss is Possible

In June of this year, we will have the honor of hosting our 100th Grief Recovery Retreat. As most of you know, these retreats are given as a gift. There is no charge for the rooms, food, and materials. Caring, generous people from around the world give to Spark of Life so that we can honor those who are grieving with these retreats.

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Last Sunday, we completed our 98th Grief Recovery Retreat at Burnt Fork Ranch in Montana. On Thursday, as we shared our stories of loss, many appeared to be on the brink of hopelessness. ‘Recovery’ seemed like an unreachable destination for many.

On Sunday, we received these notes (among many) from a couple of our participants who, on Thursday, had given-up written on their hearts.

I came to this retreat feeling hopeless after my dear father’s suicide. This retreat, I am pretty sure, saved my life. To those who donate to SPOL, all I can say is THANK YOU, for your donation that made this retreat possible. You [donors] have made a difference in my life and I thank you.

Another wrote:

I have been a guest at Spark of Life Retreat #98. It has been an incredible and moving experience that has changed my life for the better by the love, compassion, and knowledge I have received while here. I have been given tools to use to process my grief and understand myself and my journey in a new light.

Thanks to all of you who give to Spark of Life…your generosity has made a huge difference in my life.

Many who are in deep grief certainly, at times, can think recovery from their loss or losses is impossible. After all, the intensity of their pain cries out against any thoughts or hopes of recovery. And what does ‘recovery’ even mean?

To have hope that recovery from our particular loss(es) is possible, we must define recovery in a way that it is possible to ‘recover.’ Read that statement again, and perhaps again.

‘Recovery’ from loss does NOT mean that life is going to be the same again. Our goal at SPOL is to give hope, that though can never be the same again, life can be rich and fulfilling and meaningful again. So if I were to define ‘recovery’ as life returning to the way it used to be, then, no, I would never recover.

A healthy recovery is possible. It does NOT mean I will never cry again, or have sad days, or weeks, or even seasons. It does NOT mean that my recovery looks like someone else’s recovery. And it certainly does NOT mean that the hole in my heart is suddenly gone, or that I forget the one I have lost.

A healthy recovery DOES mean that life, with the pain associated with the loss, can be meaningful and rich again. Certainly, I do not always think that or feel hopeful. Feeling hopeless is part of grief. But in the midst of deep pain, I must give myself permission to have hope, that a healthy recovery is possible.

On Tuesday of this week, I received a phone call from a participant of Retreat # 98. He shared with me that his hopelessness had turned to hope. He was still in deep pain of course, but now he was hopeful and thus determined to live forward.    

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