I began working in the world of grief in 2007, officially becoming a bereavement counselor for a hospice in Chicago a few months after I graduated from my masters program. I did so almost with curiosity, which is strange to look back on now that this path I’ve been on seems so strong and so clear. From where I stand now it seems as though this is always what I was headed for — helping others through their grief process, but I still remember the day I decided to look up hospices in Chicago. I could do that, I remember thinking.
I worked for hospice for four years and it was an incredible experience. Everything about it led me to writing The Rules of Inheritance, and to where I am now — working in private practice as a grief therapist and writing a second book about the afterlife.
I have an incredible reverence for death, for grief and all the love that it stems from. I have never felt anything but extreme privilege to be able to walk with others along their path as they go through their own experiences in this realm. I think that, in one way or another, this will always be the work I do.
That’s why I’m incredibly excited to announce that in January of next year I’ll be hosting my first-ever weekend grief retreat. This is an idea I conceived of years ago when I was running bereavement groups in Chicago. I kept thinking how transformative it would be to create an entire weekend around working through grief. I envisioned incorporating group therapy, yoga, meditation, writing and narrative into one comprehensive experience that would allow people to really enter into, and begin to heal from their grief.
This year I met another therapist, Thea Harvey, who loved this idea and helped me bring it to fruition. And so January 24-26 of 2014 we’ll be hosting our first retreat in Ojai, California. You can read all about it and how to sign up here.
The weekend of the retreat is of very special significance to me. January 24, 2014 will mark 18 years since my mother died, which means that she will have been gone exactly half of my life. Every day after January 24, 2014 will mean that I will have been alive longer without her than with her. I have been dreading this date for as long as I can remember, but now knowing that I will be engaged in this experience I have long dreamed about creating makes me look forward to it.
I hope that some of you can join us. Please read more about how to sign up here.