Two chairs on a dock overlooking a pond

Faith-Based Retreats for Bereaved Parents Finding hope and life after the loss of a child can be incredibly challenging.

The loss of a child, no matter that child’s age, is profoundly life-altering.  It’s as if the foundations of everything we once held dear have been shaken and cracked.

The While We’re Waiting ministry offers free Biblically based retreats, where bereaved parents form bonds and make connections with other moms and dads who truly understand the experience of child loss.  

The loss of a child is very isolating – Making us feel alone in a world that no longer understands us.

Relationships with others can become strained because we are no longer the same people we were before. Pop-culture theology and well-intended platitudes from family and friends often hurt more than they help. Others move on while we are still seeking just to regain our footing.

As bereaved parents, we have some choices to make.

As parents who have lost children, we are faced with the reality that we may have many years ahead of us on this earth before we see our children in Heaven.  As we face this journey, there are some questions we need to work through.  Our While We’re Waiting retreats are designed to help bereaved parents answer these questions in a way that would honor our children and glorify God.

  • How can we trust God again when our hearts have been broken?
  • How can we move forward in life, bringing our grief along with us?
  • How can we honor both our children and our Lord with our lives?
  • How can we live well while we’re waiting to see our children again one day?

Our retreats are designed to help bereaved parents answer these questions.

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  • Learn from dedicated facilitators who have lost children of their own.
  • Make connections with other parents who understand the experience of child loss and are clinging to their faith in God.
  • Share our struggles and our victories in a safe, welcoming, and authentic environment.
  • Discuss how we can live life well while honoring our grief, our children, and our Lord.

Our Retreats

Our While We’re Waiting events are casual gatherings where we share the stories of our children and discuss issues faced by grieving parents.  We offer four unique types of retreats, which are open to both married couples and singles.  There is no cost to attend any of our events.

Hear from Parents who have Attended

Colby's Mom and Dad

“We were very nervous about attending the While We’re Waiting Weekend retreat … opening up our deepest hurt in front of strangers. It was an absolute blessing to attend! The support of everyone, the laughter as well as tears, all blessed us and took all our nervousness away. We are so grateful for you and your ministry.”

Joel's Dad

The dad’s weekend retreat was an awesome time for me. I was strengthened as a man to know other men hurt like I do. It is “manly” to be honest with my ‘not so good days.’ I am part of a special brotherhood that very few men will ever know anything about. For these things and for God’s amazing love shown through WWW I am humbled and eternally grateful!

Frequently Asked Questions

How much do retreats cost?

Our retreats are 100% free, though we do accept a voluntary donation at the close of the retreat. 

While We're Waiting is a 501(c)3 non-profit that operates entirely off of generous donations

Who can come to a retreat?

Only parents (and stepparents) who have experienced the death of a child are able to attend While We're Waiting events.

Can single parents come to a retreat?

Yes, single parents are welcome at all While We're Waiting events.

My spouse does not want to attend. Can I still come?

Yes, you are welcome to attend without your spouse.

It's just been a few months since my child died. Should I come to a retreat?

Parents are ready at different times to attend a While We're Waiting event. Some feel ready to come within just a few months, and for others, it may be years before they feel ready to come.  Only you will know the time that's right for you.

It's been many years since my child died ... Should I come to a retreat? 

Yes! There is still a benefit to attending a While We're Waiting event, even if your loss was many years ago, and it's possible that you could encourage others whose loss is more recent.

My child died when he or she was an adult ... Should I come to a retreat?

Yes! We have many parents who have lost adult children attend our events.  The co-founders of this ministry, Larry & Janice Brown, lost their son when he was 36 years old.

My child was stillborn or died as an infant ... Should I come to a retreat?

Yes! We have many parents who have lost babies attend our events.  We believe that every life has immense value, no matter how brief, and we understand that your grief is just as valid as those whose children had a longer earthly life.

How many people typically attend a retreat? 

The maximum number of people at our full-weekend retreats is 24, at our Mini-Retreats for Moms is 10, and at our Dads' Days is 10.  We like to keep our groups small so people can really connect and build relationships that last beyond the retreat.

Can I attend more than one retreat?

You can attend more than one type of retreat; for example, you can attend a Mini-Retreat for Moms and a full weekend retreat.  Or you can attend a "regular" While We're Waiting Weekend for Bereaved Parents and a While We're Waiting Weekend for Parents Touched by Suicide.  However, you cannot attend two of the same type of retreat due to the waiting list issues we have ... We want everyone who wants to come to have that opportunity!

What if the retreat I want to attend is full?

Please go ahead and register for the waiting list.  We quite often get cancellations, and there's a good chance you'll get in.  And if we don't get an opening for you, we will have your name in our system and can hopefully get you into the next one!

I don't believe in God ... or I'm struggling with my faith. Can I still come?

Absolutely! Just be aware that we are a biblically-based ministry and we believe that a relationship with Jesus Christ is the only source of true comfort in grief, so that will be a large part of our conversation throughout the weekend.  We simply ask that you respect the faith of the facilitators and other parents in attendance.