This is a weekend for bereaved couples and singles to spend some relaxed, unhurried time with other parents who understand the experience of losing a child. As we go through the weekend, we will learn from each other, pray for one another, encourage each other, and find out that we are not alone on this journey. Our goal at these retreats is to point grieving parents to our only true source of comfort, Jesus Christ. Anyone who has lost a child is welcome to come. You are welcome if your child has been in Heaven for thirty days or for thirty years. You are welcome if your child was stillborn and never took a single earthly breath, or if your child lived to be an adult and had a family of his or her own. Come, knowing you will be surrounded by people who care, who understand, and who will pray for you. This will be a safe place, a place where we can honestly discuss our struggles, knowing we will not be judged, because every one of us has been there at one time or another. We will also share our victories, and rejoice with each other as we move along the road toward healing. What will we do over the course of the weekend? We’ll talk about our kids in Heaven and we’ll pray for each other. We’ll explore the beauty of nature around us, enjoy delicious meals together, discuss God’s presence in our grief, and form lasting bonds of friendship. Our time will be informal, but structured. Certainly, we will cry together … but we will also laugh together. There is no cost to attend one of these special events.
Come, knowing you will be surrounded by people who care, who understand, and who will pray for you. This will be a safe place, a place where we can honestly discuss our struggles, knowing we will not be judged, because every one of us has been there at one time or another. We will also share our victories, and rejoice with each other as we move along the road toward healing.
Our Illinois retreats are held at Sprague’s Kinderhook Lodge in Barry, and are specifically for parents who have experienced the loss of a child to suicide. Kinderhook Lodge is a bed and breakfast, hunting lodge, special events and retreat center located in picturesque Pike County. The lodge is located on the Pikes Peak Ocean-to-Ocean Highway and is rich in history. The guest rooms are beautifully decorated and comfortable, and the meals are perfectly prepared by the resident chef. This event is open to both single parents and married couples. Lodging for Friday and Saturday nights at Kinderhook and all meals are provided and there is no cost to attend this event.
Curt and Stacy’s 16-year-old son, Caleb, went to be with his Savior on 04/07/2018 after being on life-support for 52 days due to complications from the flu. His brothers, Colin and Carter, have surpassed him in age and are serving the Lord in various opportunities, just like Caleb did. Curt has been the manager of a CNC parts distributor for 10 years and Stacy has been a paralegal in the corporate environment for over 20 years. They have felt the immense grace and comfort that only our Heavenly Father can give and are honored to be able to help others walk this journey with endurance as they wait to cross the finish line that their son was worthy of crossing much sooner than them.
Bob and Susan Wathen's 18-year-old daughter Hannah died by suicide in May of 2015. The Wathens are blessed with two other daughters and four grandchildren. They have been involved in various ministries throughout the years, including several mission trips to Guatemala, college student ministry, and leading a While We're Waiting Support Group in their hometown of Hannibal, Missouri. They are anchored in hope and grieving with faith and have a passion to minister to other hurting moms and dads.
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.
Only parents (and stepparents) who have experienced the death of a child are able to attend While We're Waiting events.
Yes, single parents are welcome at all While We're Waiting events.
Yes, you are welcome to attend without your spouse.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.