The While We’re Waiting Weekends for Parents Touched by Suicide are a recent addition to the retreats we offer. We recognize that the loss of a child to suicide is unique and that there is great value in hosting retreats that specifically address this situation.
This will be a very special opportunity to spend some unhurried, relaxed time with other parents who have experienced the loss of a child to suicide. We have found that there is no greater comfort than the fellowship of other Christian parents who truly understand the struggles that naturally accompany this type of loss. Our retreats offer that opportunity, and also provide a safe place to work through some of the questions and struggles we experience as grieving moms and dads who have lost children to suicide … all the while focusing on the hope we have of seeing our children again one day. There is so much encouragement to be found in spending time with other parents who truly understand our grief, but who also share the hope we have in Jesus.
These retreats take place at the While We’re Waiting Refuge for Bereaved Parents in Hot Springs, Arkansas — a retreat center specifically designed to meet the needs of bereaved parents. We have a comfortable meeting area, a nice dining room, and ten cozy and private guest rooms, each with its own bath. These events begin with dinner at 5:30 on Friday evening and wrap up around 10:30 on Sunday morning. Lodging and all meals are provided, and there is no cost for this event.
These retreats are facilitated by Bob & Susan Wathen and Stephen & Linda Quinn. Here are their stories …
Bob and Susan Wathen are Hannah’s parents.
They also have two older daughters and four grandchildren. Their family has been involved in various ministries throughout the years, including several mission trips to Guatemala, college student ministry, and pastoring a local country church. Hannah’s senior year of high school in the town of Hannibal, Missouri, where she had grown up was filled with normal senior year activities, including choosing the college where she planned to pursue a Pre-Med program to begin her chosen path to be a doctor to “help as many people as possible.” She was about to graduate third in her class. She was part of a group of seniors at the High School football field who were caught drinking one night during Senior Week. One of the police officers at the field decided to use the tough cop scare tactic of telling the students that they were going to lose their scholarships and had thrown their futures away for one night of drinking. The Wathens did not know about this until a couple of weeks after Hannah’s death, as Hannah didn’t mention it. Instead, those words rang through her mind after Bob and Susan left for work the next morning, leading Hannah to make an impulse decision to end her life two days before graduation in May of 2015. The Lord showed Himself to them as they began the journey that follows the loss of a child and has used this journey to grow their faith in Him. They attended a While We’re Waiting retreat in 2016 and then served as alumni for a retreat in 2018. They help minister to other bereaved parents in the Hannibal, Missouri, area.
Stephen and Linda Quinn are Samantha’s parents.
They also have two other children and four grandchildren. Born in Toronto, Canada, they moved to Texas in 1995 to pursue career objectives and became US citizens in 2007. During this time, while their two eldest children were away at college, their youngest daughter Samantha was diagnosed with a serious mental disorder called “Borderline Personality Disorder”. For the next several years, Samantha and the Quinn family fought desperately to keep Samantha’s emotions regulated and her life from spinning out of control … a 24/7 constant battle. In 2011, at the age of 20, Samantha decided that she had had enough and ended her life. Linda and Stephen found that the meager faith that had been a part of their history up until Samantha’s diagnosis was not nearly enough to help them deal with this devastating “punch to the soul”. God led them to a much deeper faith, ultimately peace, and finally Joy. The While We’re Waiting ministry was part of their healing process, attending a parents retreat in 2014. Today they attend WWW support groups in the Dallas area. They retired from business in 2016 and spend their time in ministry, helping other bereaved parents and and enjoying their grandchildren.
The Wathens and the Quinns are well-acquainted with grief and have a sincere desire to help other hurting parents, particularly those who have lost children to suicide. They are not professional counselors, just parents walking the same type of journey you are. Please do not consider attendance at a While We’re Waiting event as a substitute for professional counseling if you feel you are in need of that.
Please note that our 2021 While We’re Waiting Weekends for Parents Touched by Suicide are full and we are no longer accepting registrations. However, you may click the link below to request to be notified when future events of this type are scheduled.