Grief Love Loss – Retreat
August 4 – 10, 2024
Welcome to So’Ham –
‘Grief, Love, Loss’ Retreat
August 4-10th, 2024
The storm of grief and loss takes a toll on the body, mind, and heart. Our hearts are broken and open at the same time. Often seeking connection with others with similar experiences gives us a bit of relief in our pain, some hope and guidance.
This retreat is specifically for parents that have lost a child to substance use.
Supported by a daily schedule designed to nurture your heart and connect with others who “Get It!”
Grief can get stuck in our bodies in many different ways. The retreat uses tools such as sharing, gentle yoga, guided meditation, relaxation, creating meals together, healing music, nature walks, creative writing and art workshops to help make space for our grief to move and integrate.
Our retreat is nestled in the peaceful and beautiful countryside, in the heart of Bergslagen, Sweden. A quiet respite from the noise of the world, surrounded by pristine swimming lakes, nature walks and fresh clean air!
Whether it’s yoga, going for a walk, connecting in nature, music or art…through creativity and connection our feelings can find their way to the surface and out into the world, creating a bit more space around our grief and heart for new possibilities to grow.
Our hope and wish is for this retreat to be a healing respite and space for your journey with grief.
We welcome you this summer for a week together in the peaceful Swedish country side.
Ps. In honor of our son, Lance Paxton, we are offering a full scholar ship for the retreat to one parent.
“I’m not sure how or when I began my apprenticeship with sorrow. I do know that it was my gateway back into the breathing and animate world. It was through the dark waters of grief that I came to touch my unlived life. . . . There is some strange intimacy between grief and aliveness, some sacred exchange between what seems unbearable and what is most exquisitely alive. Through this, I have come to have a lasting faith in grief.”
― Francis Weller, The Wild Edge of Sorrow: Rituals of Renewal and the Sacred Work of Grief
Arrival: Sunday, August 4th, 2024
Welcome Program: 7:30 pm
Departure: Saturday, August 10th after lunch
Prema offer’s her work with Grief, Love, Loss in honor of her beloved son Lance, and the many other children’s lives lost to the fentanyl/opioid epidemic.
She is very grateful to experience and share yoga and meditation as a healing modality for grief. Humbled and in awe of the human heart’s potential to hold it All…how the Unbearable and the Immeasurable love can coexist.
She is our lead Yoga & Meditation instructor. She is a Yoga Alliance approved teacher & Yoga teacher trainer. She has been Practicing and Teaching yoga and meditation for over 30 years. She has been certified in, and practicing, many body movement and healing modalaties through the past 35 years. She is steeped in deep wisdom of the body and movement.
Prema studied with Joanne Cacciatore and received her Compassionate Bereavement Care Certification® by the Center for Loss and Trauma in partnership with the MISS Foundation and the Elisabeth Kubler-Ross Family Trust.
Prema offers her love as a Grief Group Leader and a Yoga Teacher for Grief, for a nonprofit organization.
Prema’s experience and belief is that holding space for grief requires deep compassionate and heart-centered attention. She practices and teaches yoga & meditation with the intention to hold all of our broken pieces with loving kindness. To open to the possibility of wisdom, peace and inner guidance in the midst of the pain of loss.
Prema keeps her classes basic and simple for students to be safe, to experience connection to their heart and body, and to calm the mind, not a workout class!
In 2022 she suffered the sudden death of her 20 year old son, to accidental fentanyl poisoning. The tragedy shattered her heart, shocked her body and nervous system, leaving her numb, frozen and heart broken.
Her long time meditation and yoga path of 35 years, caught her shattered pieces and held her with the compassionate loving kindness of a dear old friend.
Through a loving kindness practice she has been able to experience some space around the deep pain of loss and grief, making space for the love of her son to grow stronger and brighter in her heart. She calls this process “making space for grace”.
Gaining strength to pick up and hold her grief and broken bits as she moves forward, honoring life, for her son Lance, her other children and many others.
Choosing to live each day with gratitude, she is deeply grateful to her long time meditation teacher and mentor for her loving guidance and wisdom on her life long journey through the heart. Grateful for the support of her husband, four adult children and two bonus siblings, plus the support from the LITT Community.
Without them this retreat would not be possible.
Kristin’s career has been in the design field, where she has worked as a graphic designer, art director, creative director, global brand manager, and educator for over thirty years.
But in2020, a devasting and life-altering event occurred: she lost her twenty-year-old son, James, to accidental fentanyl poisoning. Her grief seemed unnavigable.
If you found Kristin in a bookstore, then you would find her mindlessly mulling, grasping at titles to see if there was anything on the dust jackets that could entice her to sit down for a few hours to concentrate, to find relief, to find grief compatriots, to comprehend what was happening.
She searched for whispers, smaller sensitive voices telling her that the absence ofsomeone in space and time was something sacred. And she found those voices with thewriters and poets. Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Louise Gluck said that poetry (and all art) was her revenge against the circumstances of life. She took this as agency for her life onward.
Kristin turned to writing through journaling and epistolary writing, followed by essays, and then getting an MFA in creative writing from the Bennington Writing Seminars in June 2023.
Her critical thesis explored the feral nature of grief and used three books for her analysis. Her creative thesis was a collection of essays titled “The Ghost of Oxytocin,” which explored where love goes when the physical body is no longer here.
Kristin’s influences are wide, from Julian Cameron to Herman Melville, essayists James Baldwin and Joan Didion, novelists Yi Yun Lee and Max Porter, and poets Denise Riley and Naja Marie Aidt. These writers and many others have taught her that while grief is highly personal, we are not alone. Grief and sorrow are universal; while a painful part of life, they also deliver
The writer Cheryl Strayed, who lost her mother at a young age, wrote about
her anger in grief: “That rage has turned into something else that I struggle to describe. Perhaps it is this: a sturdy sense that my ability to endure her absence has been one of the most powerful gifts of my life.”
Kristin splits her time between Baltimore, Maryland, and Friesland, Netherlands, with stops in between to make sure she collects as many sunrises and sunsets as possible. When not writing, she takes photographs of things that bewitch her.
She is a trustee and a volunteer at two nonprofits in Baltimore, The Creative Alliance, and Love in the Trenches (LITT). At LITT, she leads a grief support group, where she met Prema. She is also a certified grief educator with
David Kessler and offers peer-to-peer grief counseling.
She is looking forward to leading the Writing through Grief portion of the retreat with an open heart, sharing wisdom from writers, journaling, providing writing prompts and meditations, and opening the pathways for us to pen our grief with prose or poetry.
Grace Gonzalez is a seasoned Kirtan singer, renowned for her performances with the band Mantra Grooves. With over 15 years of experience, Grace has been the heart and soul
of Kirtan in South Florida, blending her soulful melodies with Latin, World, Folk, and New Age influences.
Beyond her musical talents, Grace is a dedicated teacher of voiceactivation, guiding individuals on a profound journey to connect
with their inner selves through the power of their voices. Her wisdom and experience in this field have empowered countless souls to discover the healing and spiritual potential of sound and
Grace’s journey began with academic pursuits, earning degreesin psychology and music from the State University of New York at
Stony Brook. Her early career saw her performing in orchestras and bands both in New York and on international stages. Yet, her heart yearned for music with a deeper spiritual connection,leading her to Kirtan after becoming a certified yoga instructor.
In Miami, Grace embarked on her Kirtan journey, gifted with a harmonium and an intuitive connection to the music. She formed
the band Mantra Grooves, which graced festivals and yoga events, sharing their uplifting vibrations with the world. Grace devotion to her craft led her to study under the legendary Krishna Das for over a decade, honing her artistry.
Amid life’s challenges, Grace’s path took a profound turn when her husband faced cancer. She delved even deeper into sound healing, using the power of mantra music as a healing tool. The
vibrations of love and grace from her music enveloped him, offering solace as he transitioned to the next realm.
Grace’s work extends beyond the stage and into the hearts of her students. Through her voice activation workshops, she helps
participants transform from fear to freedom, allowing their voices to be a vessel for self-expression and healing.