The Gatlinburg Grieving Parents Retreat was represented by 14 States. To view our presentation video that was shown during our meet and greet, click here.
TESTIMONIALS: Read what some of the parents had to say about the Smoky Mountain Retreat!
Marce Patterson - It is such and overwhelming and incredibly heart lifting experience .. each day we sit on Facebook and READ each other's thoughts and learn about each other's lives.. but, we are each sitting alone and it's like reading a book.. when you go to the retreat and you get that FIRST REAL HUG.. it makes all of this really REAL... you realize that all the love, support, caring and hugs that you've 'read' all this time, truly are REAL... and it's an amazing feeling of how mu...ch love comes together in that building.. also all of our angels come together there also and send us signs too!! It's just the most incredible thing I've ever felt or done in my life.. at first we were all a bit wary of spending a weekend with a bunch of strangers.. I mean who would be that crazy to do that.?? LOL . but, we are not strangers.. we are all connected at the heart as our angels have brought us together.. and when you get those REAL HUGS and hear those real voices laugh and cry... it reaffirms our lives as we live them.. most of us all came home a different person.. with love, light and hope in our hearts.. just knowing we truly are not alone at all when we sit here each day and type to each other.. there really are REAL people on the other end.. We are never alone and we walk our own journey, our own way but we all walk as one... it's an incredible experience and I am so blessed to be going again.. I am also very happy to see some old faces and meet some new ones.. if we can help just one more mom feel loved and give her hope for a new future, then the retreat is worth it all!!!!! These ladies are amazing... meeting them is even more amazing... I cannot wait to meet the other new retreat goers!! What a joyous day that will be!! Love, life, laughter, tears, hugs and hope!!!!
Kathy Sova - The Smoky Mountain Retreat was so fun and full of the most loving people I could ever meet and I felt right at ease from the minute Frank and Renee picked me up from the airport until the day I left!! Just an awesome, fun healing experience. And I expect the same for the next one... xoxoxo
Shirley Tripp Johnson - I loved the Smoky Mountain Retreat. It makes a heart feel warm meeting so many parents who share a common bond. Upon meeting, it's like we have known each other forever. Sharing and getting to know one another is special and friends are everlasting. I am looking forward to meeting all the new parents and seeing everyone again from the last one.
Sandy Reed - I want to yell out! If anyone didn't like it ....then they were not there with a heart of love and support ...........that is all that I seen and my Terry did too ........its was wonderful .......and I look forward of doing it again ......
Renee Hogan Blythe - I had a wonderful time at the Smoky Mountain Retreat. I met the most incredible people and really enjoyed every minute of it. We spent time talking, laughing, eating, having a few drinks, sharing about our children and getting real hugs. We also had free time to do whatever we wanted to go do. This is a way to make new friends when you have lost your old friends like I did. We have 17 people who came to the last retreat coming to this one, plus six or more others driving in for a couple of days. I hope the new people joining us will feel comfortable knowing we are all grieving parents healing together.
Roberta Keene - I had a lot of apprehension about going. I didn't know most of the women, I had been very sick for a long time prior to the retreat. I knew I lived close enough that I cd leave at any time I felt uncomfortable. Upon arriving at the retreat I felt like I was meeting old friends! I was very comfortable with everyone, it was so good to meet these people who before were voiceless pictures, I laughed, cried, found out others were really having the exact problems and feelings as I do and it's ok!! I left there with lifetime friends! The bonds that were formed will help me on my journey. I can't wait for Va Beach!!
Barbara Ann Stevens - I too had a wonderful time at the retreat..as we were driving there I was so nervous and apprehensive, not knowing what to expect..As soon as I got out of the car I got a huge hug from a very sweet lady named Tina. She is very dear to my heart...We walked in the door and I felt so much love! I met some awesome people there. I'm looking forward to seeing all my friends I made again and also looking forward to making new ones!
Melanie Marshall - Be ready to laugh, to cry, to dance or to quietly meditate. You can do whatever you want, whenever you want. We came from all walks of life but, shared the common bond of missing our precious children. I felt welcome. I felt loved. I felt the presence of our children. You will walk away with new friends who understand & accept you as you are. You'll shake some of those bad feelings that have slipped into your very being such as fear & guilt. It's like a dose of "spring tonic" !! Come laugh with us & play with us & cry with us - you'll leave with a new perspective on life as we know it now.
Donna Coster - The retreat in TN was wonderful! I am so looking forward to the next one and seeing old friends and meeting new ones. We all went through so many emotions, all helping us on this journey. It helps so much being with people that truly understand what we are going through. Be prepared to cry and also to laugh. You will be happy that you came.
Brenda Duncan - The Mansion Retreat will always be a memory I treasure!!! Each & everything I did was a delight! I felt comfortable meeting everyone I had communicated with in GMHT. We had a great time sitting overlooking the scenic deck just talking. The gift exchange was most exciting. I had great roommates. The fellowship was just wonderful! Honoring our children by the candle lighting ceremony couldn't have been any more beautiful !!!
Lynne Ellen Sevey-Patterson- The last retreat was the best thing that has happened to me sense Matthew died. I am finally moving forward. I have been so stuck in my grief. For the 1st time I realized I wasn't alone or being a drama queen or just plain crazy and if I was I was in great company I felt I could be ME I could cry scream and have fun quilt free and it has carried over in my life. I am Truly Blessed with all the amazing women and a couple men that I now call my sisters and brothers.
Here are just a few pictures that were taken at the Smoky Mountain Gatlinburg Retreat