During times of grief, can there be help at a spa?
This is one blog I have not looked forward to writing. It is September 10th – the first anniversary of the day one of my best friends, Debbie Simon, took her own life. It is still so unbelievable to me. It was a tremendous loss to her family, the many friends (there were over 1,000 at her funeral), and others whose lives she had touched.
What to say? Well, frankly I don’t know.
I could tell you what a wonderful person Debbie was –beautiful inside and out. I could tell you that she was a model for “living life to the full.” I could tell you how she relentlessly stayed at her son Scottie’s side during the months he was in a coma, what an amazing job she did raising her talented daughter Lauren and exceptional son David. I could tell you about the wonderful times we had together or I could share some of the incredible tragedies that led her into a deep depression, ultimately causing her to end her life in a horrific way.
Instead I have decided to share a positive that has stemmed from this heartbreak. About six months ago, her daughter, Lauren, phoned me. She said that while attending support group sessions for those whose lives have been inflicted by suicide, she felt there was a need for something more. Lauren wanted to gather with other fellow survivors in a supportive retreat setting. Was there a spa somewhere that dealt with this topic? And if not, could I recommend a place that might work with her to put together such a retreat that would honor her mother while at the same time help others?
I immediately thought of Miraval. Michael Tompkins, the GM at this award winning spa, was very responsive and together they created what will become the first annual Touched by an Angel, Sisterhood of Survivors Spa Retreat (open to both men and women).
The first retreat will take place Thursday, Feb 3 – Sunday, Feb 6, 2011. Judy Collins, a Grammy Award winning actress and author whose son committed suicide, will be one of the attendees and speakers. There will be grief experts. I will be there.
I cannot predict how I will feel during the retreat or what will come of it. I do know that getting together with others who have gone through similar experiences is a healthy thing to do. And I know that a destination spa setting is the most healing environment to facilitate such a gathering. So I trust it will be a positive in my life.
Today my heart aches. I really miss Debbie.
My twitter address: @susieellis