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Oceans run deep in the Los Altos Mountains.

I arrived at the retreat full of anxiety. Not knowing what to expect from this Sacred Sorrows Retreat. I had not heard of, nor attended a retreat for mothers who have lost a child. This was a four-day, three night stay away from my comfy spot. Out of my comfort zone, so I thought….

The minute I arrived and stepped out of the car, there stood Rita to greet me. Such a big smile she had! I was wondering why she was smiling so big. I was a nervous wreck! Not knowing what lay ahead for me.

I was aware that we were going to be busy. Going to go on walks, on hikes, be in nature, have companionship with other mothers who lost a child.

So many unanswered questions I had brought along with me. The foremost question I had brought with me was, “How does a mother heal after losing a child?” I sure didn’t know! My son, Sean, has been gone 8 years now and I’m still grieving so heavily! How can I keep going on and living when Sean isn't here to live on earth with me anymore?

Secondly, I was mad. Angry at God. And God knew it! I had told Him plenty of times! (Trust me on that one.) I battled with God. Even though my faith was still in God, the Holy Trinity. But I was hurting big-time inside! Devastated!

Grief, anger, hurt, still keeping the faith, but so bewildered as how to move on with a positive purpose in life?

This is where the mystery comes in. The magical mystery of Christ, our Father in Heaven. And Sacred Sorrows, the journey. My own journey which I have to travel on, in it, and through it. It was to be mine and Sean’s journey, with the Lord leading the way.

Through Rita and her organization, Sacred Sorrows, there came healing! Unbelievable! There was work to be done. God’s words were coming through to me though. I could actually feel and hear God speak to me. And I was finally able to listen. Breakthroughs in my walk with Christ and these heavy burdens of grief were happening. Can’t explain it all! A lot digging deep inside! Getting as close to God as possible! All these “new” feelings were happening inside of me. Getting into the Word. Going to chapel, speaking to Father John, water coloring!

My miracle happened. It happened during our Sunrise Service. The last day for this beautiful retreat. Sunday morning we woke up early to have a Sunrise Service on top of the Los Altos mountains. Where one can see such beauty! The mountains envelop you. Surrounds you everywhere. Nature abounds. Quiet and serene. It’s a holy place. Birds, flowers, trees, God’s peace is there!

My anger was lifted off my shoulders! It happened! Couldn’t believe it! I know the exact moment it happened. Sitting down, by myself, on the ground where I had chosen to sit. Listening to nature, no one talking, just peace and prayer and then… The winds were gentle that morning. A cool breeze in the air. The wispy grass blew in the wind and there it happened!

My anger, resentment, deep sadness, that I had held onto for so long… gone. No joke. I actually lifted my head to look around to see if anyone else saw or felt what I had! Haha! I really did though! I noticed every one of my eleven sisters, whom I had come to know and love in these last few days, were still quietly praying and still in their own thoughts. They didn’t know!

Never before in my life, and I am 64 years old, have I ever felt this way! Never EVER!

A true miracle had happened to me! God’s blessings came over me so powerfully. It swept my emotions to a whole “new” place! Transformed me into a new being! Exhilarating is the best word that comes to my mind.

I felt like a leash had been released from around my body. Felt freeing! As if I had let go of the heaviest balloon I had carried and now it was floating away towards the clouds… just floating away…

God, Sacred Sorrows, this place, and this true experience, has brought me into a new being! A new beginning! Most of all, a renewed purpose in my life.

Diane Galloway attended a Sacred Sorrows retreat recently at the Jesuit Retreat Center.

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