motherless daughters retreats


Co-Led BY HOPE EDELMAN, author of Motherless Daughters, & Other mother loss experts

Founded by Hope Edelman & CLAIRE BIDWELL SMITH, LCPC, author and grief therapist

  • Did the death of your mother divide your life into a "before" and "after"?

  • Do you ever feel "stuck" at the age you were when your mother died? 

  • Do you often feel adrift without a mother's guidance and care?

  • Do you sometimes feel more connected to a mother who died than to the mother who lived?

  • Have you ever longed to sit in a circle of women who "get it"?

If your answer to any of these questions is "Yes", Motherless Daughters Retreats may be for you.

At Hope’s retreat, I was able to find what I had been missing all along since my mother’s death- a sisterhood of women who understand, a sense of not being alone, a safe place to feel my grief. That sense of community was more effective and comforting than any therapy I’ve had!
— Guylaine (Montreal, Canada)
Hope’s retreats have led me back to my Mom in more ways than one. They have given me a profound connection and sense of belonging that I never thought was possible. When I was little, my Mom told me that I can accomplish anything if I put my mind to it and work hard. I believe this again today because I have found my tribe.
— Shenan (Columbus, Ohio)

latest news!

A group that arrives as strangers and leaves as sisters. Join us: Oct. 12th.


at The Holiday Inn Rosslyn @ Key Bridge. Registration closes Oct. 10.

free call about 20-somethings mother loss

On July 27th, Hope Edelman, author of Motherless Daughters, and Allison Gilbert, author of Passed and Present, offered a free conference call to more than 700 women. They discussed the ins and outs of mother loss in your 20s, including living with grief during life events common for 20-somethings (graduations, weddings, having a child, etc.) and beyond, and shared supportive information and healing strategies, and answered pre-submitted questions from listeners. Click below to receive the link to listen to the call.

Hope’s book [Motherless Daughters] and the retreats changed my life. Having the chance to spend the weekend with other women who truly understand what it means to grow up without your mom was more powerful than I could have imagined. I made lasting connections and now have a community of women to turn to when I need them. I no longer feel alone and like I need to keep my loss to myself. With the help on Hope and the retreats I have brought my mother back into the light and now find ways to celebrate her life and legacy.
— Lisa (Sunnyvale, CA)


The readers of Motherless Daughters have made this book a treasured resource and gift for women for 25 years. Thank you for sharing your journeys, and for passing this book to the hands of other sisters. And to those women coming to the retreat: Please feel free to bring your copy to the retreat for Hope to sign!

Upcoming Retreats

Each retreat is customized to meet the needs of the women who attend that specific weekend — based on age at time of loss, cause of loss, and the challenges and milestones you’re facing today

Choose the age-appropriate retreat for you, and meet a group of women who understand what you missed by losing a mom at that age. Based on information you provide pre-retreat, Hope and her co-facilitator will choose activities and discussion topics to help you develop helpful, long-term coping skills and to strengthen your continuing relationship with your mother.

A workshop led by Hope for up to 40 people, from 10 am to 4 pm, in various locations. Content is specific for either Early Loss or Adult Loss, depending on the workshop.

The flagship retreat: a 3-night / 4-day retreat led by Hope and a co-facilitator, all meals and accommodations included. Content is specific for either Early Loss, 20-something Loss, or Adult Loss, depending on the retreat.

A 3-night/4-day retreat for alumni of the flagship Motherless Daughters’ Retreat. All meals and accommodations included. Content focused on making plans and setting goals so that we can be of service to ourselves and others, moving forward.


Praise for Motherless Daughters Retreats

“I’m so glad I took the leap and registered for the retreat. Stepping into the Villa on the first evening, I instantly felt welcomed and part of the group. I was in the right place at the right time. I am thankful to Hope, Claire, and the 21 other women for their warmth, openness, support, and deep empathy.”
— Emily, Seattle
“It’s been almost twenty five years since my mom passed away, yet I feel her presence with me and within me more strongly now than ever. I am so grateful for the gift of this retreat and new insight.”
— Jeri, Los Angeles
“I didn’t really understand the impact this weekend would have on me until we were about a day and a half into it. I was nervous and unsure before walking through the front door even though I wanted to be on this retreat. I can’t really explain it, but for me, it was a magical experience. I guess a more grown up word would be transformative.”
— Brittany, Boston
“My experience at the retreat was truly transformative. Hope and Claire put together a weekend of deep reflection and kindness that enabled me to think through many of the feelings I’ve had for years. The opportunity to talk about mother loss with a group of women that really understand was amazing and the support that I continue to feel many weeks after the retreat is wonderful. I just wish I had done this sooner!”
— Sarah, San Francisco
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Find the

Motherless Daughters Retreat

that's right for you



Frequently Asked Questions

A Motherless Daughter Retreat is a powerful and often life-changing event. We've compiled this detailed FAQ to answer common questions participants have before and after registration. If your question is not covered here, please contact us at