Hope Edelman and Claire Bidwell Smith, two of the leading authors and experts in the field of mother loss, have brought their unique talents and expertise together to create the kind of retreats they feel would have helped them as they processed their own mother-loss experiences. Claire and Hope both live in Los Angeles and frequently collaborate on projects. They are thrilled to be offering these retreats to the wider community of women with similar stories. 

Claire Bidwell Smith is a therapist specializing in grief and the author of two books of nonfiction: The Rules of Inheritance and After This: When Life is Over Where Do We Go? both published by Penguin. The Rules of Inheritance, a coming of age memoir about grief, was a Books for a Better Life nominee, a Barnes and Noble Discover Pick, has been published in 17 countries, and is currently being adapted for film. After This chronicles Claire’s journey as a grief therapist searching for meaning as she explores various beliefs about the afterlife. Her newest book, Anxiety: The Missing Stage of Grief will be published in Fall 2018.

Claire has a bachelor’s degree from The New School University, and a master’s degree in clinical psychology from Antioch University. She teaches numerous workshops and leads retreats around the country, and has written for publications including The New York Times, The Huffington Post, Salon.com, Slate, Chicago Public Radio, The Guardian, Psychology Today, Yoga Journal, and BlackBook Magazine. Claire has two little girls and currently works in private practice in Los Angeles.

Hope Edelman is the author of seven nonfiction books, including the bestsellers Motherless Daughters, Motherless Mothers, and The Possibility of Everything. Her books have been published in 17 countries and 11 languages and have sold nearly a million copies. Motherless Daughters, often considered required reading for any woman who has lost a mother, is now in its third edition and recently celebrated its 20th anniversary in print.

An expert in the field of early mother loss and mother-daughter relationships, Hope speaks at venues and conferences all over the world and has appeared frequently on television, includingToday, Good Morning America, CNN, KTLA, CBC, and Good Morning Australia. Trained as a life coach by Martha Beck International, she also does one-on-one work through her coaching company, Lose Live Grow, to help individuals explore loss as a means for personal growth. 

Hope lives in Los Angeles with her husband, two daughters, and two crazy cats. 

Co-Leading the September 2018 Retreat


Sarah Saffian is a writer, a psychotherapist, and a teacher. Ithaka, her memoir of being an adoptee who was found by her birth family, is two decades in print, and explores various forms of mother loss. As a therapist, Sarah counsels individuals and runs support groups in private practice in New York City, where grief work is one of her specialties. Blending her two main areas of interest and expertise, Sarah has created a technique called Therapeutic Writing, using memoir prompts as a tool for encouraging reflection, processing, and discovery. Sarah teaches memoir at The Iowa Summer Writing Festival and Sarah Lawrence College, and has appeared extensively on television, radio, and live around the country, speaking about Ithaka (including on a panel with Hope at the L.A. Times Festival of Books), adoption issues, therapeutic issues, and the craft and business of writing. She earned her BA in English from Brown, her MFA in creative writing from Columbia, and her MSW from New York University. A native New Yorker, Sarah lives in Brooklyn with her husband and their wheaten terrier. 

Connect with Sarah