Living with Grief: Surviving the Suicide of a Loved one

Regardless of our child’s, sibling’s or loved one’s age, their death by suicide breaks our heart and changes us forever. We’re left behind with unanswered questions and a host of difficult emotions.

About the Program

Facilitated by Bernadette Arena and Allison Boyle, these residential programs provide that opportunity in a safe and nurturing space at the Quest for Life Centre in Bundanoon.

At times, grief can feel unbearable and all-consuming. We’re left with shattered hopes and expectations and, for some, a tumult of conflicted and painful emotions. This program addresses your heartache and provides a shared understanding of the often-lonesome journey through the complexities of grief.

Grief around suicide is often complicated as it frequently comes with overwhelming guilt, shame, anger, blame or feelings of failure or regret. We don’t grieve for a time, and then we’re ‘over’ it. We grieve for a lifetime but, with understanding, self-compassion and support, we can learn to live a meaningful life. Grief is intensely personal and idiosyncratic. When we draw together with other people who truly understand, we can drop the mask of coping and find common ground in our grieving.

Suicide may be planned, but often it’s a spontaneous decision due to overwhelming feelings of hopelessness, loneliness, emotional or physical pain and/or distress or, their decision stems from a mental illness. Occasionally there are no discernible signs. Their suicide is a catastrophic decision, never to be understood.

While mental illness may play a role in suicide, not everyone who dies by suicide is mentally ill. Some families have experienced years of treatments and hospitalisations. They’ve lived with the daily nightmare of feeling their much-loved child, sibling or friend slipping through their fingers. While for others their death by suicide comes as a total shock.

We can gain strength, comfort and create a healing pathway to a future worth living when we join with others who truly understand the devastating consequences of a death by suicide.

Program Dates

Register interest

Program Fees

If you are being funded by the NDIS click here for Pricing and how to register.

$1,500 per person for single room
$1,300 per person twin share (couple or family member)
* Subsidies are available

Fees effective 1 July 2023


Quest for Life Centre, 13-33 Ellsmore Road
Bundanoon NSW 2578 – Google Maps


  • Managing powerful emotions including anger, despair, regret, shame and guilt
  • Learning to ride the waves of grief and deal with ‘triggers’
  • Healing from ‘woulda’, ‘shoulda’, ‘coulda’, ‘self-blame’, ‘if only’…
  • Dealing with secondary losses due to stigma, family estrangements, lack of compassion, insensitivities and strained communications
  • Why meditation, mindfulness and exercise assist us to find peace
  • Healing from guilt, self-blame or self-loathing
  • Self-care as a foundation for forgiveness, grief and for life

Your attendance will provide support, camaraderie and a sense of shared understanding and purpose. Sometimes we don’t know what we think until we hear what we say. Compassion and attentive listening lie at the heart of Living with Grief.

Sharing our experiences enables us to understand ourselves and others and find the strength and inspiration to grow in wisdom and find peace and healing.

Subsidies are available to enable people on limited incomes to attend.

Expected outcomes

  • Understanding the complexities of grief
  • Feeling less isolated and more empowered to navigate sorrow and loss
  • With practical tools for self-care and self-nurturing
  • Knowing how to meditate, live mindfully and switch off the stories in your mind
  • Understanding yourself more deeply
  • Inspired to heal a broken heart and with an enlivened spirit

Set within 9 acres of manicured gardens in Bundanoon in the Southern Highlands, NSW. From the moment you enter the drive, you will begin to feel renewed, refreshed and inspired.

Program inclusions

  • Friday Arrival 2-3pm. Dinner, accommodation, welcome session and workbook.
  • Saturday breakfast, morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea, dinner, accommodation and all sessions
  • Sunday Departure after lunch. Breakfast, morning tea, lunch, and all sessions.

You will be nurtured, nourished and restored with the confidence to embrace your life again.

Arrival and Departure

  • Friday Arrival 2-3pm. Dinner, accommodation, welcome session and workbook.
  • Saturday breakfast, morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea, dinner, accommodation and all sessions
  • Sunday Departure after lunch. Breakfast, morning tea, lunch, and all sessions.
  • Plenty of onsite parking is available
  • You can be picked up and dropped at the Bundanoon train station (City Link and Country Link trains stop at Bundanoon)
  • Best trains to catch (book well in advance)
    – From Sydney Central Station Depart 12.01pm
    – From Canberra Kingston Depart 11.55am


Discuss any accessibility or mobility requirements with the Program Adviser when you book in. Quest has a wheelchair accessible room/ensuite.

Delicious meals and snacks

  • We serve delicious freshly prepared meals using the principles of SLOW – Seasonal, Locally-sourced, Organic, Wholefood as far as possible. The Quest veggie garden supplies seasonal produce.
  • Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Nut Free, Sugar Free, Vegan are no problem! Our chef can work with allergies and intolerances as listed with prior notice – all special dietary requirements can be discussed with the Program Advisor at the time of booking.
  • Breakfast is served from (8.30-9.30am), Lunch (1-2pm), Dinner (6-7pm)
  • Freshly pressed juices are served for morning and afternoon tea along with delicious snacks.
  • Teas, coffee, filtered water and fresh fruit are available at any time.
  • Please note that the Quest for Life Centre maintains an environment that is alcohol and non-prescription drug free. A participant will need to leave the program if found to be drug or alcohol affected.

Enquire or book into this program

You can call between 9.30am-4.30pm Monday to Friday on 1300 941 488 to speak to a Program Advisor or complete the form below and we will be in contact.

What previous attendees have said:

Funding Options for Residential Programs


Quest subsidises all privately or self-funded places to ensure the cost of our programs remains affordable to individuals. This allows us to reduce the fee from $4,400 to $2,800.

$2,200 Shared room (Early bird* $2,100 – must be paid 30 days in advance)
$2,800 Single room (Early bird* $2,700 – must be paid 30 days in advance)

Fees effective 1 July 2023.

Subsidies and Financial Help

Through generous grants, donations and fundraising, additional subsidies and financial help is available for a range of circumstances and anyone experiencing financial stress will be considered. We review each case individually and we do not means test. All applications are conducted via phone with a friendly member of the Programs intake team.


Quest is a registered NDIS Provider. Residential Programs can be funded through plan-managed and self-managed NDIS plans.


We work with Department of Veteran Affairs (DVA) White Card or Gold Card holders to make applications to the DVA Health Approvals Board.

Worker’s Comp Insurance

Residential programs can be covered by workers compensation insurance on a case-by-case basis.

Call our Programs Advisers Today
1300 941 488