Mayhurst Inn Estate

Traveling to Cope with Child Loss (Part 1 - Mayhurst Inn)

After the death of our son, we engaged in several travel adventures that helped us appreciate the beautiful things in life amidst a dark time of grieving. These travels ranged from local day trips and staycations to international explorations.


One note before we jump in: For anyone who may feel that traveling is financially out of reach, know that there are low-budget opportunities that are worth exploring. Also, if you are someone seeking to help a parent who has lost a child, consider gifting them with resources to take a trip, or even offering for them to stay in your home if you’ll be away or have an extra home. A change of location, even for a short time, can be a helpful tool in the grief journey.


We’ll share about our travel adventures over a series of blog posts, starting with this one about our trip to the Mayhurst Inn in Virginia.


As the memorial service for our son, Travis Jr. approached, we decided it would be helpful to spend time away from home to mentally and spiritually prepare for the unfathomable act of burying our son.


We found a nice bed and breakfast inn a few hours away. The inn was appealing because it was renovated and run by a family who shared our Christian faith and envisioned the inn as a space for retreat, refreshing, and restoration.


We spent a couple nights and participated in activities including:

  • Walking around the lovely grounds
  • Swinging on the large swing
  • Sitting in lawn chairs and staring at the lake
  • Listening to the song “Though You Slay Me”
  • Watching the movie “Heaven is for Real”
  • Reading “My Wynter Season: Seeing God's Faithfulness in the Shadow of Grief”
  • Journaling
  • Spending time at a nearby garden/cafe
  • Eating delicious breakfasts
  • Eating homemade ice cream


We had no agenda. We sought to relax and just “be.”


A highlight of the trip was when we told one of the owners the story of why we were there - that we had just lost our son and were getting ready to bury him.


The owner listened, cried, and prayed to God out loud on our behalf. Her reaction showed us the level of empathy that others are capable of.


The world is so full of pain that it can be easy to become numb or hardened to the challenging things that happen to others every day. But we as humans can so deeply feel the pain of others if we allow ourselves to.


This woman allowed herself to feel our pain. She didn’t just say, “I’m sorry” and awkwardly change the topic or exit the encounter despite having other things to do. Instead, she empathized with us even though we were strangers, even though she had never met our son. She took time out of her day to grieve with us.


At breakfast the next day, she took time to share recommended resources with us. She demonstrated care that was so much appreciated at a low point in our lives.


This travel experience provided a glimmer of light in the darkness as we prepared to bury our son. 

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