When Ute Amann-Seidel’s partner, David, proposed to her at the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, she couldn’t have been happier.
Then, just four weeks later, she was dealt a devastating blow. David, who was otherwise well, had an asthma attack and was taken to hospital. Sadly, he passed away before Ute could get to him. They were both 50. She didn’t even get to say goodbye.
“My world fell apart from one second to the other,” says Ute.
“It felt as if a large part of me had died with him and I could barely function. Many things lost their meaning. Others – like being in nature and reading helpful words – became lifesavers.”
Ute’s loss inspired her to create Fire & Rain Soul Spa – offering small group retreat holidays for widows and widowers in feel-good locations around Scotland. Her retreats not only focus on self-care, connection and a sense of community, but on solitude and time to reflect.
While Ute hosts cookery workshops, yoga classes and walks in nature, these are purely optional and there’s no formal therapy or requirement to talk here whatsoever.
“Grief is chaos. Crippling and unpredictable, it doesn’t follow any pattern,” says Ute.
“It’s deeply personal and different for everyone. You can’t run away from it; it will always catch up with you. But it can sometimes feel good to fully lean into the pain as you connect to the love you share with the person you lost.”
Not only have Fire & Rain’s retreats helped many guests to process their grief, they’ve helped Ute too.
“After about 18 months, I was walking along the canal and realised I didn’t want to die anymore,” she says. “One day, but not yet. Instead, I want to make every day until I see him again as meaningful as possible.
“The pain hasn’t become any less and I still miss David every moment of the day. I don’t want it any other way. I don’t want to move on, but forward.”
Fire & Rain Soul Spa is a finalist in the Outstanding Innovation category of the Holistic Scotland Magazine Wellbeing Awards 2020, in which we wish Ute the best of luck!