Michele is one of my heroes because she created the thing that she herself needed—a community of widowed people--and she made it one that's inclusive of all whose significant other has died, regardless of age, gender, orientation, marital status, or any other factor. If the one you believe you'd spend the rest of your life with has died, you are welcome at Soaring Spirits International. I had only a brief amount of time with the man I was in love with and believed I'd marry, but Michele has always welcomed me with open arms and often joined me in honoring him and our love. And I couldn't be more grateful—for that, as well as for the bond I've experienced with many of the people I've met through Soaring Spirits, which is like nothing else I've ever seen. SSI has given me a community of people who truly "get it" and as such has brought many wonderful people into my life. And the lion's share of the thanks for all of this support and community go to Michele's inspiration, hard work, and leadership.
The work I have been honored to do in this unexpected career has been meaningful, and so beautiful. I am extremely grateful to the many individuals and groups who have shared their lives, their stories and their hearts with me.
I was widowed in 2011 and went to my first Camp Widow in San Diego in August 2012.
Meeting Michele Neff Hernandez at the Pool Bar – she greeted me making me feel that my story mattered.
She has so much empathy, gives hope to each and every widow and widower that she comes in contact with. I was lost, and in deep grief.
Michele has changed my life realizing there is hope. Her heart and soul truly gives 110% to everyone who has had a deep loss to tragedy.
Michele knows all of our stories and shares her own story, creating our Village. Through Michele, I found my purpose in life and am extremely grateful. Thank you Michele, for all you do and your amazing team. You are My Super Hero!
Michele Neff Hernandez is a deft presenter who excels at connecting with her audience while gently challenging them to stretch out of their comfort zone. She believes fundamentally in honoring loss and in helping people find meaning and joy in the wake of it. Down to earth and authentic, Michele has a quiet energy that allows space for people to show up as their own authentic selves. She doesn’t come with the answers. She begins by listening deeply. And then she challenges us to consider expanding our view, planting seeds that grow over time and allowing us to find our own insight and healing.
When I found myself suddenly widowed at 38 I was lost, grieving deeply, and desperately seeking meaning and understanding. I found that understanding in Michele Neff Hernandez. In my desperate search for those who might understand and help me make sense of my world, I found Soaring Spirits and was able to reach out to ask questions about Camp Widow. The person who responded to those inquiries was Michele who compassionately (and very patiently) answered all of my questions and even helped me get the resources I needed to attend my first camp. Her down to earth nature and her kind encouragement helped me feel confident enough to attend camp on the other side of the country all by myself. That camp, and her speech and presence during that camp and still today have greatly changed my life for the better. I am now a Soaring Spirits regional group leader for the Eastern Shore of Maryland and will be leading a camp workshop myself! Michele changes lives and inspires us to move forward through grief to become our very best selves. I can think of no better representative for the widowed community.
I lost my husband in 2015, I was able to attend Camp Widow in 2016. WOW!!!! What an absolutely FABULOUS experience, and the best part was to meet Michele!!!
She has held my hand and walked me through this awful journey. I’ve had personal questions that I really wanted to ask Michele, but I thought that she would be too busy to respond to my requests...I was TOTALLY wrong!!!! Michele resounded instantly with the comfort and love that I needed in that moment!
So often, we need to talk with someone whom is walking the same walk..in comes Michele! I get SO excited when I see her posts, listen to her podcasts, see her at camp, or just simply see her responses to ME!!!! She genuinely cares about each and everyone of us! I aspire to be even remotely the person that she is!! She’s a true gift sent from heaven. I refer all other widows/widowers to her...what a true blessing!❤️❤️❤️
I work closely with Michele throughout the year assisting her with her Annual Conventions in San Diego, Tampa & Toronto. Her main goal is to always deliver the best content & value to those in her organization. She is very passionate about serving those in her community and very professional. I enjoy working with Michele and she is a true partner with my organization. You are the best.
Michele Neff Hernandez has the uncanny ability to talk directly to your heart about what it means to experience loss. What makes her especially unique is her unrivaled ability to offer hope and support to those grieving. Spend time in Michele’s presence and you will be changed forever.
Michele Neff Hernandez is an innovator. Through her work founding Soaring Spirits International Michele has repaired many wings and inspired thousands of widowed people to know, love and celebrate the people they are today. She is an inspiration and knowing her has been a great privilege.
Experiencing the loss of a loved one can be profound, and heartbreaking, and devastating. Michele Neff Hernandez has healed and grown through her own grief to guide so many others from pain to peace, from trauma to triumph. Through her organization Soaring Spirits, Michele helps widowed people to love again - to love themselves.
Michele is an inspiration. Not only is she a survivor but her indomitable spirit is obvious from the moment you meet her. She has a true gift for connecting people, giving people hope and camaraderie at a time of profound loss and loneliness. I have been blessed to witness Michele helping literally hundreds if not thousands of recent widowers navigate the traumatic landscape of loss with her profound compassion, love and kindness, giving so many a safe space to heal and connect.
"Tireless commitment," "boundless energy," and "infectious optimism" are all terms that one hears, again and again, about Michele Neff Hernandez and her unwavering commitment to the widowed community. She has an uncanny ability to inspire in people a practical, loving, and compassionate belief in themselves and their own ability to heal through the power of community, an edict she lives by every day. Michele is a natural bringer-together of people and has become a superhero to thousands of grieving people as she lovingly guides them through the stages of grief, walking alongside them, both figuratively and literally, holding their hand every step of the way.
Michele’s eyes radiate her dynamic personality - bright and effervescent, thoughtful and contemplative, sorrowful and grieving. Those eyes lock on to yours when she is with you, for, at that point, you are the most important person in her world and she gives all of herself to you. In her writing, in her organizing, in her speaking, in her companionship, she changes lives. What a gift for those of us who have lost our beloved partners.
Michele has an incredible gift of truly connecting, on a heart and soul level, with the thousands of the widows she serves through Soaring Spirits International. Her hard-earned wisdom and empathy are a comfort to anyone who is dealing with the excruciating pain after losing a life partner. She is an inspiring hero, and through her example of living her best life after loss, she shows how possible it is to rise and thrive in widowhood.
It is such an honor to introduce you to Michele. She has had an unbelievable impact on the lives of so many, widowed people and beyond! I am so grateful to have benefitted from her speaking - she really sheds light on different ways one can view life, and how the darkest days could some day give way to the brightest sunshine - and she can do so without being trite or pollyanna. Her speaking is accessible to so many people - in good times and in bad - and encourages everyone to live a more active, engaged and positive life.
I have also been privileged to work with her as leader. She has tremendous vision and ambition for what is possible in our world, and how we can all create stronger communities and better care for each other. I have never seen her back down from a challenge, and indeed sometimes she will go seek them if life is too quiet! Her leadership is equally inspiring and supportive - pushing towards a better future, but supporting those who have to do the pushing as well.
To experience the energy and presence of Michele Neff Hernandez is to be greatly enriched. You will never see the world the same way again. I urge you to take advantage of the opportunity to hear and learn from her.
Michele took the worst tragedy of her life and, instead of letting it destroy her, turned her pain outward as a light, as a beacon to other widowed people wandering in the same fog. Soaring Spirits has literally saved lives, including mine, by providing resources and a community that doesn't judge, talk down or condescend to you. It does not try to fix you or make you the same as you were before your loss, but rather respects and considers the seismic shift in your life and gives tools to help rebuild. And that comes from Michele, from her understanding, compassion and sense of humor that says "I get you. And I've got you.'