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June 2023

June Newsletter
Dear EricsHouse Community,

Welcome to June 2023! White roses symbolize honor, reverence, respect, and love for those who are no longer physically present. The pure white color also represents brightness and hope for the future. Through the deep pain and mourning of your dear loved ones, may comfort and compassion surround you.

"In a world of grief and pain flowers bloom - even then."
- Kobayashi Issa

Connect With Us:
A Letter from our Founder
Marianne Gouveia
Living Life After Loss: Listening
to Your Inner Voice

Last month, I wrote about transforming your grief and I asked this question: “If you were asked to write a screenplay about something that moves you, what would you write?” I believe this is a powerful question, one that requires digging deep into who we are and resting in our core - that part of us which we often call “spirit” or “sacred within us." From this more spacious and grounded place, we naturally connect, empathize, forgive, and love just about everything. 

We are often inspired by people who seem to have the perfect lives, where talents, passions and values are aligned. These people have a purpose greater than themselves; they have a spiritual core with some sense of a higher power in their own unique way, and they have endless energy that lifts people up. How is it then that we can figure out who we are at our core?  

In an article written by Anjula Razdan called “Can’t You Hear Your Inner Voice”? she presents 11 thought-provoking questions. Some of the questions that really resonate with me are:

  • Where do you want to be right now? Are you in a place where you feel you are meant to be? That place which gives you a sense of well-being and balance?

  • Are you fair to yourself? As we begin to discover who we want to be, we should remember who we already are as we balance our life’s duties with our desire to follow our calling.  

  • Who are your heroes? Those people whom you admire can reveal a lot about who you are or who you want to be. It is good to reflect upon their qualities because it could reveal deeper, more authentic qualities that you already possess.

When we take time to stop, sit quietly, and listen to our inner spirit, we gain knowledge about who we are.This gives our lives meaning and allow us to make a difference in the world. By focusing our thoughts and energy on what we really care about, we can be present with ourselves and in the world around us. We are more able to live a fuller life.

EricsHouse will be leading an 8-session workshop-style group called Transforming your Grief: Living with Meaning and Purpose. This workshop will be based on the work of Dr. Alan Wolfelt, who has compiled an impressive set of thought-provoking questions and exercises that will help us work toward living a life of purpose and meaning. If you are interested in learning more about “callings”, your personal vision, and finding that purpose in life that gives you joy, you can find out more by emailing Madi at madison@ericshouse.org. Hope to see you there!

Much Love,
Marianne Gouveia
Founder and Chairman
Our Love is Alive by Jackie Cole
Featuring Tom, Jen and Ryan
Tom and his son Ryan shared an enthusiastic passion for railroads and trains. Together, they volunteered  many hours to an organization dedicated to the preservation and operation of an historic railway that runs between two quiet towns in West Michigan.

Today, Tom continues to foster his connection with Ryan when he helps out at the railroad where they created so many happy memories.

Ryan’s sister, Jen, remembers that he was fascinated by engines from a young age and dreamed of graduating from Michigan Technological University with a mechanical engineering degree. 

She also remembers him as a mature young man who seemed less concerned about the opinions of other kids and more focused on his own interests. 

In addition to continuing his work with the railroad, Tom has also kept Ryan forefront through his commitment to promoting CPR initiatives in the workplace; he is admired and credited by his co-workers for encouraging employee participation. 

He was adamant when advising colleagues that this training and the acquired skills could be invaluable in an emergency situation involving one of their own family members.

Furthermore, Tom advocated for continued training and the purchase of AEDs to be placed in all of the company’s buildings.  

Thank you, Tom and Jen, for sharing a part of Ryan with us. 

“What you do makes a difference and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make” - Jane Goodall
June is Pride Month
A Reflection by Kim Hamilton
As I sit here thinking about what to write for this article on Pride Month, I want to start with what this month represents as well as my personal thoughts on the uniqueness of our loss and grief, being a part of the LBGTQ+ family. First, Pride Month holds immense significance as it serves as a powerful reminder of the ongoing struggle for LGBTQ+ rights and recognition. This annual observance, celebrated in June, honors the diverse identities and experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer individuals. Pride Month is a time for celebration, promoting a sense of unity and equality within the LGBTQ+ community. It highlights the need for continued support, education, and allyship, while promoting visibility and understanding. By embracing Pride Month, we affirm our commitment to equality and human rights, recognizing that everyone deserves the freedom to love, express ourselves and live without fear of discrimination. 

Pride Month holds profound importance to me on a personal level. As a member of the LGBTQ+ community, it represents a time of reflection, recognition, and self-dignity. Pride Month reminds me of the progress we have made in the fight for equality and the resilience of our community. It also serves as a powerful reminder, to me, of the work that still needs to be done, especially in the current ‘climate’. 

I am now a Widow, having lost my wife of 25 years. Losing someone you love regardless of their sexual orientation is profoundly difficult. In the LGBTQ community, losing a spouse, trans child, gay parent or friend is deeply painful and personal with a different complexity in the LBGTQ+ community. We often face isolation and a lack of compassion, validation, and legitimacy of our loss. Listening to others in our community, I hear, so often, how loud the silence is as we navigate our immense grief. Above it all I remain hopeful and encouraged that we can, as a collective society, offer support, love, compassion, understanding, and empathy to LBGTQ+ individuals who have experienced tragic loss and immense grief, just as it is for any other bereaved individual.
The Threshold by Greg Eckerman 
The spiritual part of the grief journey may be most challenging. It certainly is for me.  

Opening to the mystery, welcoming the unknowable, being present to the uncertainty... challenges every aspect of our sense of self.  

The spiritual part of the grief journey highlights the betweenness of profound loss. We are confronted with our own mortality in the loss of someone we love. We search for understanding of something beyond comprehension. We hope for hope. That’s the wilderness we are in.

The wilderness of grief is a liminal space.  

The Latin word limen means “threshold.” Liminal space is an inner state and, sometimes, an outer situation where we begin to think and act in new ways. It is where we are in between, in transition. It is a time of grace, though it often doesn’t feel like it. In liminal space we are not certain or in control. 

It is in these transitional moments of our lives that authentic transformation can happen. While we have no choice in being changed by our losses, liminal space allows us to explore the threshold of our personal transformation – where we can explore how we hope to change, where we search for meaning, purpose, and hope. 

To paraphrase Alan Wolfelt: The challenge is to stay on the threshold of the wilderness without consciously or unconsciously demanding or projecting a desire for resolution. We tend to be attached to a desired outcome, not open to discovery of new possibilities. 

The gift in liminal space is the removal of attachment to outcome. To learn to savor the journey and honor the mystery.

I wish you all the grace of your personal liminal space.
This group will focus on:

  • Exploring you core values
  • Unpacking your bags – exploring your strengths, talents, and gifts
  • Discovering what makes your heart sing
  • Understanding your passion and calling
  • Understanding your capacity for self care
  • Exploring you lifestyle
  • Writing your new life story
NEW GROUP open to Mothers who have done an EricsHouse support group beginning June 22! At EricsHouse we aim to create a community for loss survivors bereaved by suicide and substance use to connect in a safe, intimate environment. 

This group will allow Mothers to meet, discuss how they are doing, share healing hope, and honor loved their child in a judgement free zone. 

There is a one-time $50 fee.
The Ten Touchstones Groups
For more information about all support groups,
email madison@ericshouse.org
Transforming Your Grief Retreat
When: 6pm Thursday, August 10 - Sunday, August 13 Noon
Where: Poco Diablo Resort in Sedona, AZ

Join EricsHouse for a 3 night, 2-full day retreat full of revitalizing activities and connections in the beautiful red rocks of majestic Sedona!

Retreat is designed to support:

  • Parents who lost a child to suicide or substance use
  • Individuals who lost their partner/spouse to suicide or substance use

The agenda includes a drum circle, group hikes, a night of readings, yoga, collage workshops, sound healing, and grief guidance activities.

$1235 single occupancy $1925 for double occupancy

For more information, email madison@ericshouse.org.
EricsHouse Tree of Life
The Tree of Life is a custom art installation, created by local artists to help us remember our loved ones. This unique exhibit is displayed in the center of the EricsHouse facility on a 7′ x 11′ birch panel.

Our Tree of Life holds the names of people lost to suicide and substance abuse in the leaves on the tree. When you donate $100 in the name of your lost loved one, a personalized leaf will be placed on the tree as a lasting memorial.Leaves may also be purchased for friends and family as a gift in their loved one’s honor.
Donate your car, truck, motorcycle, RV, or boat to EricsHouse by simply clicking the button and completing the form. Car Easy will reach out to you to arrange the pick-up of your vehicle donation, at no cost to you. You may qualify for a tax deduction while supporting a cause that is near and dear to your heart!