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November 2020
-November Newsletter-
Dear EricsHouse Community,

Welcome to November! The month of change and reflection. Autumn reminds us that our surroundings are always developing. It is a reflection on the impermanence of life. As the Greek philosopher Heraclitus once said, "The only thing that is constant is change." So remember to be present in the moment.
A message from our Founder- Marianne Gouveia
Gratitude and Thanksgiving

We grievers sometimes struggle with finding cause for gratitude, though many of us come to realize that our grief is proportional to all that we have to be grateful for in our relationships with our lost loved ones.

It seems right to be talking about gratitude this month since we are approaching our National holiday. Growing up, Thanksgiving was a big event. Our family, with seven children, spent days making pies and desserts, a variety of potatoes and vegetables, and of course, the once per year Turkey with all the trimmings. Like most of our family meals, it was a big production -cooking, eating, and cleaning were the recipe for the day, and a meal worth celebrating.

As I was writing my note today, I began to wonder . . . “what is the Thanksgiving holiday all about anyway?” I found an interesting link
(https://www.history.com/topics/thanksgiving/history-of-thanksgiving). Here is a snippet of what I learned. In 1621, the Plymouth colonists and Wampanoag Indians shared an autumn harvest feast that is acknowledged today as one of the first Thanksgiving celebrations in the colonies. For more than two centuries, days of Thanksgiving were celebrated by individual colonies and states. It wasn’t until 1863, in the midst of the Civil War, that President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national Thanksgiving Day to be held each November. Interestingly, the colonists relied on Native Americans to teach them how to cook, roast turkey, hunt, and all the things needed to prepare a bountiful feast.

I also learned that Pilgrims held their second Thanksgiving celebration in 1623 to mark the end of a long drought that had threatened the year’s harvest. At that time, they were prompted to practice religious days of fasting and Thanksgiving on an annual basis. This became common practice across New England, even in the midst of sickness, droughts, unrelenting weather, and strife.

Since Eric died, I have been ever more aware of how I spend my time. In the first few years, when faced with the notion of “celebrating” the holidays, I wanted to run away and hide. After all, how could I celebrate when my son was gone? What did I have to be “thankful” for? After facing the first two years of missing Eric, I learned to persevere. I learned to stop, take in a deep breath, and ask God to fill my heart with love and gratitude. I have to say that this is not easy when deep in grief – I call it a “practice” – one that I repeatedly did until it became a habit for me. I had to learn to be thankful to all that was in front of me. My husband, all three of my sons, my wonderful family and friends, and for the work that we do in EricsHouse. One of my favorite quotes is from St. Ambrose: “No duty is greater than that of returning thanks.”

So my practice continues daily learning to be thankful for all that I have been given. I practice being in a relationship with Eric in a different way – with him in Heaven and me on this earth. I practice being present with everyone in my life. I practice acknowledging all the small gifts I have given, and I practice giving back to those who need love and support. I practice being thankful for the opportunities to become wiser from the abundant harvest of trials I have experienced in my life. Kindness and goodness, along with sadness and sorrow, have become great teachers of mine as I approach the second half of my life.

Happy Thanksgiving to each of you. I leave you with one of my favorites quotes by Rumi.

With love and gratitude,
Marianne Gouveia
Founder, EricsHouse Inc.
Emmaus Retreat for Grieving Parents
Friday, Dec 4, 4:00pm - Sunday, Dec 6, 1:00pm
Serving the Spiritual Needs of Parents Who Have Lost a Child
Of all the pains that life can hand us, arguably the most searing is the loss of a child. During this weekend, just as Jesus joined his distraught disciples on the road to Emmaus, we pray for all of our parents and we ask Jesus to join us as we walk the horrendous journey of grieving our loss every day.
EMFGP (EMMAUS Ministry For Grieving Parents) is a unique ministry that serves the spiritual needs of grieving parents whose children of any age have died by any cause, no matter how long ago. We focus on the promise of eternal life and the rich teachings of our faith to help these terribly broken parents. 
We ask questions such as:
Where is God in my pain?
Where is my child right now?
Why do I feel abandoned by God?
How could God let this happen?
Please visit www.emfgp.org for more information. 
The retreat is offered by grieving parents who have lost children of their own, and is supported by spiritual leaders who understand this ministry.Together, we provide an opportunity for parents to gather in a sacred, warm,and compassionate space with others who know their pain. Many parents find peace and comfort, at least for a time. All faiths are welcome.
For additional information contact Eric’s Mom Marianne Gouveia at 602.549.8932.
How To Stay Sober During The Pandemic
Jul 17, 2020 | Addiction & Recovery
One of the most prominent parts of addiction treatment is group interactions with fellow individuals in recovery. It also includes a one-on-one treatment method where the therapist conducts individual sessions to improve a patient’s mental health. However, all of this is on hold now. With people scared enough to leave their home and social distancing becoming the trend of the century, these treatment methods can’t work. For the time being at least.

Read full article HERE
The Labyrinth of Grief
Sandra Howlett, Ed.D.
Following a meeting with a group of bereaved parents at an area retreat center, I felt called to spend some time reconnecting with nature. Toward the back of the property, I discovered a labyrinth of stones. At first glance, a labyrinth looks like a maze with its series of concentric circles yet it is quite different. A maze has channels with choices to be made at every turn, some leading toward the center and many leading to dead ends. In a labyrinth, there is but one choice to make – to enter or not. It is a gentle, contemplative experience combining consciousness with movement. The labyrinth is a metaphor of the journey inside oneself to gain understanding for living in the world.

I have walked the labyrinth many times with a variety of experiences and outcomes. Sometimes I gain a spiritual insight or solution to a troubling situation; sometimes not. As I stood at the entrance to the labyrinth on this particular day, I set my intention as a desire to see something in a different way. And so I did.  
Within the first few steps I saw things that I had not noticed before…footprints in the dirt, stones out of line yet still a semblance of order, weeds, and the gentle breeze with some significant gusts. I saw a single way in and out but no quick way to get from “here to there”. I became increasingly aware of the parallels between walking the labyrinth and the journey of grief.

I started off slowly but noticed that sometimes I would speed up as I turned the corners of the switchbacks. After a while, I let go of any sense of time and could not have told you if I had been walking for 10 minutes or an hour. Sometimes in grief, time gets convoluted….from standing still to totally losing track of it.
I noticed the footprints of others in the sand reminding me that I was not the first nor would I be the last who would walk this path. That was a comfort to me, to know that someone else had been there. On previous walks, I have shared the labyrinth with others, each of us on our own journey and at our own pace, silently stepping aside to allow one another other to pass if we meet in the same ‘lane’. It is possible to be in the same lane and going in opposite directions. Such is grief as everyone does it a little bit differently.
While I could see at least ten lanes to the labyrinth, I could only be in one at a time. The design of the labyrinth includes what appears to be backtracking switchbacks on the way to the center as well as to the exit. Grief often feels like two (or three or four) steps forward, one step back – taking a lot of time, effort and energy with indiscernible results. There were moments of impatience and frustration that I wasn’t moving ahead (aka healing) as fast as I wanted to. I even asked myself when I would get to the end of this walk about only to met with yet another switchback on the path. I reminded myself to simply put one foot in front of the other and trust that I was going to get where I was going. The faith in that simple strategy helped me squash other worries, concerns and distractions...just one step at a time.

There were a couple of times when I was not so attentive to my path resulting in a stumble and near fall. Fortunately, I was able to catch my balance and avoid all four points plus my face landing in the dust. My first thought was to look around to see if anyone saw me! Why do we concern ourselves with what others might think when we are struggling and doing the best we can?

The ‘halfway’ point of the labyrinth is the center, an open space that is a bit larger than the paths that surround it. Some people leave symbolic tokens and ceremonial items in the center – candles, pictures, and personal items of interest. It is a space to stand or sit and contemplate the journey. I like to linger in the center for a while to take in the beauty of the four directions that I miss when walking with my head down, to say a prayer of gratitude or request, to even be grateful that I am able to walk the labyrinth knowing others who cannot.

After this time of rest and reflection, I begin the journey ‘out’ of the labyrinth, walking the same pathways in the opposite direction. For some reason, the walk out seems faster than the journey inward much like returning from a trip. I recognize some of the terrain and feel a little bit clearer in my navigation. Perhaps it is a sense of familiarity of knowing the way or maybe it is an eagerness to find ways to integrate any insights I may have gained, it just seems to move quicker.
There are no ‘dead ends’ in a labyrinth, only switchbacks and changes of direction moving closer or further from the center. There are really no dead ends in grief work either, only paths that move us closer or further from a peaceful heart and healing.
After what seems like lots of back and forth, going over the same roads and finally making progress, the opening to exit always seems to come up quickly. While the entrance and the exit are one, it is the experience and wisdom of the journey that makes all the difference.

As I back out of the labyrinth, I say a prayer of gratitude and peace. Thank you for slowing me down and helping me see something differently today. Thank you for the gift of wise presence. 

Dr Sandi Howlett is the Bereavement Specialist for Hansen Mortuaries. She may be contacted at drsandihowlett@gmail.com
Healing after suicide, substance, or sudden loss.
2020 has proven to be a challenging year all around. I don’t think anyone will argue this point. Something we never planned for was pivoting all aspects of keeping EricsHouse moving forward, spreading the word of our mission and our services and finding the funding to make it happen. All while being unable to use our facility to its full extent, moving to online training and education and providing our services without meeting in person.
The EricsHouse team pulled off a digital, online fundraiser on 10/10/20 and with your help and support we are proud to announce that we raised just over $70k. Moving forward into 2021, EricsHouse will be able to fund and train new Grief Support Specialists, grow our Spiritual Guidance team, expand our Men’s and Women’s Grief Support groups and provide more services to all of the new members coming to EricsHouse.
As you can imagine, Covid 19 has increased the numbers in every category of alcohol and drug use and abuse and suicide attempts and deaths are rising. Mental health in general is in a precarious place because of the isolation, quarantining and illness that this pandemic has caused. EricsHouse is needed now more than ever.
We ask that you please continue to share the mission of EricsHouse and hope you will take a minute to look at these two very special videos created to help tell our story. Please feel free to forward where needed.
Our new fundraising Friends of EricsHouse and donors are now part of our Family. And like Family, we will always be here for you. Thank you again for your generosity, your support and your kindness.

With love and gratitude, 
Patty Kincaid
Board Chairman
Recognizing the Signs of Addiction with
Dr. Michel Sucher & Stephanie Siete
Virtual Grief Support Groups for both Men & Women
You don't have to grieve alone.
The EricsHouse Men’s Group is a group of men who meet biweekly virtually, on Thursday evenings from 7:00 pm- 8:30 pm.

We share our grief journeys, day-to-day struggles, and our stories. Mostly we talk, listen, and support each other. 

If you’d like more information please call Greg Eckerman at 480-734-3423, or by email at greg@ericshouse.org.
The EricsHouse Women's Group, will meet biweekly virtually, on Thursday evenings from 7:00 pm-8:30 pm.

If you are experiencing the sudden loss of someone you love especially to addiction or suicide, this group is designed to support your very unique needs. Throughout the session, you will talk with peers who are loss survivors who understand how difficult it is to navigate family and friends after experiencing a sudden, traumatic loss.

If you'd like more information about this group or would like to register for it, please email marisela@ericshouse.org.
Events for November

November 04, 2020
Is your body out to get you?

Get answers with
 Dr. Kathy Rickard on November 07, 2020

November 12, 2020

Wednesday, November 18, 2020 7:00 pm - 8:15 pm at
EricsHouse Full Moon Labyrinth Walk.
Join us on the next full moon!
View details at EricsHouse.org/Events
Grief Support for Men
Greg Eckerman is a co-founder of EricsHouse, which is named after his stepson Eric. He is an Aerospace Engineer by training and a practicing Lean Six Sigma Master Blackbelt, consulting companies in a wide variety of industries, world-wide. Greg facilitates the EricsHouse Men’s Group and is in training as a Grief Companion.

Greg can be reached at: greg@ericshouse.org
Grief Companioning
EricsHouse is looking for more Grief Companions.
If you are someone who would like to make a difference in someone's life, then reach out to Jean Nictakis to become a Grief Companion with EricsHouse.

These are FREE Virtual Trainings. Please email jean@ericshouse.org for more information.

In addition to providing grief support after a loss and holistic support as part of our Integrative Grief Care model, we offer several alternative therapies to support emotional, physical, and spiritual healing. We work with individuals who have lost someone they love unexpectedly with a specialization in suicide and substance losses.