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December 2020
-Holiday Newsletter-
This year EricsHouse has partnered with St. Vincent de Paul to help children in our community this Holiday Season.

If you would like to make a difference please send or drop off toys by 12/1 for ages 0-17 at 7801 N. Invergordon Pl. Paradise Valley, AZ 85253.

*You can see Holiday Toy Wish List for St. Vincent de Paul Children.

Time, Voice, Dollars, & Goods
Judy Zimet
EricsHouse Board Member
Giving Tuesday might be the most important “holiday” of the year. It is a day when people all across the globe show their generosity and thanks. Last year, the world gave nearly two billion dollars to charities. It’s not all about giving money though. It is also about giving your time, your voice, and your things to causes that you support.

This year is vastly different than years past because the pandemic created heightened needs. Suicide and substance abuse are skyrocketing; more people are out of work and struggling to pay
for basic needs such as food, housing, and medical care.  

EricsHouse is doubling down this year by partnering with St. Vincent de Paul to meet the urgent needs created by the pandemic. Please consider giving your time, voice, money, and toys.

Time: EricsHouse and St. Vincent de Paul need volunteers. Go to www.ericshouse.org/donate/ and https://www.stvincentdepaul.net/give for a list of volunteer opportunities.

Voice: Tell your friends, family, and co-workers about the work we do. Share on social media to let people know that EricsHouse is a welcoming place for people who have lost a loved one to suicide or substance abuse; and that St. Vincent de Paul helps Arizonans with basic needs such as food, clothing, and housing.

Dollars: Donate money to expand our reach to meet the ever-growing need for our services. Go to https://www.ericshouse.org/donate/ and https://www.stvincentdepaul.net/give.

Goods: Bring a new toy to EricsHouse between now and December 1st. We are a collection location for the St. Vincent de Paul holiday toy drive that provides toys to Arizona children who need extra elves this year. Our address is 7801 N Invergordon in Paradise Valley, AZ 85253.

We are so very grateful for our generous supporters who show up time and time again to give during this significant time of need. We love each and every one of you. Blessings to you this holiday season.
Can you help make a child smile this Holiday Season?
A message from our Founder- Marianne Gouveia
Dear EricsHouse Community,
For many of us who have lost a loved one, the months of November and December can trigger great sadness and sorrow. As the Founder of EricsHouse, a nonprofit for helping people heal after traumatic loss, with the holidays approaching, I feel myself tensing up, my mood sinking, and an urge to stay occupied with work and mindless busy tasks. I hate thinking about that empty seat, wishing I could have my son Eric at the holiday table one last time. I think about what gifts he might put on his Christmas list and how wonderful it might be to kiss him, to hug him, to hear his great belly laugh . . . just one more time.
Eric struggled with opioid addiction. He fought hard for sobriety, but one day he became overwhelmed by his addiction and he lost hope. In February of 2017, he made the fatal decision to end his life by suicide. In the last four years, I have learned so much about survival, sorrow, and sadness, about loss and emptiness, about sharing and gratitude, and about finding hope.  
Holidays are difficult times for any griever. In the middle of our COVID-19 pandemic, feelings of loss, worry, and isolation are rampant in every household. For people celebrating the holidays without their loved one, sorrow runs high. Dr. Alan Wolfelt, an internationally recognized grief expert and advocate for EricsHouse, offers some ways in which we can find hope during the holidays:
Talk about your grief. We think that if we avoid talking about our grief our pain will go away. On the contrary, talking about your grief helps you heal and process complicated emotions. Holding it in causes it to fester. Talk to friends who will listen to you without judgement and help make you feel understood.  
Talk about your loved one. Love does not end with death and while the holidays might create triggers for you that cause sadness and hurt, there are also triggers that can create positive memories and perhaps even laughter as you remember your loved one. Family and friend may mistakenly think that by avoiding talking about your loved one they will save you from falling into grief. Intentionally plan ways in which you can bring those happy memories to the dinner table to share with others. Say their name.
Respect your physical and psychological limits.  My grief left me exhausted. Preparing a large meal for my extended family was not in the cards for me that first year. I let someone else do all the work so that I could respect my grief. I needed to miss Eric and be sad that he was not here. I gave myself permission to mourn him and eliminate unnecessary stress, so I created a plan to do that. In retrospect, I learned that the best way to mourn Eric was to allow myself to lean right into the pain – to experience it – and to create an environment where I didn’t have to avoid it or pretend everything was ok.  
Give yourself permission to create what you need during the season—do only what soothes you and gives you comfort. If you are stressing something, eliminate it and replace it with something that supports you in your journey toward healing.  
As the holidays approach, we suggest that you develop a survival plan. A plan you create around activities that will make you feel better. You don’t have to “stick to the plan,” nothing is set in stone, but it can help you think through what you want to do, don’t want to do, and be mentally and emotionally prepared. This survival plan might include:

Being with people who want to be with you, who want to acknowledge and support you, and respect your sense of loss. Good listeners are always a good choice here.

If you have family traditions, decide which ones you want to continue and which ones you wish to skip this year. This gives you a way to anticipate triggers rather than get caught off-guard. Be sure to give yourself permission to modify your normal approach – people will understand.
If you wish to express your faith, the holidays are a good time to do so. Often, after a loss, we find a renewed sense of faith or a new belief structure. Allow yourself to express your beliefs, it can lead to transformative self-discovery in the face of loss.  
The holidays can present difficult challenges for the griever, but they also present an opportunity to further integrate our losses and move forward in our grief journey. Prepare yourself and stack the deck to enable a hope-filled, self-loving experience that celebrates the life of your loved one, the beautiful memories of holidays past, and journey toward meaningful, fulfilling future holidays.

With love and gratitude,
Marianne Gouveia
Founder, EricsHouse Inc.
Helping Yourself Heal During the Holiday Season
by Center for Loss | Dec 16, 2016 | Articles

Visit: https://www.centerforloss.com/
Holidays are often difficult for anyone who has experienced the death of someone loved. Rather than being times of family togetherness, sharing and thanksgiving, holidays can bring feelings of sadness, loss and emptiness.
Love does not end with death
Since love does not end with death, holidays may result in a renewed sense of personal grief—a feeling of loss unlike that experienced in the routine of daily living. Society encourages you to join in the holiday spirit, but all around you the sounds, sights and smells trigger memories of the one you love who has died.
No simple guidelines exist that will take away the hurt you are feeling.
We hope, however, the following suggestions will help you better cope with your grief during this joyful, yet painful, time of the year. As you read through this article, remember that by being tolerant and compassionate with yourself, you will continue to heal.
Read full article HERE
Understanding Your Grief:
Hope for the Holidays – A Video from
Dr. Wolfelt
A speck of Hope
By: Kim Hamilton
Suicide Loss Survivor
Hello, my name is Kim Hamilton, and I am a suicide loss survivor. My life changed forever on March 15th, 2020, when I witnessed my wife and soulmate of 25 years die by suicide. A friend told me about EricsHouse, and just four days later, I entered EricsHouse's front door to meet with Marianne. From the second I walked in, there was a sense of comfort. Marianne's compassion and honesty helped me start a new journey to a new different, yet purposeful life. I remember that first meeting asking Marianne to "fix" this and make it better, and with such compassion in her eyes, she said she couldn't fix it, but we will find a way to move forward and find purpose again. 

The emotions, brain fog, and pain that I had felt over those seconds, those minutes, those hours, those days, those weeks, those months were profoundly deep, utterly consuming, and at times wholly debilitating. The services I received at EricsHouse like Grief Counseling, Women's Group Support, Jean's weekly Facebook Videos on Guide to Love, Sound Healing, and the care and the concern by several EricsHouse staff and other survivors, help me feel less alone. I genuinely believe EricsHouse has a soul. They have helped me to learn to be patient with myself and move through the grief process in a way that is best for me.

I have many firsts coming up through December and beyond, and I know there will be challenging times, but the darkness is slowly fading. And I know I am now part of a beautiful and unique family, not one I would have ever chosen before I became a survivor. I have grown to love them because they have been and will always be right next to me, walking hand in hand with me. I am learning to do the work and embrace both the good and challenging times ahead. I see my initial speck of hope slowly growing.

Thank you,

Kim Hamilton

(Photographed below: Amy & Kim)
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 December
Full Moon Labyrinth Walk
11/29 & 12/29

The full moon is packed full of energy that is not to be missed. At EricsHouse, we are taking full advantage of this time and invite you to join us in a Labyrinth Walk with Gong. You will be guided to release your burdens and let go of anything that is holding you back as you begin your walk. With the release of burdens, new and precious valuable space is created for you to fill with hope and optimism.
Sound Healing Panel Discussion

Have you ever wondered how sound can affect the body and help it heal? 

If so, please join us virtually on Tuesday, December 01, 2020, from 5:30 pm-6:45 pm, to hear from a panel of experts about how sound can help and impact the body. Part of the forum will be Dr. Kathleen Rickard, as she will explain how an instrument like the gong resonates with all cells of the body, and these vibrations act as nutrients for the nervous system.

Your Chance to Ask the Nurse Practitioner!

Do you have questions about your health?

Join us for a group conversation in understanding what your body wants and needs for your health! You'll be able to get answers to all your questions.
Hosted by Dr. Kathleen Rickard, DNP, APRN, FNP-C.
Kim Balzan is bringing her beautiful Alchemy Crystal bowls to EricsHouse!

We will gather outside under the moon on the beautiful EricsHouse property. Last month, everyone agreed that it was a profoundly mesmerizing experience!
All you need to do is sit or lay down and relax and let the Sound guide you into a beautiful peaceful relaxation. We will begin doing some gentle breathwork and enjoy a guided meditation.

Saturday, December 19, 2020

Only 4 spots available!
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
Let's make 2021 a better year!
Visit https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCbeupsBm5mMvNcce6lJFGxQ to watch more of EricsHouse youtube videos.
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.