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February 2022

February Newsletter
Dear EricsHouse Community,

Welcome to February 2022! Love is eternal and knows no bounds. When your heart aches and you are missing your loved ones, remember there ways to connect with them. You can write them a letter, go to their favorite place, or share their memory with those you trust. It is important to do things that promote healing and do not trigger you. Whenever you feel alone, know that EricsHouse is surrounding you with support, compassion, and love.

Connect With Us:
Letter From Our Founder
Marianne Gouveia
Moving Beyond Guilt

Feeling guilt after a traumatic loss, especially one that involves self-harm, is a normal and natural response. It is a necessary part of the grieving process because when we lose someone we have been caring for through the ups and downs of mental health or addiction challenges, we naturally try to understand the ‘whys’ and often feel responsible for not having prevented their deaths. Yes, carrying guilt is a difficult and painful part of the grieving process, but on the tumultuous path to healing, we can accept it as a natural feeling and even learn from it.

What is guilt? Guilt is a response to one’s own action or lack of action, real or imagined. When we gently confront our guilt, understand it, accept that it is a normal human emotion, it loses its power over us, and frees us to move on. And when we can learn from it, guilt can change the lens in which we view our lives and the lives of those around us, including our lost loved ones.  

The night my son Eric died; we had a wonderful conversation. We agreed to have a pancake breakfast together the next morning. But when he didn’t answer his phone that morning, I instinctively knew I had lost him. I was not prepared for what I found that fateful Saturday morning. What if I had . . . .? Why did I . . . .? Why couldn’t I protect him? If I had only seen the warning signs, could I have prevented this? My mind often raced with thoughts of things I could have done differently.

But what is the truth? If I was able to answer all those questions, how would I know the outcome would have been different? I can’t know. So, I had to look long and hard at the truth of my journey with my sweet boy. What I know for certain is that I walked every inch of every mile with him until the day he died. And now, he walks with me on my journey of life without him here on this earth.

When we love someone deeply, we want to protect them. When they struggle, we struggle right along with them. And while we do everything in our power to support them, to help them, there is no manual to tell us how to be their caregiver. So, we do the very best that we can. Knowing that, we can rest in the truth that no matter how deep our pain is, we did the best that we could as imperfect beings in this imperfect world.

I have to confess that I have experienced guilt in many different ways. But what I have learned from my guilt is that we can never fully understand the struggles of others. So, taking right action for me includes:

  • Showing love and kindness as the rule, and not an exception
  • Being open-minded, with authenticity and humility, eliminating all judgement and being a supportive listener
  • Recognizing that everyone struggles in one way or another, and we cannot know the depth of their challenges unless we have walked in their shoes
  • Facing our situations truthfully can help us see more clearly, allowing us to forgive ourselves for what we did or did not do – sometimes that right action must be focused on ourselves

In our journey to integrate our losses into our lives in a healthy way, I try to remember that guilt is one of the most misunderstood of our human emotions. It can destroy our sense of well-being and leave us feeling immobilized. It can keep us stalled and create an impasse to progress on our grief journey.  

We all have a conscience – when we feel we have failed in some way, we can forgive ourselves and learn from it. We can continue along our path to heal from our most devastating losses. When those “guilt triggers” occur, we can remember that unending remorse keeps us trapped. And perhaps most difficult of all, and most healing, we can learn to love ourselves for having done the best we could under difficult circumstances.  

When guilt stops you, talk it through with a trusted friend, do something enjoyable, and remember that guilt is a normal part of grieving, and grieving is a continuation of our love.  

Wishing you love and peace on this journey,
Marianne Gouveia
Founder and Chairman
EricsHouse Inc.

Virtual Grief Support Groups
Finding Your Way Through the Wilderness of Grief:
Virtual Support Group for Men

The masculine griever has a tough row to hoe. We first must acknowledge that, while it’s possible that we could get through great loss on our own, it’s more difficult to do it alone. The odds of success go way up with good support. We then must recognize and find our way past all the expectations society subjects us to: ‘men don’t cry’, ‘man-up, suck it up, move on . . . and get back to work’. Then we need to find a safe place, trusted companions, and a forum to express ourselves. 

When I try to articulate the benefits and support I’ve received from the guys who’ve joined me in the EricsHouse Men’s Group I come face to face with my own limitations. I found the following from Richard Rohr:

When you risk sharing what hurts the most in the presence of someone who will not invade you or abandon you, you can learn not to invade or abandon yourself. Even deeper down, when you risk sharing what hurts the most in the presence of someone who will not invade you or abandon you, you can discover within yourself . . . the pearl of great price, your invincible preciousness in the midst of your fragility.

Through humility and vulnerability, the true strength of being empowered, our manhood comes forth.

That manhood gives us the courage to face the most broken and lost places within ourselves, discovering through that acceptance the oceanic tender mercy that sustains us in that brokenness, so that by learning to be this way ourselves we can pass it on to others. We can be someone in whose presence it's safe to be vulnerable and to be open, and truly courageous and strong and powerful.

That’s why we do this.   

We are a new Men’s Groups this spring at EricsHouse:

Finding Our Way (Through Our Own Wilderness of Grief) – a closed group for up to 12 guys that will meet for 9 consecutive weeks in a virtual format. This group is designed for men on their personal grief journeys, struggling to accept the reality of their loss and learning to embrace their pain while remembering their lost loved one and moving toward the hope of new found meaning and purpose.

We’ve chosen a virtual forum for these groups because it allows us to reach men across North America . . . and because we’ve proven it can work very effectively in our existing groups. The groups will be facilitated by Greg Eckerman, cofounder of EricsHouse, a suicide loss survivor, and EricsHouse Grief Companion.

Meetings will meet weekly every Tuesday virtually at 6:00 PM. Sessions begin on February 8 and end on April 4. 

If you, or a man you know, are struggling with how to survive a loss to substance abuse, suicide, or sudden traumatic death please consider one of these Men’s Groups. Contact Greg Eckerman at greg@ericshouse.org or call 480-734-3423 for more information and to discuss whether these groups might be right for you.
Finding Your Way Through The Wilderness of Grief:
Virtual Support Group for
All Life Partners/Spouses
Who Have Suddenly Lost Their
Partner or Spouse
Sudden loss of a loved one is shocking and hard to process. If you have suddenly lost your partner or spouse you are most likely experiencing complicated grief. This might cause you to feel extremely alone, disoriented, guilty, and overwhelmed. Our group is open to all life partners/who have experienced the traumatic and premature loss of their partner or spouse. Sudden loss can mean anything from suicide, substance abuse, accident, homicide or illness. We kindly invite you to join our group. We may work through a complicated set of emotions in a supportive and comfortable environment. Our groups provide a safe, intimate place to talk about your feelings of loss and to remember the one who passed.

Meetings will be virtual. This support group meets biweekly on Monday at 6:00 PM MST. Sessions begin on February 28th and end on June 20th.

This group is co-facilitated by Kim and April. Please email Kim at kim@ericshouse.org. Pre-registration is required!
The Journey Through Grief: Support Group for
Newly Bereaved Parents Who Have Lost a Child to Suicide or Substance Abuse
We would like to express our deepest condolences to you and your loved ones after the loss of your child. When you’re newly bereaved, suddenly you find yourself on an emotional roller-coaster where you have no idea what to expect next. This group designed for both men and women focuses on the Six Needs of Mourning developed by Dr. Alan Wolfelt, Founder of the Center for Loss in Ft. Collins, CO. It is also focused on supporting parents who have lost a child to suicide, substance, or other forms of self-harm where the layers of grief are quite complex.

You will learn what to expect throughout this journey as well as learn some coping skills that will help support you, especially in the early weeks and months of your loss. This group is facilitated by Greg Eckerman and Marianne Gouveia, a married couple who has lost a child to suicide. They will share their experiences and insights and experiences and you will also hear from other parents who are facing the same devastating loss.

This support group meets virtually every week on Thursdays at
6:00 PM MST. Sessions begin on March 24th and end on April 28th. We will follow The Journey Through Grief: Reflections on Healing by Dr. Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph. D.

To see if this is the right group for you please contact Marianne via email at marianne@ericshouse.org or by phone 602-549-8932. You can also reach out to Greg via email at greg@ericshouse.org or by phone 480-734-3423. Pre-registration required!
Join us for the Full Moon Labyrinth Walk. The 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.

There is no charge for this event but you must register to attend.
EricsHouse Presents: The Tree of Life!
A Way to Honor Your Loved One.
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 will hold 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. Only donations through the Tree of Life campaign will receive a leaf. Leaves may also be purchased for friends and family as a gift in their loved one’s honor.
Leaves available NOW!
EricsHouse is looking for more
Grief Companions!
Are you interested in learning more about becoming a Certified Grief Companion at EricsHouse?

The companioning model of grief was developed by Dr. Alan Wolfelt. Grief companions provide one-on-one support to help people navigate through their grief journey. 

For more information email marianne@ericshouse.org