"Life is a beautiful collage of priceless moments and memories, which when pieced all together create a unique, treasured masterpiece."
-Melanie M. Koulouris
Dear EricsHouse Community,
Welcome to January 2021! A great time to reflect within ourselves about what we would like to see for us this year. Many of us can have difficulty imagining the future without our loved ones, and we tend to neglect the present moment as overwhelming waves of grief inhibit our spirit. It is important to honor our grief and give it the attention it needs as grief extends from the deep and rooted love we have for our loved ones. It is also essential to remember the beauty of that love that made life so special and learn to translate that beauty into the present moment.
We are launching a series of new support groups beginning in March.
I love the month of January. While it symbolizes something different for everyone. Besides decluttering my closet and my junk drawer, it signifies new possibilities and ideas. It is also a time to reflect on past experiences and contemplate what may come for you in the new year.
This means that while we push forward, we may miss opportunities to learn and grow, remember those we love, and take time to let go of the past to make room for growth. It might also mean the looking back may lead to new understandings about the future “you”.
As I was planning for 2021, I was reminded to look backward with gratitude for all that we did in 2020. I want to share the accomplishments of our amazing team.
We provided hundreds of grief support sessions to individuals who had nowhere to turn after the traumatic loss of someone dear to them.
We launched our virtual support model, enabling us to reach people all over the US, Canada, and Mexico.
We created a training program for new grief support specialists, many of whom are loss survivors who have worked through the devastating experience of losing someone to suicide, substance abuse, or sudden loss.
We had our very first on-line fundraiser generating over $70,000 in donations – all of which will support our mission to heal broken hearts.
We managed to provide two giant boxes of toys for the local St. Vincent de Paul Christmas toy drive.
We had a very successful Giving Tuesday Campaign and numerous Facebook birthday fundraisers.
To our Donors: Thank you to all of you for your generosity in helping us reach our goals.
To our Clients: I know the difficult journey you face as you try to make sense of your losses. We keep each of you close to our hearts, and we walk side-by-side with you as you begin to look toward the future with hope and renewal. Thank you for trusting our team with your deepest sorrows. We love you and will always be here for you.
To our amazing Team: Greg Eckerman, Patty Kincaid, Jean Nictakis, Marisela Marquez, Judy Zimet, Robert Gruler, Eric Ess, Karen Janusz, Kathleen Benjamin, Jill McMahon, Marsheila Toupal, to all of our grief specialists, and the many volunteers who have supported our mission in 2020. Thank you all – you have the hearts of caregivers!
We have much to do in 2021:
We will expand our reach to be able to support more people in need across the US.
We have added a variety of new support groups that focus on the specific needs of those struggling with loss, including a new support group for COVID loss and loss of a spouse or partner.
We will continue to develop and train new loss survivors who wish to give back by helping others through their losses.
We will develop and launch new grief workshops and retreats.
We will increase our donor base to continue to enable our mission.
Sharing our organization with others who may need help.
Supporting us throughout the year with donations – stay tuned for our fundraising schedule.
Eric loved the holidays. They will probably always be bittersweet for our family, but every year I find a little more hope for the new year and gratitude for the blessings in my life – including all of you.
Happy New Year, Blessings of Health, Happiness, and Love
*** NEW VIRTUAL SUPPORT GROUPS FOR 2021 ***
EricsHouse is launching several new support groups. Visit our website (https://www.ericshouse.org/support-groups/) for more information.
These groups will run for 9 weeks and begin on March 2 --
Women's Suicide Support Group
Substance Loss Support Group
Sudden Loss Support Group
COVID Loss Support Group
A Men's Group will run for 8 weeks and will begin on February 16.
Women's Support Group for Loss of Spouse will run for 9 weeks and will begin on February 9.
As a business leader, Marianne Gouveia was a successful executive working in aerospace nearly 30 years when she decided to leave corporate America to become an executive coach. Her youngest son Eric struggled with medically prescribed opioids from a high school injury. He had seven surgeries and was left with chronic pain, but eventually his injury became more about addiction than it did about pain and he transitioned to heroin.
The shame and disappointment he carried in his heart created a moment when he made the choice to end his life. Through the loss of Eric, she chose to create a safe place to promote both traditional and alternative forms of healing so there is help for everyone touched by these horrible and devastating epidemics. This was the birth of EricsHouse.
Before COVID-19 changed all of our lives, my busy travel and teaching schedule had me hopping. Most mornings after I woke up, I went straight to work. I had a love-hate relationship with the adrenaline of stress. I was a slave to emails, itineraries, deadlines, and flight schedules. Now I’m in limbo. With most of my presentations postponed or canceled, I’m home. I have time to linger over my morning cup of coffee. I have time to breathe and to think. I have time to marvel at the sunrise.
More and more, what I’ve found myself thinking about is gratitude. I’m feeling so grateful for my life these days that I’m often awash in the warm fuzziness of appreciation. The feeling sneaks up on me when I’m having an inconsequential chat with my wife or puttering around in my kitchen. It blooms when I gaze out the window or think about my new grandson.
During this morning’s sunrise, I sat down to give more thought to how this pandemic has created an opportunity to wake up to the power of gratitude. As I inventory my gratitude in this article, I invite you to do the same.
The masculine griever has a tough row to hoe. We first must acknowledge that, while it’s possible that we could get through this ourselves, it’s tough to do it alone. The odds of success go way up with good support. We then must recognize and react to all the BS society subjects us to: ‘men don’t cry’, ‘man-up, suck it up, and move on’. 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.
Watch a panel of experts talk about how sound can help and impact the body. Listen to how instruments like the gong resonates with all cells of the body, and how the vibrations act as nutrients for the nervous system.
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.