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March 2024

March 2024
Dear EricsHouse Community,

Welcome to March 2024! March 19th marks the start of Spring. The changing of the seasons can provoke deep emotions such as longing, nostalgia, relief, hope, and many other unique feelings. Spring might also evoke renewal. Temperatures rise, the sun shines, greenery, and brightly colored flowers bloom. The process of nature blossoming again is a tangible reminder of rejuvenation. Through the seasons of grief may rays of light shine through the darkness. The poem below beautifully pairs language with powerful imagery. 

As Seasons Change As We
by Deborah M. Vanderwood

To everything there is a season,
A time of gladness, grief and cheer,
Smiles of laughter, sadness of tears,
For every sunset there's a sunrise,
There is no rainbow without the rain,
No summer time without the spring,
Golden days and frosty nights,
Icy winds throughout the days,

With winters newly fallen snows,
Whose years are like the seasons,
Let the future hold no doubt,
There'll come a change of scene,
With rain bound skies of hope and love,
I have seen your different faces,
Life is like the changing seasons,
Upward always climb,
As the seasons change as we.
Connect With Us:
The Beauty of Spring and New Beginnings by Marianne Gouveia
The start of Spring on March 19th brings warmer days and beauty blooming all around. During this season I am reminded of the idea of transformation. Out of the dark days of Winter comes emerging sun and new energy. Spring symbolizes renewal, rebirth, and fresh beginnings. 

Losing a precious loved one naturally causes many changes in one’s identity, family dynamics, and priorities. Through this journey you will likely meet deeper vulnerabilities, thoughts, feelings, and emotions. Grief often involves going into the darkest depths of one's being. The journey does not have orderly seasons, paths, or timelines to follow. 

I continually observe how those who know grief are some of the most compassionate, understanding, patient, and vulnerable people. It takes powerful perseverance to continue to take grief by the hand and learn how to follow its unique unfolding.

Ways to Honor your Loved One and Yourself this Spring:

  • Plant some colorful flowers to create a special memorial garden 
  • Bake your loved ones favorite treat 
  • Write down a memory about your loved one and Springtime
  • Spend time outside and listen to the birds chirping 
  • Reflect on ideas, emotions, and feelings you would like to release and invite in

Remember, the light still shines rays that beam through the dark. Openly mourning, grieving, honoring yourself, and sharing the legacy of your loved one creates space for many things including transformation. This Spring may you be open to all of the possibilities and feelings you hold in your heart each day.
Ruminations on Grief Styles in Preparation for the Men's Retreat
by Greg Eckerman
I’ve pondered the differences in grief styles for some time now. Starting with the premise that men and women grieve differently, then acknowledging that many men and women grieve in ways that fit those masculine or feminine patterns… but some don’t.  

That led to an understanding that there is a spectrum of grief styles from Instrumental (typically masculine) to Intuitive (typically feminine). In that model: no grief style is better than another; grief survivors fall all along that spectrum; those who share our losses may have very different styles, while grieving just as deeply; and that our grief styles can change over the course of our journey.

As I prepare for our Men’s Retreat at the end of April, I find myself reconsidering that original position. Do most men grieve differently from most women?

The Men’s Retreat is a project of our Journey Onward Men’s Group. Most of us have been together for a long time, some through more than half a dozen previous Men’s Groups. We have gotten to know one another at our lowest. We lift each other up. Most of us have no other connections in our life that allow us to freely express our sadness, anger, or regret (or to actually cry). But, with a few exceptions, we only know each other remotely, through a Zoom image. The retreat aims to correct that and perhaps better understand why we grieve differently.

Many men (and women, to be fair) shed the friendships of youth as we age. We get caught up in careers, family, and social obligations.Those guys you thought would be buds for life show up less and less often. We build up our armor against life’s challenges without realizing how effectively they work as a barrier to connection. As a husband, a dad, or a business person we believe we can’t show weakness, we must stand alone and strong.

And then life throws us a tragic curveball, a loss that we can’t handle alone.

I think our Men’s Groups work so well because we fill a need beyond grief support. We build connections and a safe space to explore who and where we are in the wake of our losses. I believe these will be lasting friendships.

I’m so excited to see where the Men’s Retreat takes us. We’ll be staying in cabins on beautiful Oak Creek, north of Sedona, from April 26-28. We’ll be making and breaking bread together, telling our stories, and exploring our next steps through the wilderness.

We have a few open slots for this retreat. We welcome men grieving the loss of a loved one to substance abuse or suicide. Come sit by the fire with us. Please contact Greg ([email protected]) or Madi ([email protected]) for more information.

Maybe we can figure out this whole men-women grief spectrum thing.
In-Person Event in Mesa, Arizona!
Join us under the Full Moon as we walk together in a desert oasis labyrinth! You are invited 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.

This is an in-person event, details of the location will be provided to you upon registration.

There is no fee for this event; your love donation is appreciated!
EricsHouse coins are a tangible way to hold space for the analogy of love and loss. None of us would ever willingly reduce the pain of our grief if it meant losing any of the love behind it.

EricsHouse facilitators, Greg Eckerman and Matthew Burg plus the Men’s support group members collaborated on designing this unique coin. A special thank you to all of them!

Two inches in diameter, these coins are substantial and tactile. One side has the infinity heart, symbolizing eternal love. It includes the phrases: “The only way past the pain is through it” and “You are not alone”. The other side has a stylized representation of Melancholy, a sculpture created by Albert Gyorgy, and the phrase: “The Greater the Love, The Greater the Pain”.

We are using the EricsHouse coin as a fundraiser to help us to continue providing integrative grief care support to loss survivors. Please let us know if you would like one for yourself or someone else on their own grief journey.