Welcome to March 2022! Spring is upon us. A time for renewal, blooming, and growth. As we enter a new month, allow yourself to take each day as it comes. Feel the warmth of the sun, smell the aromatic flowers, and listen to the birds as they chirp. Nature truly has a way of grounding us. It provides a healing hug. Moments outdoors teach us the beauty of stillness and how to overcome adversity. Even after a cold winter blizzard that freezes the soil, with time, and healing nature blooms again.
"Spring will come and so will happiness. Hold on. Life will get warmer."- Anita Krizzan
Happy March! This is a month where we begin to see signs that spring is near and cold winters are behind us. This is my favorite time of year to sit in the sun, especially before the temperatures reach 100° F in Phoenix, AZ. We think of spring as a time of rebirth. But for those of us who are newly bereaved, we might find it darker and more frightening than ever before. Like the changing seasons, our grief is always moving, evolving, and transforming.
On February 4th, I lost another sister, my oldest sister Lois, my best friend, who passed unexpectedly from natural causes. I could not help comparing this loss to the loss of my younger brother, my younger sister, my friend Karen, mom and dad, and my son Eric. Each one of these provided a vastly unique experience of loss – some causing more pain than others. I found myself walking with heavy steps, hunched over, unsure of what had just happened in my life. I found myself wanting to isolate. I found myself wondering why and how this could have happened. I found myself in a state of shock and surrounded by that fog that we all feel when we lose someone dear to us. You can relate! What I have learned from my losses is that whatever I am feeling is okay, and it is normal!
It is okay to be in shock.
It is okay to feel numb.
It is okay to be in a fog.
It is okay to feel your world has just fallen apart.
In our work at EricsHouse, we help you understand there is no right way or wrong way to grieve. Intense grief may evoke many different feelings and emotions, but it cannot hurt you. And while you do experience deep pain and sorrow, you eventually learn to accept your loss, find hope in living, and move toward a new and different normal. Some things will remain the same, and some may change because life has changed. I encourage you to explore the unknown feelings of pain and sorrow and allow yourself to discover the ways in which your loss can transform you in positive and unexpected ways.
Dr. Alan Wolfelt is a friend and mentor. He has taught many people the art of companioning the bereaved . . . the core of the EricsHouse model.
Alan often speaks of his “Rule of Thirds”, the idea that, in grief, we discover that the people in our lives generally fall into one of three categories:
One third of those in your life are essentially neutral in response to your grief. They say “Let me know how I can help”, knowing you never will. You see them occasionally, they never talk about your lost loved one, often ask how you are doing (unless you tell them the truth too often) and move on. They won’t help or hinder your journey.
Another third of the people in your life are actually harmful to you in your efforts to express your grief in mourning and begin healing. They may be well intentioned, even motivated by love for you, but they will try to take your grief away from you. They push you to move on, or they may judge you (“Where is your faith in God?”). They strive to make you back into the person you were before your loss, to get you to return to normal – not realizing that the person you were before your loss no longer exists. These people try to pull you off the path to healing and they do not belong on your grief journey.
Dr. Wolfelt posits that one third of the people in your life will turn out to be truly empathetic helpers. They have a desire to understand you and your unique thoughts and feelings about the death of your loved one. They demonstrate a willingness to be taught by you and a recognition that you are the expert of your experience, not them. They will be willing to encounter your pain and suffering without feeling the need to take it away from you. They will believe in your capacity to heal. These are the companions you need; they are golden.
At the risk of contradicting the master, while I accept this characterization of the people we encounter as we journey through our personal wilderness of grief into these three categories, I have not found the proportions correct.
I find that most people are in the “Neutral” category – it takes the least effort and commitment.
The “Harmful” category is second largest – it requires some energy . . . and often self-righteous zeal to try to direct another’s grief.
The category of “Helpers” is far smaller in my experience. They are open, committed, and patient. They are curious about your loved one and your grief over their loss. They love to hear their stories . . . over and over. They walk beside us. They celebrate our healing and our discovery of our new identities. Cherish them.
So I take the liberty of slightly modifying Dr. Wolfelt’s ‘Rule of Thirds’ into my ‘Rule of Three’. I am filled with gratitude for the helpers and companions on my journey.
Support Sarah to
EricsHouse is proud to support our friend Sarah Sternberg as she runs for EricsHouse! Please donate!
“When my mom died by suicide over two decades ago I wish I had an EricsHouse to go to. Grief counseling is so important to healing. I’m running to raise money for EricsHouse so no loss survivor goes unheard after the tragic death of a loved one.”- Sarah
Introducing a new way to GIVE BACK to EricsHouse presented by CAR Easy.
Donate your car, truck, motorcycle, RV, or boat to EricsHouse by simply clicking the button and completing the form below. Car Easy will reach out to you to arrange the pick-up of your vehicle donation, at no cost to you. You may qualify for a tax deduction while supporting a cause that is near and dear to your heart!
AZ Gives Day is a chance to give back to your community and raise awareness. EricsHouse is a proud participant. On April 5th please consider supporting our cause of providing healing resources to those who suddenly lost someone they love. With a specialization in suicide and substance abuse losses, we walk alongside our clients with understanding, compassion, and encouragement so that they may achieve emotional, physical, and spiritual well-being.
EricsHouse is looking for volunteers!
EricsHouse is in need of volunteers to help us fulfill our mission. We are seeking compassionate and talented individuals who are willing to volunteer their time to help carry out our vision that no person who is bereaved by suicide or substance abuse will suffer these devastating losses alone.
We are seeking to expand in the following positions:
Certified EFT Tapping Specialist: Emotional freedom technique (EFT) is an alternative treatment for physical pain and emotional distress. EricsHouse would like to work with a trained tapping specialist who is available to work with clients for 2-3 hours per week.
Distance Reiki Practitioner: Reiki is administered by a certified practitioner. It helps the body move into the parasympathetic nervous system which is difficult for a person in grief to achieve due to anxiety and stress. When in the parasympathetic nervous system, the body is able to appropriately manage and lessen the dominating intensity of emotions without medication or side effects. Reiki can also be administered without touch and even at a great distance without any detriment to its effectiveness. EricsHouse is looking to collaborate with a distance Reiki Practitioner who may work with clients via Zoom for 2-3 hours per week.
Graphic Artist: We would like to add a design and social media expert to our network of volunteers. Duties would include creating and posting 3-4 graphics a week to our social media platforms. Also willing to share ideas on how to optimize social media presence and interactions.
Support Group Facilitators: Our support groups are an essential way of allowing us to come as one to provide hope and healing to loss survivors. EricsHouse has several support groups throughout the year. We are interetsed in connecting with loss survivors who have lost a child, spouse/significant other, or a sibling to alcohol, drugs, or suicide that are willing to be trained to run support groups. More details about the process and extent of training may be given upon inquired requests.
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.
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.