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October 2023

October 2023
Dear EricsHouse Community,

Welcome to October 2023! In Asian mysticism and Chinese medicine, Fall is referred to as the "grief season." Of course we know grief does not take residence in one season only, it is carried all year long. Fall is associated with both courage and sadness. Two aspects of grieving. Grief requires courage. To face each day while missing loved ones greatly is no easy feat. The leaves that drop from the trees represent things we might need to let go off. Perhaps it is something we need to forgive ourselves for or acknowledging a healthy release of anger. EricsHouse sends comfort and hope to grievers. This Fall give yourself the space to feel your grief, honor your loved one, and find ways to soothe your soul. 

Connect With Us:
A Letter from our Founder-
Marianne Gouveia
Dear Friends of EricsHouse,

Help Us Continue Our Important Work!

EricsHouse is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that provides bereavement services for people living in the aftermath of devastating loss – alcohol, drugs, or suicide. All of these losses are epidemics in our country, and too many times people are left behind to struggle alone. Now more than ever, our services are desperately needed.

October 14th, 2023 is our annual virtual fundraiser where we feature interesting speakers on topics related to grief. 

We will have a fun demonstration of a drum circle – with Andrew Ecker and Monica Patton who will share their “love and gratitude” drumming sounds.  

We will have Christina Ivanhoe, Nicole Shaw, and Sanjeev Javia who will share tips on how to stay healthy after a significant loss, sharing with us how grief affects our bodies.

We will feature segments from our members who have received the benefit of our services including Jacqueline Cole who will talk about living life after loss, and Rachael Carnes who will demonstrate Grief Yoga!

We will hear from members of our successful Men’s Group in a video produced by Mike Heslin, a member and supporter of EricsHouse.

EricsHouse Impact:

  • To date, EricsHouse has provided 1,569 one-on-one grief support sessions for clients.
  • We have held 52 peer-led groups supporting individuals from all walks of life with a total of 3,038 sessions.
  • Taken together, our compassionate and caring support has resulted in 4,877 client sessions since June 2019.
  •  We average 50-60 member sessions per week!

EricsHouse is funded through private donations and the support of our many volunteers who generously give their time to help those in need. What makes our team different is that our caring is real and it is unconditional. We love and care for each of our members. We give through caring, sharing, loving, through being good listeners when others are facing their greatest fears and living in their darkest moments. And through our caring, we save many lives for people struggling to find a way through their darkness.

You can support us by:

  • Tuning in on October 14th to listen to our speakers and participate in our raffle.
  • Sharing our information and donation link givebutter.com/EricsHouse2023 on your social media and to your friends and family.
  • Simply make a donation – every dollar counts.

My wish for all of us is that we be as generous as we can in our giving on October 14th so that we can continue with our work. Every time we assist another we are also renewed and strengthened. This is the blessing of the heart. 

And, if you know someone who is in need of our services, please have them reach out to us. We offer a safe space where people can express their pain with others who have walked this path before them. We want them to know that they are people who care and that hope grows with each step we take.

With love and gratitude,
Marianne Gouveia
Founder & Chairman
A Call to Action by Greg Eckerman
In our society, survivors of loss are often the forgotten victims – especially for highly stigmatized losses like those to substance abuse or suicide.
People don’t want to be confronted with the pain and anguish that the survivors of loss experience, not to mention the possibility of guilt, anger, or shame.

We even do it to ourselves.

It’s ironic – there are so many great organizations and programs focused on prevention and so few on postvention (support for the survivors), but postvention is prevention.

It has been estimated that, for every suicide loss, on the average 6 people are acutely impacted and as many as 137 are directly affected. The effects of losses to substance abuse are likely very similar.

Tragically, many survivors of these losses chose to follow their loved ones. 
An article published by the NIH referenced a study by Crosby and Sacks1 which reported that people who had known someone who died by suicide in the last year were 1.6 times more likely to have suicidal thoughts, 2.9 times more likely to have a plan for suicide, and 3.7 times more likely to have made a suicide attempt themselves.

Even if we don’t suffer from self-destructive ideations, the cost to our mental health and wellbeing is staggering.  

We have all experienced how difficult it is to find effective support for survivors in the wake of these tragic losses.

I like to believe that the effectiveness of the EricsHouse peer support model is reflected in the rapid growth we have experienced across North America.  
Unfortunately, I am also saddened by the implication that very few other effective support models have arisen for Substance Abuse & Suicide Loss survivors in the past few years.  

The unmet need is great.

As lean as our EricsHouse model is, it still costs money to provide our support – and many of those costs are proportional to the number of people we are supporting.

We have gotten this far largely on the generosity of friends and family, but we’ve gone to that well too often.

This message is for our clients: If you, or someone you love, has benefitted from our support we need your help. We need the money to continue meeting the increased need we face. No one should have to go through this alone.

This is our call to action for our October 14th fundraiser!

To help us, would you please create a personal fundraising page on Givebutter? It’s really easy to do and by sharing a bit of yourself and your loved one, you encourage others to get involved in helping us continue our mission.

The steps to set up your page are below. Click on Marianne’s page to get an idea of how they look. If you have any questions please email madison@ericshouse.org.

Step 1: Click this link to join the fundraiser: givebutter.com/EricsHouse2023/join

Step 2: You are welcome to write about what brought you to
 EricsHouse and why 

Step 3: We invite you to insert some photos/videos and share any personal stories about you and your loved one.

You will have your own personal page link to share with friends and family or on your social media! You can also join someone else’s team. Talk to your friends and family about our support model.  

As part of our EricsHouse family, we’re asking you to step up. We’re all in this together.
Our Love is Alive by Jackie Cole
featuring Jeff's Family
I recently enjoyed a lovely conversation with Jeff’s mom, Sharon, about her son and the scholarship that has been established in his name. The story behind the continued funding of this scholarship is a touching account of the love and creativity that Jeff’s family pours into planning the annual event that honors him.

Jeff was a devoted family man, Sharon told me. He was an enthusiastic supporter at his three sons’ sporting events and he worked hard to model the values of service and hard work for his boys. Because he believed strongly in the value of his community’s athletic programs, he donated much time and money in order that local children would have opportunities to participate. 

As a teenager, Jeff began working in the family hardware business. His strong work ethic and business skills made him the perfect person to succeed his proud father. Today, Jeff’s middle son keeps this 55 year-old-business running family-strong. 

After Jeff died, his family knew it was fitting that the scholarship in his name would be awarded to a high school graduate who chose to pursue an education in the skilled trades.

And here is where the story becomes a celebration…

Jeff’s extended family and friends work together every year to host the Emerald Lake Golf Outing in order to raise money for the scholarship.

The annual golf tournament is held on the West Michigan lake where Jeff lived with his wife and 3 sons. Each February, teams gather to drive, putt and slice on the frozen lake where holes have been drilled into the ice and marked with leftover Christmas trees.

The teams’ entry fees are donated to the scholarship but the fund-raising doesn’t end there…

  • Jeff’s sister, a former restaurant owner, prepares her signature chili which is available on shore. Additionally, golfers can order other concessions for snacking during their games… family members on snowmobiles take and deliver orders. 

  • New and returning participants look forward to purchasing a commemorative t-shirt created by Jeff’s oldest son who is a graphic artist and printer.

  • Local businesses donate items and services which are sold in a silent auction. Last year, Sharon stitched a beautiful quilt which, she proudly told me, sold at the auction for $500.

Sharon laughed when I asked her if Jeff had enjoyed golfing. “Not at all!”, she said. But she’s certain that he would be proud of his family and friends who have contributed their time and talents to benefit student’s in the community.
Upcoming Support Groups
Loss of a loved one is devastating. It can drive us into isolation. It defies all the cultural norms we (especially men) subject ourselves to – don’t cry, man up, move on . . . but it’s not that easy. While the pain of our losses may never lessen, it is possible for us to find purpose and meaning in a new version of our lives – to grow around and through our grief.

This group is open to all losses (all relationships) to all self-harm causes (suicide, alcohol, and overdose). It is facilitated by Greg Eckerman and Matthew Burg. 

Growth means:
  • Encountering pain
  • Embracing change
  • Exploring our assumptions about life
  • Finding a new inner balance with no endpoints

Grieving the loss of someone you love is difficult at any time of year. During the holiday season, we often experience intense emotions surrounding our loss. It seems impossible that the world is celebrating, but for those grieving, a sense of loneliness and sadness can overshadow the holiday. Traditional holiday celebrations might feel very upsetting and it might feel like we want to avoid the holiday altogether.

This group will provide you with support and helpful tips on how to navigate the Holidays. We will discuss loved ones, our emotions, honoring our boundaries, and provide options for navigating family and social events. It’s important to know that you aren’t alone, and you can survive the holiday season in a way that allows you to be comfortable and to honor your grief and remember your loved one in ways that are helpful to you.

Spots are limited. Pre-registration is required. To set up a call or for more information about all support groups email madison@ericshouse.org.

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. 

We are asking for a $20 contribution for each coin.

Our Tree of Life holds the names of people lost to suicide and substance use 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. Leaves may also be purchased for friends and family as a gift in their loved one’s honor.