By Jeremiah Sosa
Photo Courtesy of EricsHouse
Losing a child can be an unbearable pain for any parent to go through. For Marianne Gouveia, losing her son Eric James to suicide six years ago was no different. Amid her grief, Gouveia tried to look for a support system outside of her counselor that could help her get through the loss, however, she wasn’t able to find one. That is why in 2017 she decided to create EricsHouse, a local nonprofit organization that offers in-person and virtual services for people who have lost someone to alcohol, drugs, suicide, or any other form of self-harm.
“For me it was necessary to find a way to turn my loss into good for others,” Gouveia says. “So now, instead of looking at my loss as a terrible, horrible thing—which of course it was and still is—I found a way to grow from my struggle. I found a way to help others and to integrate my loss into my life in a healthy way.”
“Losing someone in this traumatic way comes with stigma, shame, and a different type of grief—it doesn’t just go away over time,” explains Patty Kincaid, ACC, Board Vice-Chairman at EricsHouse. “Our nonprofit offers grief support groups and one-on-one grief companioning along with holistic services that help heal the whole person.”
The EricsHouse team are all loss survivors themselves and can support clients without the judgement that often comes with these losses. Grief Companions receive over 150 hours of grief education taught by Dr. Alan Wolfelt, one of the world’s foremost grief experts.
Kincaid shares that grieving parents are invited to join the Emmaus In-Person Retreat happening May 27-29. This workshop is for anyone who has lost a child, regardless of the reason or the length of time. Registration is required via the EricsHouse website.
EricsHouse has multiple facets of their organization that allow not only locals to get involved, but those around the country as well. They offer virtual women and men’s support groups, as well as integrative grief care, which includes grief companioning, spiritual direction, health coaching, and reiki. With the numerous forms of healing that they offer, EricsHouse has received praise from many people that they’ve helped over the years.
“We get all kinds of wonderful feedback, and the reason for that is because we have an integrative model,” Gouveia says. “It’s not just counseling. We do breath work, energy work, and we teach grief education so people understand what it is what they’re feeling. We really give them a vocabulary to understand what they’re feeling so that they have a language when they are deep in their grief.”
To learn more about EricsHouse, their multiple services, and volunteer or donation opportunities, visit ericshouse.org.