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Holding Space for Living and Dying Logo, a large teal letter "H" with a house as the lower space

Land Acknowledgment: We acknowledge that this beautiful land that we call our home was forcibly and violently vacated of its original and rightful caretakers, the Iswa (Catawba) and AniKituhwa (Cherokee) peoples who have lived as relatives to the land for millennia and, through resilience and persistence, despite generations of state-supported acts of removal and genocide, continue to do so. Our intent in this acknowledgment is to strive to be adequate stewards of this land for its eventual return, and liberation from so called “ownership”. Learn more about the Indian Removal Act that dispossessed entire peoples while continuing to benefit us, as the settler-colonizers who live here today. Learn about and support the Cherokee peoples in Oklahoma and North Carolina.

Melissa Limes in the foreground faces a group of 3 others at a table of food and drinks. At the far background is another small group at another table.

Holding Space board member Melissa Limes sits at a table at last month’s potluck, with another group seen in the distance in the background. 

Outdoor Potluck Continues

Please join us this Wednesday, July 21st at our home at 34 Blue Ridge Avenue, Asheville from 6pm to 9pm. Bring a dish, a guest, but please leave pets at home (service animals excepted). To keep a comfortable distance, and with consideration for very young and otherwise more vulnerable people, it will be outside and capped at 40. Please RSVP by following this link if you plan to attend. 

Refer to the CDC guidelines for the most up to date science of COVID19, what is known and currently still being learned, at this link. Masks will be provided and available, along with plenty of space outdoors, and outdoor handwashing station.

We welcome neighbors, friends, people interested in or involved with end of life work, and colleagues to come together to share a meal and strengthen connections. Meet new people; expand and deepen your community.

The grounds include a paved driveway, and while navigable by wheelchair, the yard pathways are grass with some uneven areas. There is a ramp into the house for bathroom access.

Map of house in relation to large parking lot on Haywood Road at West Asheville Baptist Church

(While there are a few parking spaces right next to the house, please reserve this for people needing to park close. Please do not park on the grass – there are fig trees planted there. There is a Baptist Church on the corner of the next street over, Mitchell Ave, and Haywood Road, that has a large parking lot 0.2mi from the house. The house itself has a ramp that can be used by people who use a wheelchair to get into the main floor of the house if needed; all activity of the potluck will take place outdoors.)

A still from Lifetime's 2017 remake of Beaches

A still from Lifetime’s 2017 remake of the film Beaches. CC (Idina Menzel) comforts her lifelong friend Hillary (Nia Long) after she has fallen on the floor of the beach house where Hillary, who has end stage congestive heart failure, has chosen to stay in her last days. 
Why Shared Housing at the End of Life?

Sometimes art and movies can act as distillations of concepts even if the universe the characters live in is impossibly resource-rich while at the same time remarkably isolated. Recently, a patient of mine was in the mood for a good cry, so we loaded up Lifetime’s 2017 remake of the film Beaches, available to watch on Pluto TV with many, many ads. 

Near the end of the movie, rich successful lawyer Hillary, played by Nia Long, has tragically been diagnosed with a hereditary form of congestive heart failure, and decides to move into her summer beach house, to spend her last days with her young daughter, and her rich successful singer/actor best friend CC, played by the wickedly talented one and only Adele Dazeem. 

Through the magic of television, these lifelong friends discuss wills, end of life wishes, and provide physical and emotional care for each other, over the course of mere minutes. The only people they interact with are each other, while also caring for and supporting a child. 

Unrealistic as such a situation might be in my life, the essence of what we hope for through Holding Space, is there. Hillary’s desire for a comfortable, familiar space to die, surrounded by the people who mean the most to her. She makes her plans and wishes clear, through wills and advance directives – in a scene plainly stating to CC that she does not want to go to the ER, even as her physical condition deteriorates.

The vast expectation of unpaid family and friend caregivers continues to be documented and studied (Ornstein, et al, 2017). About 1 in 4 end of life unpaid primary caregivers report receiving no help from other friends and family, and over half report having no time to themselves. 

Holding Space strives to foster a sense of community and sharing of space and resources. Shared housing is just one concrete way to cultivate connections, especially for people at the end of life and their primary caregiver(s). 


Gabriel and his Americorps team from 2004-2005 pose at a waterfall

Circa 2005 photo of Americorps NCCC Class XI Blue 2, Gabriel at the far left. 

Holding Space to Host Americorps NCCC Team 

From September 26 – October 18, 2021, we will be hosting an Americorps NCCC team of 18-24 year olds from across the country to build a ramp to the front of the house, accessible pathways through the gardens, and composting area, to create a more inclusive community gathering space. We will also collaborate with other local community groups to provide the team with further connections to the various efforts in our communities. Gabriel had done Americorps NCCC in 2004/2005 and remains friends with many of his teammates. 

Asher Leigh August 14th Backyard Concert

Join Asher Leigh on Aug 14th for a musical evening of sacred remembering, in honor of her mother’s recent death and any other losses you or your loved ones may be grieving.  An open grief circle will be held after music.  7-9pm.  $7-10 suggested, though no one will be turned away.  Please RSVP at radiantsong.asherleigh@gmail.com or holdingspaceasheville@gmail.com for directions.

Holding Space friend Amy Glenn to Hold Grief Work Training in Black Mountain August 1st

Two hands form a heart with their fingers

This summer, join Institute for the Study of Birth, Breath, and Death founder/director Amy Wright Glenn for a 5-hour, in person Grief Work Training Sunday, August 1st 1-6pm EST
*We will gather in Black Mountain, NC ~ outside of Asheville ~ address will be given upon registration.
*All participants must be vaccinated or wear a mask.

Have a Great Month!

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