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Holding Space

Land Acknowledgment: We acknowledge that this beautiful land that we call our home was forcibly vacated of its original and rightful caretakers, the Iswa (Catawba) and Gadua (Cherokee) people who have cared for it for millennia and, through resilience and persistence, despite generations of state-supported acts of removal and genocide, continue to do so. 

Potluck December 20

December Potluck

Please join us this Wednesday, December 20th, from 6-9pm at our home at 34 Blue Ridge Avenue, Asheville. *Indoors

*Covid Precautions will be in effect*
A same-day negative Covid test is required to participate. Masking will be optional. A heated outdoor space will be provided for those desiring open air.

Bring a dish, a guest, but please leave pets and Covid at home.*
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.
*If you are feeling at all unwell – cough, sniffles, fever, nausea, or anything out of the ordinary – please refrain from joining this time.
Potlucks are recurring every 3rd Wednesday, so we’ll catch you at the next one: Jan. 17th!

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. 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, where all activity of the potluck will take place.

What Exactly is Holding Space?

People often mistakenly refer to our house as “Holding Space”. The correction that it’s just our house is often met with confusion. Understandably so, as it is unusual that we invite folks to die in our personal home. The home’s size, layout, and our intention to provide space and support to those facing the end of life feed into the confusion — not to mention that it has an actual parking lot! It is, however, our privately owned home and fully independent of Holding Space. Our home is not an institution, and we neither promise nor provide the services that family care homes or nursing facilities can deliver. Our house does not have a name beyond its address.

So what is Holding Space, then? Holding Space is the informal short hand for Holding Space for Living & Dying, LLC, the nonprofit entity we founded to create structure around this household experiment. It gives us a phone number so that people can reach out to us about whether our home is suitable for themselves, their loved one, or their client. It provides a contact for others who, like us, are dreaming up unorthodox solutions to the shortcomings in end-of-life care, allowing us to brainstorm our different approaches together and refine each of our niches. As a 501c3, we are able to tap into resources that we couldn’t as private citizens. We were able to apply and receive an amazing team of designers and programmers to create our website and logo through Make a Mark. We were able to apply and receive an Americorps team to help us with projects at our home, neighborhood, and region. We can receive tax deductible donations, to help offset any costs associated with providing that added layer of support to a dying housemate. The decision to form a nonprofit around this idea is not one that came easy. Choosing to participate in the nonprofit industrial complex brings with it complexity and ethical dilemmas (further reading here). We purposely keep the nonprofit and any associated income and overhead minimal. We are a fledgling group of board members and housemates, who believe in this idea that shared housing could be an option, albeit a very niche option at the moment, to help with the fear and isolation and burnout that caregivers and their loved ones often face.

Right now, the “work” of the nonprofit looks a lot like just our lives. In this moment, the activity and exploration almost exclusively takes place at our personal home at 34 Blue Ridge Avenue. It looks like conversations about end-of-life with people who reach out to us, over the phone or zoom, or in the sunroom or on the porch. It looks like our third Wednesday monthly potluck for members of our household, community, and the interested public. It looks like the daily life of our household, learning to live and communicate, and share and care for our home and spaces, becoming a place that is welcoming for when we do have a housemate dying with us. 

The goal is that these ideas about how end-of-life care can be better don’t just develop and happen here at our house, and isn’t special to our house. The goal is that our community and those who interact with it, can be creative about what supporting our friends and loved ones can look like. So for now, “Holding Space” might be the shorthand label that we’ve asked the IRS to give the underlying mission and vision. But in practice, quite intentionally, we are just us, just our housemates, just our home at 34 Blue Ridge Avenue.

Our Mission

Holding Space was created to improve the quality of life and death for those with a terminal illness and their caregivers by offering support to meet basic needs, connect with community and create meaning.

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