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Grieving family connect with others to promote healing

FORT WAYNE,Ind. (WPTA21)- For families at Erin’s House, grieving is made easier when they connect with other families just like them.

Melissa Short lost her husband a year and a half ago. She and her three children, Zeke, Zane and Zahvia say it was very hard to heal from their loss.

“[For] The kids, he worked a lot so it still felt like he was at work and last November Lutheran did a memorial ornament event and it really hit them then and I knew we needed someone, we needed help,” Short said.

That’s when they found Erin’s House, a place where the family was able to heal with people going through the same grief.

“I cry every time because they get it and I know I can cry and they won’t think I’m crazy, or something’s wrong with me, they understand,” Short said.

Children and families get together and connect with others. Through activities, games, arts and crafts, the children and their caregivers are given a safe space to share their stories. Eric Baker said he works at Erin’s House to be able to connect with the kids and their families.

“During a time when you lose people, you lose family members and friends, you need someone there to support you, so that’s a big part of why I do this is to support children on that level,” Baker said.

Each night, families share a meal and split up into groups based on their age group.

“Us being in the group, talking about it with different steps, we were able to come together, they’re able to help you understand why,” Short said.

Short’s husband Jason was just 46 when he passed away unexpectedly after getting the flu. The family laughed as they remembered how he loved Spongebob and even believed big foot was real.

“We want to hear the funny stories, we want to hear the laughs we want to hear what was so special about our someone,” Short said.

She said remembering the good times are what keep her husband’s spirit alive.

“We talk about daddy everyday he’s not here but he’s still alive, he’s still a part of our family, and we will see him again one day,” Short said.

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Arielle Cadet

Arielle Cadet joined WPTA in August 2019. The Atlanta, Georgia native graduated from the University of Missouri and serves as Weekend Anchor/MMJ for ABC21. Feel free to connect with her on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, or shoot her an email at

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