“This is not about you, Tim...”
Profile by Virginia Wright-Peterson
Photo by Vicki De Boer
Before and after Tim’s wife, Roxie, died of colon cancer, he did a lot of reading about loss and grief. Make new friends was a consistent message in those books and articles. Tim decided that if he had to make new friends, Seasons Hospice would be a good place to start, and it would give him a chance to give back, too.
Since then, Tim has provided direct care, co-facilitated bereavement groups, participated in the speakers bureau and panels, recorded radio spots and serves as a one-to-one bereavement volunteer for Seasons Hospice. He finds direct care particularly rewarding. From his vocation as an attorney, he has learned to become a good listener. He thoroughly enjoys getting to know people and conversation comes easily for him because he is a self-proclaimed “big yapper.”
Roxie was the one who taught Tim about care giving. She was his caregiver before her diagnosis and later during her illness she frequently reminded him, “This is not about you, Tim.” After she died, he remembers not wanting to live five more minutes, and he quickly realized that “this grief thing is a big problem, it’s bigger than me. I knew I needed help. I wondered, ‘What would Roxie do?’ Roxie would get help.”
Now Tim highly recommends grief support for people anticipating loss and afterwards. In a grief group, “you find yourself with people you don’t have to explain yourself to. Everyone understands.” But if someone joins a group and it doesn’t work, Tim suggests joining another one. Keep looking. “It’s like fishing.” He also recommends reading. “Ninety-five percent of what I read didn’t work, but the other five percent changed my life.”
Tim finds that his experience has influenced his law practice. He sometimes finds himself advising clients who are terminally ill. His personal experience with loss and grief brings a new dimension to his practice. Now when he provides estate-planning assistance, he is able to provide advice on hospice and bereavement support at the same time.
When he isn’t in his office or volunteering for Seasons Hospice, Tim is sailing Lake Pepin, making wine, and trout fishing. He has remarried and shares life with his wife, Linda, and adult children, including his youngest son who is on deployment in Iraq.