19 Comments

  1. robby porter
    robby porter December 15, 2017 at 9:33 am | | Reply

    Hey Erica,
    I liked this show about Tim. Listened while I ate a plate of sausage and eggs. Cooked the eggs in the sausage grease. Delicious, but very heavy, heart clogging food. Couldn’t help but think about my mortality as I heard Tim discuss his. I also really like the interludes of people talking about building the coffin.
    Robby

  2. barbara
    barbara December 15, 2017 at 11:55 am | | Reply

    This is uniquely a Vermont death and I thoroughly enjoyed Tim’s resolute determination to not fight it, not even think about it, but to simply go with the flow. Good for him. I loved the end when he took his final trip through Montpelier to take a look around from his imperfect casket.

  3. Annie
    Annie December 16, 2017 at 5:12 pm | | Reply

    I’m posting this tribute to Tim by Erica Heilman on FaceBook. Several people have asked me what I think of it…I have not listened to it yet, and it might be a long time before I feel ready to listen to it..but I will say ahead of time that Erica cared deeply for Tim and I am sure this is wonderful. Tim was the 3rd person of great importance in my life whose body I have attended for 3 days after death..the other 2 were in California: my mother and a man I lived with for 12 years. Robby and Jean were not Buddhists, but as luck would have it we had to wait 3 days for an opening at the crematorium. This waiting period brought me a sense of ease that I would not have had otherwise. When Tim’s mother died we didn’t know that we could have her body transported to our home so she rested at a funeral home for 3 days. In all 4 deaths family and friends joined to construct a coffin and then we all drove to the crematorium and all placed the body into the retort. For anyone who finds them self facing the death of a loved one, please be aware that the laws are quite liberal in many states, not just Vermont. You may be able to handle death the way we have learned to handle birth…as though you have a right to make choices that don’t include intrusion by various institutions.
    That all being said, death is still death. Tim is no longer able to define himself and I am reluctant to circumscribe either his life or his death but have been put in the position of writing his obituary (along with family and friends) and sorting through his lifetime’s worth of letters, music and writings and mementos. What I am finding is sometimes droll, sometimes heartbreakingly sad and sometimes awe-inspiring.
    So..here’s raising a glass to you, Tim, and to Erica for her tribute.

  4. Eric
    Eric December 17, 2017 at 12:06 pm | | Reply

    I have just listened to your latest piece on our friend Tim. Tears are in my eyes and love is in my heart. Listening to his sweet singing voice and the relaxed plunking of joyful sound from his banjo really is helping me connect with his spirit. And you have done such an honoring job of sharing his intellect, his humor, his delicate and thoughtful way of exploring ideas. He is a treasure. We are so blessed. And your craft is a treasure, too. Thank you. I look forward to seeing you in the future. Eric Small

  5. Susan Clark
    Susan Clark December 17, 2017 at 3:27 pm | | Reply

    Devastatingly beautiful show–yes, about death, and a little about fear, but also about friendship, love, and respect. Thank you so much for creating this extraordinary tribute to an extraordinary man.
    I knew Tim in college many years ago, loved to sing with him, and always loved his mysterious spirit. But probably where I appreciated him most was in recent years at our annual town meeting. From the moderator’s podium, I would observe Tim, who perhaps had the least time to waste of any of us, enduring some endless community discussions with shakes of the head, smiles, and remarkable patience. And then when it was time to call the question, his voice was the one to make the wise, convincing motion. There’s probably a metaphor there. But suffice to say: I’m feeling great gratitude for Tim, and gratitude for your reflections on him.

  6. Betsy Brigham
    Betsy Brigham December 17, 2017 at 9:49 pm | | Reply

    Tim wrote that song (the one at the end of the tribute) many decades ago when still a young man. I remember hearing him sing it back in the early 80s in Burlington, marveling that he could be both so intimately acquainted with pain and yet have such a contagiously cheerful spirit. I feel privileged to have known him these many years, and I am deeply saddened to know I won’t be bumping into him again. Thank you so much for this beautiful tribute, which I know I will listen to again and again.

    1. M M
      M M January 11, 2018 at 8:02 am | | Reply

      Betsy
      That last song, was that his? I was trying to find it…Leave this world behind?
      Thanks!

  7. Tom Curchin
    Tom Curchin December 18, 2017 at 4:29 pm | | Reply

    I met Tim last month after he spoke at Andrew Klein’s funeral. I was moved then by a man speaking so intimately about dying and am moved by your piece as well. Thank you for this portrait, Erica.

  8. Dan
    Dan December 19, 2017 at 8:39 am | | Reply

    Thank you Erica for this. I met Tim on a bench in Montpelier playing a banjo.
    We ended up becoming friends and I now play one of his banjos, the one that he took on his travels all over India.
    I shall miss him and I’m grateful for your sharing this conversation.

  9. Rick Bassett
    Rick Bassett December 20, 2017 at 5:37 pm | | Reply

    This is a beautiful, unsentimental, yet caring and moving portrait of someone I never met, but about whom in a few short minutes, feel I have learned something essential. Tim speaks so eloquently about his life, and the impending end of it, in a way that makes us think anew. Erica, you have framed his insights, and the close friendships of the community around him so vividly. Thank you for sharing this with the world.

  10. Lauri Scharf
    Lauri Scharf December 20, 2017 at 5:45 pm | | Reply

    Another beautiful portrait of a human. Thank you for doing this work.

  11. Paul Falcone
    Paul Falcone January 1, 2018 at 5:07 pm | | Reply

    I look froward to a place without judgement, where the food is good and always present, the temp is fine and I am no longer poor and beyond the reach of sickness, among the past kitty cats that went missing and did not come back and friends who left abruptly and now have a chance to say good by.

  12. Susan Ritz
    Susan Ritz January 3, 2018 at 12:29 pm | | Reply

    Thank you , Erica. I felt listening to this beautiful piece was my own Little memorial for a man I knew better many years ago, but always admired for his spirit, his whimsy, his ability to think beyond the confines of the obvious. Glad I got to see him a couple more times before he died. This piece gave me peace and the aspiration to follow Tim’s way to to My own death, for yes, we’re all in the same boat.

  13. Bob Houston
    Bob Houston January 6, 2018 at 9:04 am | | Reply

    Nice. Thank you Erica. Thank you Tim. Gordon, I can picture you driving down the street in the Subaru, a very slight grin on your face and a tear welling in your eye. When it’s time, I want you to make my casket.

  14. Seth Kerin
    Seth Kerin January 10, 2018 at 2:06 pm | | Reply

    I heard the ad for this episode on the radio and had to get home to listen to the podcast. Tim was my physics teacher at Montpelier High School (class of 95) and I teared up at hearing him again after so many years. He was a good man, a good teacher, and had a profound effect on many of us in his class. His Zen attitude brought solace when our class got stressed out over a physics exam, and he would often bring in his banjo to play for us. They are good memories. Thank you.

  15. Max Taylor
    Max Taylor January 11, 2018 at 8:02 am | | Reply

    What a beautiful send-off you gave your friend. It had me in tears, good tears.

  16. Tom
    Tom January 13, 2018 at 6:22 am | | Reply

    I lost my oldest brother last week. I’m still struck by his death and this story puts the end of life in a context that helped. Thank you for this.

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