The following excerpt is taken from a autobiographical eulogy written by a TMC program patient. It was written on the one-year anniversary of his sobriety, and describes the man that was—and the man is today.
“He finally was graced to overcome 10 years of chronic alcoholism. The first year was not easy. After treatment, he lived in a homeless shelter, rescue mission, friend’s floors, a hospital, back seat of a car, jail and a halfway house. He stayed sober through it all.”
“…After being sober for 12 months, he took on the legal battle of restoring a father to his children. That will be a slow process, but each day he is being the best father he can…”
“People who knew him past and present said he was not the same person at all. They said if you believed in miracles, he was one….He had become honest, caring, giving, loving, honorable, dependable, empathetic, and down to earth.”
“…this is what you did for me….This is a disease of the mind, body and soul. You fixed the part that was broken for 10 years.”Patient’s Name withheld, September 20, 2001
A Personal Letter from the McGoverns
From the desk of Senator George McGovern
June 23, 2007
Every family faces it own distinct challenges—as does every member of that family individually. Even the most loving, supportive and forgiving families can be faced with challenges that leave them grasping for answers, near crushed by pain, anger and loss.
As a family, we understand what you may be facing. The struggles of our beloved daughter Terry affected us all. And continue to, even today.
I’ve participated in many battles throughout my life. In the skies over Europe during World War II, the Senate chamber in Washington, D.C.—and even on the Presidential campaign trail. But it all pales in comparison to the struggles Terry faced in her too short, too turbulent life. Sadly, there was no Teresa McGovern Center to help her. Fortunately for others, there is today. And we encourage you—or yours—to take advantage of the healing services it offers.
Terry was subject to both addiction and mental health challenges. As we searched to help her, we found many programs that could help with one aspect or the other. But no single program could treat her dual diagnosis. Until the creation of the Teresa McGovern Center. Even today, it is one of few such centers around the country that specializes in the unique problems facing patients with both addiction and mental health issues.
We are proud to celebrate the memory of our daughter through the good works of the center that bears her name. While Terry eventually fell victim to her personal demons, we hope her example can help you find the strength to keep fighting. Keep believing. And keep forgiving.
The only truly lost soul is one that has stopped trying to be found. I hope the Teresa McGovern Center can help you find yourself, or your family member, while there’s still time.
In memory of Teresa Jane McGovern, June 10, 1949—December 13, 1994.
The Teresa McGovern Center
Named for Senator George McGovern’s daughter Terry, who died in Madison, Wisconsin in 1994 following a 30 year struggle with alcoholism and depression, the Teresa McGovern Adult Residential Center is the “flagship” program of more than 20 programs and services offered by Tellurian Family of Services. Nestled in a serene wooded setting, adjacent to the Aldo Leopold Nature Preserve in Madison, Wisconsin the Teresa McGovern Center provides a safe and secure environment for those seeking help in “Making Recovery a Reality” ...as a way to a better and more productive life. This program specializes in treating the patient with a dual diagnosis.
Each year, the Tellurian Family of Services provides much needed help and assistance to more than 8500 people via treatment, a wide range of support services, and housing. Serving the needs of patients throughout greater Wisconsin, as well the upper Midwest, the Tellurian Family of Services continues in its mission of optimizing every patient’s chance for recovery, by “Making Recovery a Reality” for all individuals and families seeking help.