When Roy Slootheer’s wife, Becky, whom he married in 1999, was diagnosed with stage IV cancer in July 2012, he took care of her “heart and soul.”
At the time, he was an ER nurse and paramedic specialist with a local hospital and had just started the Family Nurse Practitioner program. In cooperation with her oncologist, a natural and dietary approach was established, and he placed himself in charge of her treatment plan, which included some progressive treatment options. Unfortunately, not all members of Becky’s family agreed with the couple’s collaborative approach, and ties with them were eventually severed.
“After Becky’s passing on Sept. 2, 2013, I was confronted with the lack of support for those who are grieving,” Roy recalls. “There were some self-help groups that would meet monthly, but my needs as a single parent with smaller kids was different than that of a 93-year-old who lost his wife was after 60 years of marriage.
“My commitment to my children, Connor and Dane, and my promise to Becky to take care of our two boys increased my determination to assure that they would be taken care of—this resulted in me not only helping them with their grief but mine, too.”
After this experience, Roy made a personal commitment to help individuals coping with the loss of a loved one, those struggling with a severe illness, and those caring for someone with a terminal illness—one individual at a time. But as rewarding as this was, he wished he could help more people. “Many told me that I should focus on helping others with grieving, but meeting people one-on-one just limits the impact.”
He began writing about grieving and his personal experiences with grieving, but whenever he tried to get a work published or promoted, he was always met with the same question: How many speaking engagements have you offered on this subject?
“Cope with Grief was born from a view to help others and put them back onto a path of healing,” he says. “The seminar I am developing, and that is planned for launch this June, provides an option to reach many more in a short time.”
On the first day of the two-day Cope with Grief seminar, Roy discusses the stages of grief, incorporating scientific data on the process, but incorporating what he learned through personal experience. “I know the stages of grief and which ones you will have to go through. I will spend time on discussing my vision on the stages of grief, including the ‘Perpetual stage of grieving’. I will discuss ‘Soul connections’ and why we get hurt so badly if a soul-mate dies.”
He also explores options on ways to deal with grieving and what to do to find healing and happiness. Each seminar features two guest speakers, who may be a counselor, pastor, meditation specialist or other specialist who deals with death and dying.
Day two focuses more on attendees’ personal situations and features open discussion and interaction from the participants. Roy says he also will focus on developing local groups to continue their healing through self-help and discussion.
People are encouraged to attend both days to receive the maximum benefit, but if they only want one day, they can choose the first; attendance at the first session is mandatory to attend the second.
Roy hopes to also draw professionals such as medical professionals and counselors to these sessions. He is in the process of getting the seminars approved by the American Medical Board and the American Counseling Association for Continuing Education hours.
He additionally is working on four books, a guide on how to deal with a loved one’s passing, a second that describes his personal view about souls and their connection and why it so difficult to sometimes deal with the loss of a soulmate/loved one, a third aimed at parents dealing with the grief of small children as well as their own, and an autobiography about Beck’s battle with cancer and the battles they faced.
Roy, who was born and raised in The Netherlands, says he has been motivated to help others from an early age.
He earned a bachelor of arts degree in psychology in the Netherlands; however, the U.S. government did not recognize the degree, so he earned one here as well. His launched his career in the Netherlands as a social worker for a medium-sized municipality. He then worked in the insurance/financial services field. In 1995, at the age of 32, he immigrated to the United States to work for a small financial planning firm in Des Moines and later worked as a district manager with a large insurance group in the same vicinity.
While working as a local volunteer fire department volunteer, Roy earned his Paramedic Specialist certificate, and in 2006, he decided to pursue a career in the medical field as a nurse practitioner. He earned an associate degree in nursing, as well as bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nursing, and has been working as a family nurse practitioner since 2016.
Roy remarried in 2015. He and his wife, Amber, now live in Moore (they are building a new house there) with his two boys and Amber’s daughter, Bella, from a previous marriage.
Visit www.tocopewithgrief.com for more information about Roy Slootheer and the seminars, for bookings, and to pre-order his books. Website subscribers receive special discounts on registration fees and/or books.