Bob Haskin’s Story
Some hospice patients talk about their impending death and fear of leaving family and friends, or how mad they are at dying. Most just talk about what people always talk about: people they loved, how beautiful life is, or unfinished business and unanswered questions. “Was I a good parent?” one man asked.
Listening to final thoughts and inquiries like these has been an eight-year journey for recently retired Ridgeview Medical Center Spiritual Counselor Bob Haskin.
Spiritual counseling, a resource for the mind, body and spirit, has always been an optional part of Ridgeview Hospice services. The number of patients choosing to receive the service outweighs those that don’t—the reason Ridgeview is fortunate to have a strong team of counselors.
“Bob’s comfort, support and significant contribution to our team of spiritual counselors and hospice volunteers will continue to make a difference for patients and their families,” says Lisa Hurt, director Home Care & Hospice.
Haskin worked with hundreds of Ridgeview patients over the years. He came to their bedside to listen, help, hold their hand—to be what they needed him to be not necessarily as a friend but rather a compassionate stranger. People who know Haskin say he will be missed.
“Hospice was a great match for Bob,” says Ridgeview spiritual counselor Paul Christopher. “He participated with patients on their journey, related to families with support and understanding—and discovered the spirituality of each person, regardless of faith, tradition or background.”
Professional friend. Interpreter. Arbiter. Guide. Haskin meant many things to many patients. He says his service was centered on humility. “I wanted my connections with people to be equal and down-to-earth with as much humor as possible.”
Haskin enjoyed the unexpected humor he found in his hospice experiences. He recalls the story about a grandpa who loved to laugh. His grandson told a joke, the grandpa snorted with laughter—then quietly passed away.
Haskin reminisced about the hospice wedding he helped plan. He hurriedly said to the patient, “Will you take this woman to be your wife?” There was nothing but silence. Everyone panicked, and then noticed the dying groom shake his head “yes”and pucker up his lips for the official kiss. He died a few days later.
For children, teenagers, young adults and grandparents, Haskin believes hospice can be uplifting. “The patient isn’t dying every minute,” he says. “They still have a lot of life in them during hospice.” It allows people at the end of life to have a successful experience—by whatever definition of success can be negotiated in the final days, weeks, or months between a dying person and a compassionate stranger- turned-friend, like Haskin.
“I have a two-inch-thick file of thank-you notes from patients’ family and friends,” says Haskin. “They’re special to me; affirmation that I was a caring person who wanted the very best for people.”
Ridgeview Hospice is proof that your community does take care of those from beginning…to end. With your financial gift, the patient experience, their family’s peace of mind and Ridgeview’s uplifting and compassionate care become invaluable now and into the future.
“I’m grateful for growing spiritually through human interaction and thankful for working for an organization that cares about people,” Haskin says. “I learned as much from the patients as they learned from me.”
On behalf of all of us at the Ridgeview Hospice program— volunteers, staff, medical team and specialists—please join us in celebrating Bob Haskin’s retirement and supporting the future of this vital program with your financial gift.
Thank you for your compassion,
The Ridgeview Hospice Team
For more information about Ridgeview spiritual counseling or to support Ridgeview Hospice through your financial gift, visit www.ridgeviewfoundation.org or call 952-442-6010.