By arhospice on March 24th, 2022
Even when she was a child, Robin Wilson knew she wanted to help others. Now, at the age of 67 and in the care of Arkansas Hospice, she continues to do just that – while making time for fun with not one, but two kickball teams.
MAKING A DIFFERENCE
Throughout her life, Robin has looked for ways to make a difference. That includes her longtime nursing career.
“Ever since I was a little girl, I knew I was going to grow up and be a nurse,” Robin explained. “In my mind and in my young heart, I knew that, in order to make change, you have to be the change. The best way I could see doing that was in nursing.”
After she grew up, Robin went to nursing school and worked in that field throughout her adult life.
However, Robin’s love for others isn’t limited to humans, as evidenced by the many years she’s spent volunteering with animals.
“In the two years since I’ve retired, I’ve fostered over 200 kittens and cats and managed to get them all into their own homes,” Robin said. “I bottle-fed probably 20 kittens. So, I think I’ve been pretty successful so far with those parts of my life.”
LIVING LIFE ON HER TERMS
Sadly, life threw Robin a curveball when she was diagnosed with cancer for a third time. She was told that the only treatment would be to remove her tongue.
“Not an option,” Robin said. “I like eating. I like talking. You take my tongue out, I’m not going to be able to do the two things I enjoy doing.”
Eventually, Robin enrolled as a patient with Arkansas Hospice. She told her care team “what I felt like my needs were to be able to die comfortably.”
One of those needs was the desire for a green burial, which is an alternative to traditional burial practices and involves a biodegradable coffin.
“I decided, well, if I can’t pick how I’m going to die, I can pick how I’m going to be put in the ground,” Robin explained.
Robin’s social worker, Carly, wasn’t familiar with the concept, but promised to check into it.
“She did her research, and, in fact, came out better than what I had researched,” Robin said. “I was planning on going to Tennessee. She found me a place right here in Arkansas.”
Within a matter of weeks, Robin was able to make the arrangements that she wanted.
KICKBALL AND KITTENS
In the meantime, Robin continues to live an active life – and still plays on two separate kickball teams.
Both teams are planning a fundraiser to benefit some of Robin’s favorite animal organizations, and they recently threw her a party. Robin said the celebration wore her out, but she “had a heck of a time.”
When not playing kickball, Robin stays busy caring for her foster animals. She doesn’t plan to stop anytime soon.
“I’m hoping to get some kittens that are about 5 or 6 weeks old that are ready to separate and get them back because they keep me going.”
PASSING IT ON
Even as her life winds down, Robin continues her life’s theme of making a difference.
She explains her view of life by referring to a liver transplant that she had some time ago. Before her transplant, Robin joined a group that included transplant recipients as well as other patients who were still on the waiting list.
“That gave me the ability to ask questions to those who have been there,” Robin explained. “Then, after I had mine, it gave me the ability to help lead the next group that’s coming in and answer their questions.”
“So, that’s what this life is. It’s revolving,” Robin said. “I believe that’s what they mean by the circle of life. … You take care of the next one. You pass it on.”
Robin hopes that sharing her story through Arkansas Hospice will help others to not be afraid when they approach life’s end.
“You know they say life is what you make it? So is death,” Robin said, reflectively. “Sadly, with modern medicine, we have made death something that people fear. It’s not something people are comfortable talking about. And it should be.
“We all know we’re going to be born. We all know we’re each given a certain lifespan. I’m lucky. I got 67 years out of mine. When I was a kid, my best friend died at 11. But I think we both probably lived our life as best we could.”
Your entire team brought into these tender and delicate moments compassion, kindness, gentleness, thoughtfulness, and quick responsiveness.
I have nothing but the best things to say about Arkansas Hospice. They were so good to my Dad before he passed away. The love and care, compassion they showed to my dad was priceless. The nurses and CNA’s that took care of my Dad are the best and always be the best.
The skilled and professional care and attention your team gave our mother made it possible for Mom to be granted her wish to die comfortably at home.
We are just starting our dad’s final journey and Arkansas Hospice has been a blessing. They’ve taught us so much already and provide as much support and comfort to the family as they do my dad. I’m grateful they’ll be walking this final path with us.
I love Arkansas Hospice. Every single employee has a heart of gold and takes the best care of their patients.
I would not hesitate at all to recommend this provider for anyone who is considering hospice care for themselves or for a loved one.
Arkansas Hospice took care of my Mom before she passed. It was my first experience with any hospice and I was amazed. They took such great care of her. They treated her with dignity and respect until the end.
So many thanks for the way your staff treated my very dear friend, Jeff, as he raced toward the finish line. Words can’t express my gratitude for helping us to care for him and keep him comfortable. Top-notch professionalism and immediate responses to requests for assistance.