Sunday, July 15 , 2018, 12:56 pm | Fair 75º

 
 
 

Steve Jacobsen: Honoring the Mysteries and Tangibles of Life and Death

Man describes what the late Gail Rink and Hospice of Santa Barbara mean to him

When Rory Rye walked up to the porch of the Linden House in Carpinteria in December, he was wearing a black- and red-checkered untucked wool shirt over his jeans. A tall man, he turned to face the crowd that had gathered to celebrate our annual “Light Up a Life” ceremony and began to describe what the services of Hospice of Santa Barbara have meant to him and his family.

He first spoke of a son that had been ill as a child some years ago, and how then-executive director Gail Rink of Hospice of Santa Barbara came to support them until their son died. His family began attending the ceremony every year to honor him. One year they invited Rink over for a spaghetti dinner after the ceremony. They all enjoyed being together so much, that it became an annual tradition.

In 2008, Rye’s wife, Brooke, died. Rink was in touch during that time and attended the memorial service.

Rye stood on that porch to say he was grateful for what Rink and Hospice of Santa Barbara mean to his family.

He closed by explaining the significance of his black and red wool shirt. It seems that at one of those spaghetti dinners, Rink said that one of the things she wanted to do after retirement was to move to the Northwest and find a lumberjack with whom she could “spend some time.” That became an annual joke between Rye and Rink, who died last July before she could get to the Northwest to find that lumberjack. Rye was wearing the lumberjack’s shirt to honor her.

Rye’s story captures much of what Hospice of Santa Barbara is all about.

On the one hand, we deal with the great mysteries of living and dying. On the other, we honor the very tangible signs of goodness, meaning and love that we experience — white paper stars hung from evergreen trees, spaghetti dinners with friends and family, stories about lumberjack shirts, smiles and tears on a December evening.

Rink was all about trusting the mysteries, and she was all about the nitty-gritty tangibles of life. Honoring the mysteries and the tangibles is what we’ve been about since the beginning.

We are now serving 360 people a month — who have someone facing a life-threatening illness or grieving the loss of someone they loved — through our offices, and many more in schools, homes and medical facilities throughout our community. We are doing it without any funds from government or insurance companies, relying only on past and present donors.

I am thankful for Rye’s testimony and all those who share their stories about finding meaning in life. I know all of our volunteers, staff and board members share my feeling. It is an extraordinary privilege to be doing this work. Thanks to all of you who make it possible.

For more information about what we can do for you or someone you know, click here or call 805.563.8820.

— Steve Jacobsen is executive director of Hospice of Santa Barbara. Call Hospice of Santa Barbara at 805.563.8820 for a schedule of adult and children’s groups, or to make a donation. Become a fan of Hospice of Santa Barbara on Facebook.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through Stripe below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Enter your email
Select your membership level
×

Payment Information

You are purchasing:

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >