Hope. That’s what I saw in the eyes of our caregivers last week when we started giving the COVID-19 vaccine. I had the pleasure of visiting some of our UMass Memorial Health Care sites last week as we administered our first shipment of doses from Pfizer. Some were actually dancing in line because they were so excited to get their much-anticipated shot in the arm. Our plans are evolving as we get clearer guidance from the state and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, so we hope to have more information about vaccinating patients and the general public soon.
Peace. The year 2020 will go down in history as the most disruptive, stressful, demanding year of our lives – as caregivers in the most difficult health care crisis we could have imagined; as parents trying to balance out-of-the-ordinary school demands and normal kid stuff; as family members trying to maintain relationships with our loved ones under unusual circumstances; and as humans trying to navigate our world that has been flipped upside down. Amid all the chaos, I hope you can find some moments of peace during the holidays the next couple of weeks. Please take time for yourselves and for your families, so that you can rest, relax, and rejuvenate.
Joy. It may seem hard to find moments of joy these days, but I hope you can slow down from the 2020 pandemonium long enough to savor what might bring a smile or a laugh to you, your colleagues, friends and family. Whether it is enjoying a socially-distanced Yankee Swap with your co-workers to see who gets stuck with the weird gift everyone makes fun of; taking a brisk walk through the winter wonderland left by last week’s snowstorm; enjoying the holiday lights during a nighttime drive in your neighborhood; or spending a simple, quiet (or not-so-quiet) night at home with your family, please try to find what brings you joy this holiday season, even if you can’t enjoy your usual holiday traditions.
This has been an extraordinary year. While I hope we never have another one like it, all I can say is that I’m grateful to have spent it working side by side with extraordinary people such as the 14,000 caregivers in my UMass Memorial family. Wishing you hope, peace and joy this holiday season, please stay safe and well.