Anyone touched by the senior care industry these last two years–families and residents—is constantly reminded that although we have gained back so much, life is still not the same. And for my family, being together is something we took for granted, until this summer.
Twenty years ago, my parents began a family tradition of taking a trip with their children every summer. Two days before our long-scheduled trip, my mom, my rock, came down with covid and it hit her hard. Fully vaccinated and boosted, she was still incredibly sick. Despite it all, she demanded that her children go on the trip together. She insisted she would be ok and though hard on everyone, as her kids always did, we listened.
Thankfully, Mom recovered but the trip was far from normal, reminding me and my siblings that life is fleeting and changes in a moment’s notice. If there is any silver lining, Covid taught us to value each other and the everyday experiences we missed so much—and even those we didn’t. Getting back to in-person working, eating out at restaurants even when the service isn’t what it once was in “The Before Times.”
Cherish it all. It might take longer to get served or get to work, but we only get one journey.
On a personal note, having shut our doors to the outside world for so long and living under the strictest regulations of any business in our country, I am thrilled to see the community back in our hallways as we rebuild in this new reality.
For those families who paid the ultimate sacrifice by having to kiss loved one’s goodbye for the last time, we mourn with you. May their memory be a blessing and may all of us have a sweet new year.
Jeffrey A. Gopen is president and CEO of Jewish HomeLife.