Each year as December draws to a close bringing with it the end of the year, we all find ourselves looking back with a mixture of contentment and frustration, joy and sadness, all in equal measure. Except this year has been so hugely different, 2020 has had possibly more than its fair share of frustration and times of sadness. This year we have witnessed the damage done by COVID-19 and the unfolding pandemic. No part of society has remained untouched, health, both physical and mental, the economy, education, transport, you name it every part of our everyday lives has been knocked off course.
We have struggled to keep contact with friends and family and sadly in some cases, watched loved ones slip away. We have tried to explain to our children what a virus is, why we need to be careful and why we cannot do many of the things, go to many of the places and see many of the people we have done in the past, I have been reflecting how much I have taken for granted.
Closer to home, here at Jeesal we have faced many challenges, at Cawston Park, the Heathers, and other services. We have also seen the passing of some of the people in our care, gone but not forgotten.
Yet, through all of this as a service and in our individual teams we have turned up for work, day in and day out, put the needs of our residents and patients first, supported each other and felt the strength in companionship. We truly have demonstrated that we deserve to succeed and thrive in 2021.
Over the last year I have been lucky enough to meet many of our staff who have attended our Mental Health first aid course. I have come away humbled by the positive feedback from many of the participants, and a restating of their commitment to look after themselves, their colleagues and the people in our care.
However, perhaps the biggest challenge is about to face us with Christmas nearly here. Much has been said about what we should and should not do, how many people should we see, can grandparents hug their grandchildren, should we invite the neighbours’ round, how many people should we visit.
It is not for me to tell others what to do. I can only reflect on how far we have come and the short distance we have still to travel before we put this pandemic behind us. The future is going to be full of Christmases and important events to celebrate. Perhaps now is not the time to take risks, that this Christmas goes out quietly, that we make promises to see everyone and do everything in 2021. That for now, we stay safe and keep others safe by our actions.
Have a great Christmas and I look forward with anticipation to a Happy New Year.