Finding inspiration this holiday season

By Sarah Ruttle, KCH Director of Communications 
Published: Dec 8, 2021

Whether you have just finished celebrating Hanukkah or are busy preparing for your Kwanzaa or Christmas celebrations later this month, this time of year brings a bustle that can be both exciting and stressful. 

This time last year, many of us were not able to celebrate with family and friends and observe our favorite traditions. For me personally, while I missed many of my familiar activities, a year with less social gatherings and a slower pace was appreciated. I had quiet moments with my kids I would have missed were I hosting Thanksgiving dinner, and extra time in December to write personal notes in our family holiday cards. 

I also had time to reflect on a challenging year, whether I wanted to or not, something I find myself again doing today. Where I find my mind wandering now, however, is to a place of pride. I’m proud of the resilience shown as a whole by so many around me. Whether it be the swiftness with which our Kansas City Hospice & Palliative Care team pivoted in response to the onset of the pandemic to ensure continued care for families at the end of life, or the way our grief support staff quickly researched and implemented an online model for grief support services, the burdens of the pandemic were overcome by dedication, creativity and persistence. 

As I reflect on this year, and the one before it, and think about what the holidays mean for me now, I feel inspired by the many stories of perseverance shared by our KCH care team. Team members have witnessed the strength of families facing not only serious illness or grief but other difficulties in life including job loss, housing instability, social isolation and economic hardship. One of the roles of KCH social workers is to identify these needs among patients and families we serve and connect them with resources to help. We also offer patient assistance programs that help with everything from buying groceries and paying rent to fulfilling holiday wish lists and bucket lists, and bringing patients in nursing facilities a little cheer during the holidays.  

What I find most inspiring are the many donors and volunteers who make these programs possible. Our supporters understand how far a seemingly simple gesture goes to improve someone’s quality of life and give them comfort and hope. Whatever form your holiday season takes this year, busy or laid-back, I hope you’ll join me in celebrating someone in your life who has made a difference and let them inspire you to find ways to help others. 

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