Everyone can agree that the holidays were different this year. Old traditions were disrupted and new ones were formed. People processed the changes differently. As for me, I got quite attached to my holiday tree.
My partner and I decided to continue our long tradition of cutting down our tree. The one we picked out was different than any past tree, and in many ways, it proved to be the tree of a lifetime. In early January, countless people take their tree to a recycling center and forget about it. Not us this year. We noticed it still appeared as fresh and alive as the day we brought it home. We decided we weren’t ready to say goodbye. We took the undecorated tree out to our backyard, stand and all, and picked out a spot where we could view it every day to see how long it would last.
It’s been eight weeks; a comically long time for a holiday tree to be on display. Through all the snow and cold and even after three days of lying flat on the ground covered with freezing snow after being blown over in a storm, it is still thriving. I began to think of the tree as a metaphor for CMSS’ experience during the pandemic.
Let’s start with Wesley Place, our system’s skilled nursing facility. We remained COVID-free until December thanks to early adoption and persistence in following CDC and IDPH guidelines. In December, the insidious virus did reach our community but in January residents and staff were fortunate to receive both doses of the Moderna vaccine. Our pharmacy told us that our clinical leadership delivered the most organized experience that they had seen for the vaccine.
Throughout the rest of our system, Hartwell Place, Covenant Home and SASI Home Care, also faced the pandemic with courage and resilience. The same was true of our Senior Connections volunteers and the residents and staff of Winwood and Glenwood Apartments that provide affordable housing for older adults.
Staff, residents, clients, and volunteers exhibited heroic bravery in the face of a highly contagious virus. All our heroes.
And at home, our tree still stands. It’s wonderful resilience symbolizes the grit and determination exhibited by everyone at CMSS.