by Ken Clarke
Despite recent attempts to move to a more generic, politically correct expression of ‘Happy Holidays’, the words ‘Merry Christmas’ still roll off our tongues with ease and great frequency this time of the year. It’s an expression of joy, good wishes and good fortune from one person to another.
For many, Christmas is just that, a season filled with joy; gathering with family and friends, a shared meal and expressions of kindness given and received. It’s a time of the year when we reflect on memories of Christmas past, the blessings we currently enjoy and the hope for happiness as a new year begins.
But for some, this Christmas may be one where there is an absence of joy. For those on the palliative journey--themselves or with a loved one, the realities of a life-threatening illness may make it difficult to find any measure of happiness. It’s not because we don’t to experience the wonder of the season, but difficult circumstances have a way of draining us physically and emotionally. And…we may wonder will this be our last Christmas together.
For others, there will be an empty chair around the table this year; one who has shared past Christmases is no longer with us and that reality brings some sadness. Grief is often felt more deeply during the holidays; Christmas just doesn’t feel very merry.
This is the path of shared humanity; a path we have all experienced or we will experience, and as such it is also the place where we can find in one another, support and care and encouragement even when, especially when the path is difficult. Desert Valley Hospice Society exists to provide that support to those dealing with a life-limiting, life-threatening illness--those on the palliative journey and their families or caregivers.
Our trained Hospice volunteers are available to come alongside and offer emotional and practical support. If we can encourage you or your family, please don’t hesitate to contact us; support is available throughout the holiday season.
It’s my hope that no matter what your circumstances, you will find joy this Christmas; in the company of family and friends, in shared memories and through the gift of kindness given by those we love and even the kindness of stranger.
To the friends of Desert Valley Hospice Society, our supporters and community partners and especially our volunteers, on behalf of our Board of Directors and staff I want to wish you all a Merry Christmas!