It’s 2013, and you’re home for the holiday. Your family is sitting around the oak dining table at the house your dad built. Turkey dinner is cooking in the oven. You’re talking shop with your brother about the football season; he’s a Raider’s fan, and nobody really knows why. The smell of stuffing and pie fills each corner of the house. Everything seems right, at least for now.
We’ve all had that moment; when a holiday memory is so real that you can almost taste the mashed potatoes and gravy. In that brief spell, your present melts away and your past wraps warmly around you.
These days, holidays are a respite from the difficulties of daily living. Masking and testing take a backseat to the gathering that is held sacred. It revitalizes us, gives us a chance to reflect and take stock. It makes us appreciate holidays past and hold tight to the ones we continue to share. The ritual strengthens the ties of family, friends, and community.
For PACE, Thanksgiving is another opportunity to bring joy to the lives of participants. Many struggle with food insecurity or don’t have family with whom we share the holiday. What a difference it makes to remind elders of the holidays of past years; when life was a little simpler, a little brighter. The taste of cranberry sauce can transport a participant a thousand miles away; to smiles and jokes, to spilled gravy and too much wine. Home.
That is what we strive for here at PACE. Not to replace the memory of a holiday, but to renew it. To remind ourselves and our participants of why we give thanks. Thanks to one another, thanks to ourselves, thanks to our family members past and present. It’s more than an excuse to eat turkey once a year. It’s a reason to bring together a community around shared experience and values. Now more than ever, it’s a reason to be thankful that this community is vibrant and well.
So as we embrace Thanksgiving with open arms and then look forward to the rest of the holiday season, let’s not lose sight of why we’re here. We are committed to one another and to the organization that makes this gathering possible. Thank you to the participants who share their life experiences. Thanks to the families who entrust your loved ones to us each day. And thanks to the staff who allow PACE to be here for you – always.