A Message from NHPCO President and CEO Edo Banach
As we mark the final weeks of 2018, the holidays are often a time of extreme contrasts: happiness and stress; parties and diets; family and, well, family. Let’s be honest—the holidays are not always the stuff of Christmas cards.
That’s why I love the movie Elf. In the movie, a tall elf named Buddy, played by Will Ferrell, spreads Christmas cheer to the dismay of almost everybody who encounters him. Buddy is fascinated by the little things that we all take for granted every day—the “world’s best cup of coffee,” running through a revolving door, and “singing loud for all to hear.” By the end of the movie, we are all singing along with the grumps and doubters.
I’m no Buddy or Will Ferrell, but I do think that the movie helps me—and should help all of us—find some perspective this holiday season. Whether we struggle with depression, challenging family dynamics, or even serious illness, there is so much to be thankful for if we just get some perspective.
One of the wonders of hospice is how it puts life into perspective. As we near our final chapter, life often takes on more meaning, and the small irritations become inconsequential. A long commute, a barking dog, or even a squabbling sister or dysfunctional family become less significant as the end of life comes into focus. The small joys—the smell of coffee in the morning, the kindness of a stranger, puppy breath—take on greater significance. Why do we have to be on the precipice of death to keep life in focus?
I do hope that we can all take a lesson from Buddy this holiday season, and sing, drink the world’s best coffee, hug our dad, fall in love, or just live life. Live as if this is the only life we have, and quite possibly our last day. Life is precious, and the holidays are a perfect time to reflect and be thankful for what we have.
I wish you a happy and restful holiday season. I hope that we are all able to get some perspective.
(Pictured above, Edo’s son in elf finery.)