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Making Sausage

There is an old saying that if you knew how sausage was made, you would never eat it again. What it is talking about is all the ingredients that went in to make that sausage, and some of that might shock you.

Back in March 2020, COVID exploded in our country. The acceleration of it was both astounding and shocking.

We certainly felt it here in our office. We have many, many clients that we help through life care planning. While a lot of our contact is by telephone and email, some clients who are close enough, we like to see in person. Suddenly, that was shut down by COVID.

Also, blindingly terrifying was the fact that many of our clients were basically left alone in their own homes. There were mask, travel, shopping, and visitation restrictions. Many family members were afraid to see each other for fear of endangering each other.

Most heartbreaking for me were those clients who were in an assisted living or nursing facility. All of a sudden, they were alone. Their contact was restricted and even family members could not get to them. Some died alone.

Our office crafted a COVID policy that allowed us to rotate people out of the office in case we had an outbreak. We established procedures for reaching out to clients, especially those alone. Every part of our office, from the receptionist to the paralegals, the benefits team, the care coordinators, and the attorneys were scrambling on the phone to be sure our families were doing as good as they could given the circumstances.

How does this relate to making sausage? I want you to know that there was a lot of discussions in our office about how best to serve our clients. Should we just shut everything down? Should we try to reach out? What about those situations where someone needed a legal document because of failing health?

It was almost daily that we would discuss our procedures and our processes. And it seemed like every week or two, we had to change, sometimes going in the opposite direction.

I was really, really proud of every person in our office. I think that they had as meaningful a contact with our families that we work with as they could given the circumstances. We never had a client get sick from being in our office. We walked with clients through dark days of passing because of COVID. We continue to reach out and be supportive of their family members left behind.

I was equally proud of our clients and their families. They worked to accommodate the difficult world of COVID. Many of you learned to reach out in new ways. Many of you increased the amount of contact you had with each other (though much of it was virtual).

It has been a long and difficult journey for all of you. I am hopeful that we are into the sunshine and out of the darkness. I know there is going to be some more hiccups along the way, but we will be here to help. And I am sure there is going to be a lot of vigorous conversations again!


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