A hospital just shared an apology from a grateful dad, and it’s a reminder of how hard many professionals work, guiding families through health challenges, fear and grief.
“I have loved these doors and hated these doors”
The Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin posted the letter – with writer and dad Dan Langlois’ permission – on Facebook, and it’s getting a teary response from lots of social media users.
“We just had to share this beautiful note we received from the father of a boy who has been coming to Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin for the last eight years,” a hospital rep posted.
What followed was an emotional insight into how families navigate some of the toughest times, and the love-hate relationship that very understandably unfolds.
“I have loved these doors and hated these doors,” Dan wrote. “I loved these doors when my wife and I walked through them for the first time to meet our son. I hated these doors when I walked through them for his 20 surgeries. I loved them when walking back out after the surgeries. I hated them for the 180-plus-mile trip for a single 10-minute checkup. I loved these doors when walking out after learning that surgery or admittance is not required.”
Dan and his wife Sara are adoptive parents to four children with special needs and also do foster care for medically fragile infants and toddlers.
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“I need to apologise”
While a roller coaster of health challenges has obviously left this family navigating a multitude of feelings, an unexpected mindset shift provided Dan with fresh – and very sobering – perspective.
“The other day, walking through [these doors] again with my son (I have lost count how many times over the past eight years we’ve made this trip), I was struck with a different feeling: guilt. I’m not sure where it came from, but I realised I need to apologise.”
“To every child that has walked in through these doors but never walked back out again, I am sorry,” Dan wrote. “To every parent that has walked in through these doors with their child, but left through these doors empty handed, I am sorry. For every child and parent that has walked out through these doors with a final diagnosis, knowing that walking back in through these doors would be futile, I am sorry.”
We just had to share this beautiful note we received from the father of a boy who has been coming to Children’s Hospital…
“I cannot begin to imagine”
Dan’s letter went on to recognise “every doctor, nurse, PA, NP, surgical tech and other members of the medical staff” who has had to “walk through these doors after giving everything they had to saving the life of a child and have that child pass anyway, I am sorry.”
“To every custodian, caregiver and advocate that has had to ready a room for the next patient after the previous occupant passed on, I am sorry,” his letter continues. “To every member of the security or social services teams that has had to escort grieving parents out through these doors, I am sorry.”
His note concluded with a heartfelt nod to the impossibly difficult days that can unfold within the hospital walls.
“I cannot begin to imagine what all these people go through,” the thoughtful dad wrote, “and I hope that I never will. Until I do, I will love these doors.”