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Dad's Apology Letter to Parents and Staff at Children's Hospital Goes Viral

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Nurses have a tough job. They are in constant contact with suffering, disease, illness and loss. They see more problems and witness more pain every day they go to work.

But even when it’s difficult, they do it to help people ease their hurt, heal their wounds and bring hope or at least comfort to those who desperately need it.

When the patients are children, some too young to even explain what’s hurting them, there’s more urgency. We expect older people to encounter health issues, but when it happens to the youngest it just seems wrong.

Parents have a hard time coming to terms with their children being ill, and it’s difficult to keep hoping and pressing forward. But one father caught himself when he realized that despite all his son had been through, he was still there.

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He sent a letter to the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, and they were so impressed and touched by it that they decided to share its contents on Facebook.

“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,” they explained, before diving into the heartfelt note.

“I have loved these doors and hated these door,” the note read. “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.

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“The other day, walking through them 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 realized I need to apologize.”

He realized that there were others out there, too, who’d been through similar experiences but had also faced very different conclusions.

“To every child that has walked in through these doors but never walked back out again, I am sorry. 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.”

Then he turned his attention to those who slaved day and night to try to make the world a better place, even if just briefly, for the young lives they touched.

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“To every doctor, nurse, PA, NP, surgical tech and other members of the medical staff that have 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. To every member of the security or social services teams that has had to escort grieving parents out through these doors, I am sorry.”

“I cannot begin to imagine what all these people go through, and I hope that I never will. Until I do, I will love these doors.”

As of Saturday afternoon, the post has been shared over 4,000 times, with over 15,000 reactions. Many are familiar with that very hospital and know first-hand the situations the father described.

Plenty of commenters chimed in with their own stories and praises of the staff there, and some suggested that the note be framed and hung just inside those fateful doors as a memorial to and a reminder of all who have suffered and all who have tried to ease that suffering.

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Amanda holds an MA in Rhetoric and TESOL from Cal Poly Pomona. After teaching composition and logic for several years, she's strayed into writing full-time and especially enjoys animal-related topics.
As of January 2019, Amanda has written over 1,000 stories for The Western Journal but doesn't really know how. Graduating from California State Polytechnic University with a MA in Rhetoric/Composition and TESOL, she wrote her thesis about metacognitive development and the skill transfer between reading and writing in freshman students.
She has a slew of interests that keep her busy, including trying out new recipes, enjoying nature, discussing ridiculous topics, reading, drawing, people watching, developing curriculum, and writing bios. Sometimes she has red hair, sometimes she has brown hair, sometimes she's had teal hair.
With a book on productive communication strategies in the works, Amanda is also writing and illustrating some children's books with her husband, Edward.
Austin, Texas
Languages Spoken
English und ein bißchen Deutsch
Topics of Expertise
Faith, Animals, Cooking