A dad’s heartfelt message to parents of children battling illnesses has gone viral after the hospital where his son has been treated shared it.
Dan Langlois, who according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel shares four adopted special needs children with his wife, Sara, felt moved to speak out as he and his son Gabriel left through the doors of Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin to head home.
“I have loved these doors and hated these doors,” he wrote last week to the hospital, in a private message. “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.”
Langlois, whose message was shared by the hospital and has received more than 15,000 reactions and over 4,000 shares, said he felt a sense of guilt as he was leaving with his son.
“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,” he wrote. "I’m not sure where it came from, but I realized I need to apologize. 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,” his post read. “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,” he wrote. “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.”
His message has received praise from many other parents, with many sharing their own feelings about the hospital doors and what role they played in their own child’s life. The hospital said it was overwhelmed by the outpouring of responses, and thanked the parents in a follow comment.
“From the deepest depths of our heart, thank you all so much for sharing your stories,” the hospital’s comment said. “You are all the reason we do what we do. To see this community of families, of strangers, come together and lift each other up is truly inspiring. Thank you.”