Grace through the hospital doors

The chances are pretty good that just down the street from you right now, there is incredible drama taking place, none of which we can tell you about on the news.

Joy, tragedy, people going above and beyond to help someone they may not have known a day or two ago, and grace — so much grace.

In the absence of these stories, we can often succumb to the perception that life is just as awful as the steady drumbeat of tweets and posts tells us it is.

It’s happening behind the doors of the hospital, and it took Dan Langlois, of Neenah, Wis., to snap us back to reality.

He walked out of Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin in Milwaukee the other day with one of the four children he and his wife, Sara, have adopted. All of them have physical challenges. One has spina bifida. Others have fetal alcohol syndrome, autism, and cerebral palsy.

He turned and took a picture of the doors. And then he wrote a letter of apology.

We just had to share this beautiful note we received from the father of a boy who has been coming to Children’s Hospital…

Posted by Children's Hospital of Wisconsin on Sunday, September 23, 2018

“I have walked through these doors 1000s of times,” a commenter responded. “And I was one who had to walk out without my little boy. Devastating! And still there was hope. Because little pieces of him walked out with other families. Ensuring that they could still look at those doors with hope in their heart. For that we are thankful. Nicholas Philip Paul Beecher, 2013-2016.”

Said another:

Those doors walking into the hospital and the NICU for us were the physical representation of the moment I would let all my driving anxiety go and get into a new headspace so I could be an upbeat happy mom to our daughter Stella.

By the time I hit the end of the skywalk and passed by security I wanted to be smiling. The day I had to leave the hospital forever without her I made it to the end of the skywalk strong, but as I approached those doors I lost it.

Never again would they be the doors I walked through to see my daughter. Never again would I smile at the nice security guards and flash my parent badge. I was helped through those doors whimpering and crying and walked through them as a loss mom. I’m not surprised they hold so much meaning for so many families and hearts.

So. Much. Grace.

“I never expected anything quite like this, as far as people just pouring their hearts out,” Dan tells the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel‘s Jim Stingl.

  • boB from WA

    Why is it raining when the sun shines?(not enough tissues for this one)

  • MrE85

    I spent roughly 12 years working in hospitals in Indiana and Minnesota. There are indeed so many human dramas that play out every day there. I’ve seen such courage, grief, hope, and yes, grace unfold before me.

  • Gary F

    When my dad passed years ago he spent a few months at Fairview Southdale. I remember how many nights in the winter, fighting rush hour traffic, snow and ice, and the darkness, to see my dad. This is not even close to the experience this guy featured in the article had. The stark faces out numbered the smiles of the families walking by.

    But it was amazing how helpful, pleasant, and cheerful the staff was every time I went.

  • Matt Black

    I clicked through and read the comments on the facebook post. Wow – I was not ready for that. Those are some of the most amazing things I’ve seen shared on that platform in a long, long time.

  • Barton

    Did anyone catch Nova last night? On organ transplant. Watching the mother whose son was declare brain dead scream “I love you!” as the elevator doors closed as he was wheeled to begin the organ donation process broke me. That is why we say I’m sorry to. And the people who lived because he died, they love those doors.

  • KariBemidji

    My office is in the lobby of a hospital. I tell my volunteers constantly that we don’t know if someone who comes through our doors is having the best day of their life or the very, very worst. Most of us are just in between. Our words and our actions matter everyday, every moment.