Whether your child has never set foot in a children's hospital or had to stay there for a considerable amount of time, the words of one father will bring you to tears.
Dan Langlois and his son, Gabriel, know the sliding doors of Children's Hospital of Wisconsin all too well.
The eight-year-old boy, who suffers from spina bifida and is paraplegic, has been in and out of these hospital doors all his life.
Langlois can't remember the exact number of times he has had to pass through these doors, but nevertheless, he says that "he loves [them]."
That being said, he understands why people may simply hate them, and his apology to the parents of hospital-stricken children has gone viral.
The heartfelt message is heartwrenching.
One day, while walking out of those familiar doors, Langlois turns around and takes a picture.
The 42-year-old father of four then goes home and types a private message to the Children's Hospital, which has now been made public.
Since last week, the post has been liked more than 16,000 times.
The viral letter starts off like this: "I have loved these doors and hated these doors."
"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.
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.
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.
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.”
The reactions to the post are equally as tear-jerking...
"I have walked through these doors 1000s of times. 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," one mother wrote.
"I have a love hate relationship with these doors, I am thankful for all the parents who get to come and go with their children through them. However I am one of the parents who just a few short months ago, walked in with my small child and left without him. My life will never be the same," another shared.
"Very touching letter, it made me cry. [T]hose doors saved my daughter's life after open heart surgery for a life threatening heart defect. [S]he is now 24 with a beautiful daughter, thanks to those doors and the people who work within them!" a father commented.
[H/T: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel]