Dear Nurses of 4D,
There are not enough words anywhere in the world to tell you what you are to my family. I cannot ever repay you, cannot ever thank you enough. I will never be able to be to you what you have been, and continue to be, to me. You were a constant when my world was shaking and wracked with fear. You were my audience when I could do nothing but make jokes at the ridiculousness of my situation. You were gracious enough to tell me when I needed a break. You held my baby when she coded and I couldn’t stand at her side, you whispered words of love when I had to stand at the back of the room. You watched anxiously as I held back tears, and tried to give me hugs even when you knew you would be rejected. You taught my baby that love can be found everywhere. You gave Aleeda smiles even when she puked all down the front of your shirt at the beginning of your shift. You loved her when I wasn’t sure I could, when I didn’t know if I wanted to anymore. You held her when I was sure that I was going to loose her. You watched with me as her heart rate climbed and she was too tired to sleep. You stood beside me as she took short, shallow, ragged breaths. You celebrated with me when she cut her first tooth. You always had arms to carry her because her legs didn’t know how to walk. You cried the tears that my eyes couldn’t. You were honest with me. You told me when it was time to try something new. You listened when I said that I was worried. You learned my baby girl, you could see the signs of decline as well as I. You laughed with veiled sadness when she would sit in a highchair in the hall, head resting on the tray as she yelled because she was too tired to hold it up. You made her balloon glove animals. You would do ridiculous things just to get her to smile at you. You spoiled her. You kissed her. It was you who first showed her finger painting, you who tried to get her to colour, you who would move heaven and earth to give her whatever she wanted. You shared her every joy, you helped her see life in a place that can suck the life out of kids. You gave her yourselves, without reserve, without pretense. You poured yourselves into my sick little baby so that she would know what she was fighting for. You were her family when they were far away. You will always be her family. She still smiles when she sees you, still holds her arms wide for you. She knows that you are a part of her. She knows that you held her up, kept her alive, fought every second beside her. She knows you. She loves you.
Those were long months. Months of endless waiting. I was lost, wandering the halls holding back the tears that I never wanted anyone to see. I was sure that I was going home without my girl, sure that all the work was for nothing. And then we got the call. I think you all cried more about that than I did. You were so sure that this time was THE time. I so wanted it to be true! And it was. We got to sign the consent we had been waiting for. And you walked with us down to surgery. You helped us hand over the girl that wasn’t just ours. You waited anxiously. You had to work, wondering how it was going. You came to visit on breaks. And as we waited we knew we weren’t waiting alone. When the new heart was in and she was in critical care the whole ward breathed a sigh of relief. It made me smile when you visited her, even when she was higher than a kite, she still knew you. You are wrapped around her heart. No one knows better than us how much nurses give, how dedicated you are, how invested you become in the lives of the families you serve. Every child you see, every baby you hold, is yours too. My baby is yours too. Thank you for that. Thank you for keeping my precious child alive, but thank you most for teaching her how to live.
With all my heart,