Dan Langlois has seen too much of these hospital doors.

As Babble reports, the dad from Neenah, Wisconsin has spent a lot of time going in and out of the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin.

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

His 8-year-old son, Gabriel has had over 20 surgeries in his life, and all but one was at that hospital. Dan told Babble:

“Gabriel was born with Spina bifida. He is paraplegic, pretty much wheelchair-bound other than crawling, and is at risk of kidney and bladder issues.”

Given how many times Dan has walked through the doors of Children’s Hospital, one would expect him to become immune to the experience. However, it still has an effect on him. After a recent visit, he was so overcome by emotion that he stopped and took a photo of the doors.

In a letter to the hospital that was later posted on Facebook, Dan explained that he has a long-standing love/hate relationship with their doors:

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.

Though he can’t even say how many times he has gone through the doors in the last eight years, on the last visit Dan was overcome with an incredible feeling of guilt. Though he couldn’t explain why, he felt the need to apologize.

He began by saying he was sorry to, “every child that has walked in through these doors but never walked back out again.”

Then he apologized to the parents who walked through the doors with a child and walked out again without their son or daughter. He continued:

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.

Dan also apologized to the doctors, nurses, and medical staff who, “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.”

He even said, “I’m sorry,” to the people who have to get the room ready for the next patient after a previous one has passed on. And to the social services and security personnel who had to escort a grieving parent through the doors.

Thinking of the pain, sacrifice, and dedication that are reflected in the hospital doors changed Dan’s view of them. He no longer saw the doors as a symbol of his own family’s ups and downs, but rather as a portal to a hundred different stories, many of them deeply painful. He concluded:

“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.”

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