Two days ago we received 2 cards in the mail. They come every year at this time. They are never late and there is always a personal note included.

My sons are 12 years old today. These cards, which have come every year for the past 11 years, are not from their grandparents or aunts or uncles. They are not from their friends or my friends. These cards are from one of the nurses who cared for them in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) after they were born prematurely.

So I write this to recognize the continued feelings of gratitude and awe that I have for one special nurse. How can I thank her for caring for my children when I wasn’t able? How can I thank her for showing my boys love and compassion when I couldn’t be there? How can I thank her for helping us through our most difficult days, weeks, and months?

My boys are grateful to receive these cards each year and to be remembered on their birthday; however I’m not sure they grasp how much the cards are appreciated by me and my husband. This day of celebration for our kids still brings mixed emotions to us, feelings which are understood by this special NICU nurse who reaches out to us each year.

As a nurse, I have not had a continued relationship with any patient after discharge, although I can think of several that I wish I had. How about you?