Letter From Nurse

About six months after Gregory’s death, a letter arrived in the mail from a Nurse on N-5.

The following is a reprint of that letter.

November 3, 1982

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Woehrle,

This may seem very strange since you don’t know me, but I wanted to thank you for helping me through a difficult time. I am a nurse on N-5 and was, when Gregory was there. I was on the night shift and only took care of him a couple of times. I am friendly with a couple of his “special” nurses and like many of the nurses read the prayer (she is referring to the homily spoken at the funeral which is reprinted on the first page of this website) you mailed us and the letter. The letter and prayer made a big impact on me and helped me understand a little more what it is like for parents.

Anyway, a couple of weeks ago, I took care of a baby named Joshua who had a similar course as Gregory. I became very close with his parents and many, many times saw similarities and thought of your letter and the prayer. When things got really bad, we called for a priest at the parents request. He came to N-5 and just seemed to say all the wrong things to Joshua’s parents. I felt helpless and very upset and tried to get a minister or someone else to try and comfort these parents.

I suddenly remembered your letter and the beautiful, perfect prayer that seemed to be just what Joshua’s parents needed to hear. I rummaged through a book where we keep all kinds of cards and letters and thank God it was near the top. I ran to Dr. Gould’s office and xeroxed it and quietly told the mother I had a prayer from another baby who was much like hers and did she want it. She started to cry, and said “yes” and took it on her way home. I didn’t know if I should have but I did.

After the weekend, Joshua was gone and I hoped the prayer helped her. Another mother who was friendly with Joshua’s mother stopped me in the hall to say Joshua’s parents had asked their priest to read the prayer at the memorial service and say it was from another baby who had been on N-5 and luckily for them a copy was available when they needed to hear those same things.

As the prayer says, “And because of Gregory, the world understands more fully the greatness of love, and courage and bravery – he touched more lives and hearts than anyone who lived 100 times longer than he.”

I just wanted you to know he and you both helped make me a more compassionate nurse and helped me deal with what is a very difficult time. Thank you for sending the prayer and letter. I will always remember it.

Mary Wipperman