“You were all already heroes in my eyes way before this tragedy struck my family, but now that I know what I know from experiencing it, I am truly in awe of all of you.”
I wrote a thank you letter last week, as did my mom and sister. I delivered them to the hospital staff who sit at a table just inside the ER doors, taking temperatures and evaluating people who want to enter the building. Those gatekeepers would deliver the thank you notes to the Nurses’ Station on the COVID floor for me, just like they delivered various things my dad, mom, and sister needed from home when they were each admitted last month.
Knowing what those who work in a hospital go through is one thing before you have experienced being a COVID-19 patient firsthand or through a family member, and something altogether different and bigger and just way more astounding after. You don’t know, until you know.
Gratitude is something I focus on daily; I have done so for a long time. I feel happier and more settled when I think about being thankful. During this surreal time in the shadow of losing my dad and while trying to help my mom and sister as they work on recovering fully, it felt extremely important to express thanks to the staff who provided excellent, 24/7 care for a total of about twenty days between the three of them.
While we do thank healthcare workers en masse in very public ways these days (all that clapping and signage!) and I know they appreciate it, personal notes are so meaningful, too. I know that I always cherish personal and specific notes; don’t you?
I wondered if lots of other people are writing thank you notes after a hospital stay these days. Maybe there are lots of people who want to write a thank you note to those who gave them or their loved ones great care, but don’t know how to get started. Is that you?
Here’s your help.
While my letter was fairly detailed and personal, I am giving you a basic version, with a few Mad Libs-style options, for your copying and pasting pleasure. Use all of it, or just parts of it: it’s up to you! Ready? Here we go.
Dear (your recipients: doctors, nurses, support staff, whomever),
I wanted to thank you for all of your hard work and dedication to your job, and specifically for the excellent care you provided for (your loved one’s name, or if you’re like me, nameS) when (he/she/they) (was/were) in the hospital the week of (date).
All of the nurses—most notably for me, (if you want to name names, do so here)—were absolutely fantastic in their bedside manner and professionalism (substitute whatever you want here; everyone appreciates different things). It can be so scary to be in the hospital under normal conditions; being in the hospital during a global pandemic when visitors aren’t allowed and you don’t know what the virus is going to do next is surely terrifying. The nurses and other medical staff are (write what you imagine they’re going through right now, what you think they’re feeling, how you think they’re feeling). My whole family appreciates all of you more than you can ever imagine, and we wanted you to know that.
I wanted to mention the support staff, too. To those who clean the rooms, deliver food, and do all of the other tasks that keep the hospital running, usually with smiles and kind words for the patients they serve: we are eternally grateful for your daily contributions as well. (If you know the name of any of the supporting staff, definitely mention them here, along with specifically what they did to make the patient’s stay better. Support staff at the hospitals are truly unsung heroes.)
You were all already heroes in my eyes way before this tragedy struck my family, but now that I know what I know from experiencing it, I am truly in awe of all of you.
Please know that the families of the patients you care for day in and day out are so very grateful for your strength, compassion, and love. Your passion for the work translates in the care you give to each and every patient, and I see you. Thank you.
Best, (or Sincerely, or In good health, or whatever else you like to sign with)
(Sign your name)
Look, these people truly are overworked and exhausted. A personal note from you could make their day. They need reminders that what they are doing is important. We are approaching 450,000 COVID losses (!!!!), and so many more people have been hospitalized and released. Let’s get some love flowing to the healthcare workers, shall we? They deserve it.
By the way, sent in two huge bags of individually (factory) wrapped granola bars, cookie and cracker packs, trail mix, chip bags, candy bars, and other miscellaneous treats with our thank you notes because our hospital allowed that. If you are thinking of sending in treats for the staff, I highly recommend that you make one quick phone call to see what, if anything, is allowed. Know that just a simple thank you note is enough.
Finally, I would be remiss if I ended this post without mentioning my friend Nancy Davis Kho’s book, “The Thank You Project: Cultivating Happiness One Letter of Gratitude at a Time.” It’s a great read and a wonderful project that you can customize for yourself…or you don’t even have to do it as a “project.” You do you! Gratitude = Happiness. Seriously. Check it out.