There are few things in life that are worse than long stays in a hospital. At best, the crushing boredom is only broken by tests, visits and contrived attempts to feel normal by watching television or reading. At worst, it's broken by emergencies or treatments. For a little girl with cancer, it must feel particularly awful — and even worse for her parents who face the most painful part of having a loved one with a serious illness: the fear and anxiety that comes with not knowing.
In dark days like those, any distraction can provide at least a few seconds of relief. That relief is often enough to generate just enough hope for another day, just enough to strength to overcome fear, just enough comfort to push forward.
Ironworkers at Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children's hospitals did that for one family.
According to USA Today, ironworkers Travis Barnes and Greg Combs were three stories up working on a project at the hospital when they noticed one family that waved to them every day.
It was the family of Vivian Keith, a two-and-a-half-year-old girl diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia last winter. She would sit at the window with her mother, Ginger Keith, and wave at the workers from her ninth-story window.
"Every morning we woke up and waved to them," Keith told "USA Today." "And we had to wave until somebody waved back."
One day, the Keiths noticed something written on one of the beams by the ironworkers who waved at them every day.
The message read "Get well soon."
"I was thinking about my own kids," Combs told USA Today. "And how precious life is and everything, you know."