Tears from heaven: a nurse’s tribute to Dr. Robert Lesslie

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Recently, a former NFL football player, Phillip Adams, murdered Dr. Robert Lesslie, his wife, his two grandchildren ages 5 and 9, an air conditioning appliance man, and critically injured a second man. The NFL player had gunned down these innocent people. And then, he left and went to his parent’s house (who lived on the same road), and after hours of the SWAT team begging this man to surrender, he shot and killed himself in the head.

We don’t know why this happened. We do not know the motive. This story continues to unravel.

I met this physician years ago, as I was working on my RN and doing my clinicals at this local hospital. Dr. Robert Lesslie was famous, especially to us students. He was a brilliant physician, cool and calm in any emergency situation. He was the chief of emergency services at this local hospital, and eventually, he started his own free-standing emergency medical centers and added hospice and palliative care.

Beyond being the best ER physician you would ever meet, he was also kind and compassionate to others. We, the nursing students, were just little minions at the time, but you wouldn’t know it to him. If you were lucky to meet him, you would be met by a firm handshake, a sparkle in his eyes, and a challenge to all of us to study and become the best person, the best nurse, the best paramedic, the best respiratory therapist ever.

Beyond being a physician, a husband, a father of four and several grandchildren, his kaleidoscope of kindness and gratitude of caring and contributing freely to non-profit agencies of people in need; he and his wife were strong members of their local church. Proud of his Christianity, endless love for his Savior.

He once wrote the book, Angels in the ER.

We can’t comprehend senseless tragedies. We can’t explain what goes on in a person’s mind to gun down four adults and two small children.
Dr. Robert Lesslie wrote of the day he would meet his Maker. A perfect heaven and reunion with his mother and father and grandparents. A beautiful masterpiece in the heavens.

We do not know what goes on with tormented souls to end other lives and to end their own life.

We do not know the hour of our death.

It was an honor and privilege to have met you, Dr. Lesslie, 37 years ago. You inspired me and challenged me to go further, and to not only help others medically but to do so with kindness in our hearts.

I will always remember that sparkle in your eyes that told me to not give up.

Today it rained.

Tears from heaven.

Debbie Moore-Black is a nurse who blogs at Do Not Resuscitate.

Image credit: Debbie Moore-Black

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