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San Diego NICU nurse known for writing poems for families honored

Posted at 4:48 PM, Oct 04, 2019

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — A San Diego nurse who cares for "the sickest of the sick" babies will be honored Sunday for her extraordinary character.

Around Rady Children's Hospital, Linda Black is known for her Scottish accent and knack for writing poems.

"Remember my fingers remember my toes, Remember my eyes so big and so brown, Remember the wind making my whole face frown," she read from one of her poems. This one was written for a baby she cared for who did not survive.

She's worked at the hospital for 12 years and always knew she was a caretaker.

"I wanted to be a nurse because my grandmother had multiple sclerosis and she had several strokes, I used to help my aunt look after her," she said.

She is the primary caretaker for one baby at a time. Sometimes the baby is there for weeks, sometimes for months.

She found the silver lining in traumatic times, writing poems for the families tailored to their little angels, "basically saying to the families thank you for giving me the honor of looking after your child and your child made an impact on my life."

She hopes the poems bring back positive memories for families in a dark time. The families overwhelmed with gratitude, often hugging her. One family whose child survived used her poem as a bucket-list and would send Black photos each time they checked something off the list.

When she started writing poems for those who didn't make it, she was worried about the impact.

Black was reassured when she ran into a family at a party. She cared for their baby and hadn't seen them since their baby passed.

"On her phone was a picture of the grave and on the grave was the poem, it made me realize how my words meant so much," she said tearfully.

Sunday she'll be honored at the March of Dimes Signature Chef's Gala for her extraordinary character.

"If we get donuts we're really excited. You know, donuts and bagels are the biggest gift for us, sometimes chocolate, but to get an award and to get recognized by someone who's outside of my unit it's absolutely amazing, just wow!" Black said with her hand on her heart.

Black said she will continue writing poems for the families she cares for.