Dr Fred special story

Dr Fred Gross has been one of the great mentors in my life.  I have studied with him and promoted his teaching. He collects stories and sends them to his students. This one came to me yesterday. I hope you find it as touching as I did. The closing two lines are words from Dr Fred’s teaching.


A nurse took the tired, anxious serviceman to the bedside.

“Your son is here,” she said to the old man.

She had to repeat the words several times before the patient’s eyes opened.

Heavily sedated because of the pain of his heart attack, he dimly saw the young uniformed Marine standing outside the oxygen tent.  He reached out his hand.  The Marine wrapped his toughened fingers around the old man’s limp ones, squeezing a message of love and encouragement.

The nurse brought a chair so that the Marine could sit beside the bed.  All through the night the young Marine sat there in the poorly lighted ward, holding the old man’s hand and offering him words of love and strength.

Occasionally, the nurse suggested that the Marine move away and rest awhile.

He refused.  Whenever the nurse came into the ward, the Marine was oblivious of her and of the night noises of the hospital – the clanking of the oxygen tank, the laughter of the night staff members exchanging greetings, the cries and moans of the other patients.

Now and then she heard him say a few gentle words.  The dying man said nothing, only held tightly to his son all through the night.

Along towards dawn, the old man died. The Marine released the now lifeless hand he had been holding and went to tell the nurse.  While she did what she had to do, he waited.

Finally, she returned.  She started to offer words of sympathy, but the Marine interrupted her.

“Who was that man?” he asked.

The nurse was startled, “He was your father,” she answered.

“No, he wasn’t,” the Marine replied.  “I never saw him before in my life.”

“Then why didn’t you say something when I took you to him?”

“I knew right away there had been a mistake, but I also knew he needed his son, and his son just wasn’t here.  When I realised that he was too sick to tell whether or not I was his son, knowing how much he needed me, I stayed …”

“I came here tonight to find a Mr. William Grey.  His son was killed in Iraq today, and I was sent to inform him.  What was this Gentleman’s name?”

The nurse with tears in her eyes answered, “Mr. William Grey ….”

The next time someone needs you … just be there.  Stay.

We are not human beings going through a temporary spiritual experience.
We are spiritual beings going through a temporary human experience.

Please leave me your comments and if you would like to know more about Dr Fred let me know.

6 thoughts on “Dr Fred special story

  1. Darlene Davis


    Phew! I’m sitting here crying … that was beautiful and touched a very tender chord. I’d love to know more about Dr. Fred.

    We never know how we touch the lives of others, do we?

  2. Sue Post author

    I was emotional when I read it which is why I posted the story. I agree that we never know how we touch others lives. I will send you some information about Dr Fred. He is wonderful.

  3. Christy Dutilly

    What a beautiful story. My tears are fresh. Less than a month ago, I spent the week holding a friends hand as she lay dying. I often wondered if I should be the one there but it was harder for her son and it seemed to bring her comfort. I am thankful for the time we had and the time I was able to give. Blessings in so many ways. Again, thanks for sharing the story.
    I’d like to know more about Dr. Fred!

  4. Sue Post author

    Thanks Christy I can see that the story would would touch you as your friend’s death is very recent. It is wonderful that you could be with her.
    Dr Fred is a very special mentor/teacher for me. His website is He is a very interesting person. Thanks for sharing your story.

  5. Adam Robinson

    This line was beautiful – “We are spiritual beings going through a temporary human experience”. We have got to remember that everything is temporary and the important things in life are the things that enrich our spirits. This is such a beautiful story. Just made my day.

    1. Sue Post author

      Adam I loved the story. too. Dr Fred is a very special person and one of his favorite sayings is the one you said you thought was beautiful. You are spot on in saying we need to remember that the important things in life are the things that enrich our spirits.