Losing one from the List

When you've gone through cancer intimately you find that others open up to you about cancer journeys that they have in some way been a part of. I get told pretty frequently when friends have relatives or other friends that they know battling cancer. Every time someone opens up to me I ask them the name of their friend and what type of cancer they were diagnosed with. I then add them to my "cancer list". My "cancer list" is the list of people who I pray over every single night without fail. I pray for healing for their body and strength for them and their spouse as they fight this battle. I do this because prayer took on a different meaning for me when we were going through our battle. I realized, maybe for the first time in my life, how much prayer meant to me and how in need of it we were. I was humbled by the number of people, many whom we didn't even know, who had fervently prayed for us. I was angry with myself for all of the times I had halfheartedly told someone I'd be praying for them and never took it seriously. I vowed to make a change. No more lip service. From now on if I said I would pray I would pray as earnestly as I would want someone to pray for me. That brings me back to my "cancer list". I started this list when Joel was first sick and it quickly grew from 2 people to its current tally of 16. Very soon after Joel was diagnosed a co-worker told me about a friend of hers who was recently diagnosed. He was Joel's age, married, with a young son. Initially his prognosis was far better than Joel's but my heart strings were pulled by this young couple the same age as us going through the same trials. Initially this young man's cancer went into remission and all seemed well then a few months ago it returned at full force. He passed away last week. I cannot tell you the heartbreak that I feel to lose someone from the list of people that I have prayed for, wept for, interceded for-for the past few years. It seems silly as I have never even met him. But my heart always breaks whenever someone loses their battle with cancer. It is always a reminder of how things could of been and how beyond grateful we are to be where we are. Life can certainly be cruel and things happen to people that just don't make sense to me. When it comes to cancer I struggle for answers. All that I know is his death reminded me about the importance of prayer and the importance of the will to keep fighting. It made me appreciate all the more what I have and remind me to take each day as it comes. It reminded me of the importance of prayer for each one on my list and the hope that it only gets shorter because peoples cancer battles have ended-with them winning their fight. May it be so.