Stomach. Lung. Breast. Ovarian. Liver. Brain. Skin. Blood. Big and Scary Monsters Looming in the Darkness, waiting….

As I stood in line waiting to be served at our local bagel shop, I suddenly felt an overwhelming flood of sadness overcome me as I began thinking about the many people I know, love and care about who have been claimed by the horrible disease called cancer. In recent weeks, I have learned about three new diagnoses and two relapses. Young women, young men, young families…Devastating.

In line with me was a woman who, two and a half years earlier, had opened her home to a bunch of young women and one of our beloved teachers from Midreshet Rachel v’Chaya, as we learned in the merit of a dear friend of ours who had been diagnosed with very advanced cancer. Six weeks later, our dear friend lost her battle and left behind two beautiful young children, a husband and a loving extended family.

The woman in line with me who had remained a casual acquaintance, was somehow able to pierce right through the forced smile on my face when she asked me how I was doing. “Another friend”. She proceeded to ask me for her name which I shared, as tears rolled down my cheeks. The woman behind the cash overheard me. She knows me quite well, as I frequent the shop quite regularly. Both women noted my friend’s name and said they would daven for her. After my acquaintance paid, she turned to me, said” Hashem is good. Pray” and left the shop. After I paid her, the woman behind the cash walked out from behind the cash, said” You need a hug”,  gave me the biggest hug and then I thanked her and left.

On my walk home, with tears streaming down my face, I pictured all of their faces, one by one. Smile by beautiful smile. The Brave Warriors in mid-battle. The Titanium Heroines who lost their battles and the Heroes who continue to fight the upward battle on a daily basis. You are all BEYOND heroic in my eyes and I pray for you. Every single one of you. Hashem should heal you completely SOON.